Bar_WorldBlue_Ultrapolis_World.jpg  SPECIAL THANKSGIVING EDITION




Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - Volume 3, Number 21

© Copyright 2012, The Ultrapolis Project.  All Rights Reserved.

The Next Four Obama Years, Part II

President Will Adjust Course, Use Republicans, Manage Democrats


·         The Next Four Obama Years, Part II: President Will Adjust Course

·         Cartoon “Turkey & Taxes” by Nate Beeler

·         Thanksgiving Remembrance


The Next Four Years, Part II

President Will Adjust, Use, Manage


Enter Left, Exit Winner


President Barak Obama is a leftist president.  His ideology is not in doubt.  But, he is not the fool that conservatives have repeatedly insisted he is, just as President Ronald Reagan was not a fool as liberals bitterly insisted back in the 1980’s.  Interestingly enough, President Obama often refers to the lessons of Reagan’s presidency (to the dismay of hard left-wingers on his side, and the irritation of hard right-wingers on the other).  Importantly, though, the lessons he draws and shares from Reagan’s presidency are in spirit and approach, not in policy.  More tellingly, despite being much closer philosophically, Mr. Obama does not quote President Jimmy Carter.


The president may have his ideology, and most likely it is honestly held, perhaps even strongly so.  But there is something else the president values more: victory.  If there is one thing we have gleaned from observing this president over the last four years, it is that once settled on a valued goal – and particularly one ardently opposed and at risk – he will stop at almost nothing to win.  Beyond that, he has little tolerance for being subjected to personal embarrassment.  Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a would-be simpatico leader, learned first-hand the current U.S. president is not saddled with the same sense of polite restraint of previous white Protestant presidents when he tried to embarrass Mr. Obama at an Organization of American States summit in 2009.


Barack Obama is also a man.  And, men are often changed by powerful circumstances, and few are more powerful than finding yourself at the head of the world’s most powerful nation, more so as the first partly descended from a previously subjugated race.  So, despite the admonitions of the erstwhile admired Dinesh D’Souza in his film “2016: Obama’s America,” his entertaining (but much less reported) answer to Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11,” and despite the president’s own real ideological preferences, Barack Obama will more and more, as the days pass in his new and last quadrennium, identify himself with the primacy of American success.  If at any time that success is imperiled by liberal orthodoxy, you can be sure his legacy will come first.  It is the reason why Guantanamo Bay never closed, and why the much left-maligned Bush II security policies were ultimately made his own.  Security success was imperative; leftist sensitivities, not so much.


Useful Stooges Handy at Right


As for taxes and the Republicans, the president has the advantage, and the frame of mind, to secure the taxes he wants on the wealthy.  He will make conciliatory gestures, and say many things about bi-partisan cooperation.  He will have his way.  And in return, the Republicans will not find gratitude, but contempt.  Without intense pressure, Mr. Obama is unlikely to entertain many Republican compromises that don’t fit into his plan.  Our only doubt is whether he will stay his hand enough to not provoke another 2010 in 2014.  We think he will.


But, liberals ought not to cheer too soon.  The president will speedily surrender any liberal orthodoxies he sees threatening to his legacy, and economic growth will be front and center.  And for that, he will use the Republicans when he needs them to make any recalcitrant Democrats heel.


The president is not actually a good bargainer, but he has Vice-President Joe Biden to smooth the way.  They actually make a better team than one would think from such a strange pairing.


The higher taxes on the rich won’t have the deadly effects to the economy the hard-right conservatives predict, but they also won’t make much of an impact on the huge and dangerous national debt. 


Darker Mood Abroad


The Iranians and the Russians will also find a less conciliatory Mr. Obama.  Having foolishly (not because he is intellectually foolish, but because he was foolishly and ideologically naïve and inexperienced) wasted valuable time, the president is not blind to the dangerous continued approach of a nuclear-armed Iran, and the one-sided ‘reset’ of relations with the increasingly politically dark and ominous Russians.  We suspect that unlike President Bill Clinton with North Korea, Barack Obama will not cavalierly, if discretely, accept defeat.  Instead, we expect a gradual ratcheting upwards of oppositional pressure on both aggressive regimes.  However, it is unclear if he will do so enough to secure significant gains.  That will become more apparent as he reveals his post-Hillary Clinton foreign policy.


With Syria, again, originally dangerously and wastefully slow-footed as he was with Libya, but now with gradually increasing commitment, we expect the president to see the value of and need for American participation in influencing the consequential future there.  (Back in 2008, we predicted general initial ineffectiveness, with a sharp learning curve. We expect more adjustments in his foreign policy as a result.)


Continued next column >



U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama

>Continued from previous column


Achilles’ Heel


The deadly Benghazi fiasco will be a thorn at the president’s side that can become infected at anytime.  We predicted prior to the election that the public would not pay it attention in any way as to affect the election.  But, with the election over, the eighty-five percent of reporters and pundits preferring an Obama presidency over a Romney one will now be less inclined to pass on a story that may get them notoriety.  Americans will generally ignore a story about an incident abroad, even a serious one, so long as it remains foggy in details, seemingly complex, and without major media play.  But, if the clear simple facts of a smoking gun become available, that can quickly change.  Currently, we can just see the smoke.


Tougher Stance, Weaker State


So, how will things turn out?  Domestically, things may get a little better, but not like before.  Unless the president unveils a new set of policies we have not yet seen that effectively target the core factors of our economic stalling, we will likely still see years of unsteady, and insufficient progress – with or without Obamacare (but with, of course).  The ballooning debt will continue to dog the U.S. economy, and we will face either draconian cuts painfully damaging the economy and endangering our national security in the short term, or a continued managed descent into Second World conditions for years beyond Obama’s presidency.


Abroad, the president has been wise (if to a fault), to look ahead to a future of diminished American power, and to try to set a standard of multi-national cooperation, instead of imposition from the top that might all too easily be later employed by another power.  Our fear is that he is letting off the gas too much, too early, in U.S. leadership, prematurely inviting this other power to not wait for this new standard to take firm hold.  It is unclear to us at this time exactly what to expect here in the next four years.  A world of diminished American might is a more unstable one (a fact of history when a ruling power weakens), and one where whatever we do makes less of a difference.  All we can say now is that we expect him to consider tougher approaches, and we pray that no military emergency calling for immediate, decisive action comes our way.


All in all, the biggest danger is that Washington may cushion the blow of economic hardship so much, we may slowly accept decline, and choose to never get back up – until it’s too late.

Coming next week, the Obama Years Part III: The Republicans in 2012 & 2016.




Thanksgiving Remembrance

An American Communion of Faith & Remembrance


The Wall Street Journal every year, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day, publishes the same lead editorial run on that same day of the year since the 1960’s.  I read it every year (though, not since the 1960’s). So, I felt that we could the same here.  The link below will take you to a tiny essay first written on Thanksgiving 2009.  I hope you enjoy it, and on behalf of Mark Steele and myself, wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.



Marco A. Roberts


Thanksgiving Remembrance



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