Welcome Barack Carter
There are many good reasons why the world is round, with preoccupations coming full circle being one of them. We are witnessing this in the Middle East where American diplomats were killed, our embassies are under attack and Iran is threatening to close off the Strait of Hormuz. Throw in high unemployment, a lousy economy and lofty gas prices and, if I didn't know better, I'd think it was 1980.
Rather, it's September 2012 and this column continues examining Obama's tenure, K to M.
Thanks to emerging technologies and the discovery of more gas and oil resources here in North America, led by the tar sands in Canada - an estimated 100 billion barrels of oil - it should have been greeted with great fanfare. It wasn't. The Obama administration's reaction was to shelve constructing the Keystone Pipeline that would have transported the oil to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast. This missed opportunity would have provided an estimated 25,000 jobs, abundant energy and lessened our dependency on Middle Eastern imports. Instead Keystone was sacrificed on the altar of uncompetitive green technologies.
To recommend that the trial of terrorist KSM be conducted in Manhattan civilian court must have sent more than a tingle up the legs of our sworn adversaries. To even consider this would only supply terrorists with additional intelligence, tactics, more recruits and another round of pain upon the surviving victims.
L is for "leading from behind." Never before has such a backhanded compliment been conferred on a sitting president that's so applicable. Obama remains in denial about the dangers of jihadi terrorists, worldwide. Obama's abdication of leadership in his foreign policy seems to be deliberately designed "to reduce American power in the world," as Dinesh D'Souza writes in the "Roots of Obama's Rage." In her address at the Republican National Convention, Condoleezza Rice warned when America fails to lead, chaos ensues and "others who do not share our values will fill the vacuum. We cannot be reluctant to lead and one cannot lead from behind."
The leaks of national security are an intelligence and foreign relations Titanic that includes the StuxNet computer virus, al Qaida's attempt to blow up airliners that was foiled by a Yemeni double-agent and the betrayal of the Pakistani doctor who identified Osama bin Laden's longtime sanctuary, who is now serving over 30 years in prison for his courage. Obama's sense of stealth is notifying only The New York Times and MSNBC. The way Obama has concealed his personal history should be applied to documents of national security.
The financial liabilities are staggering - more than a $100 trillion of unfunded entitlements - that has us on a collision course with national insolvency with Medicare in the driver's seat. The Congressional Budget Office reports Medicare spending has increased fivefold - more than all other categories of federal spending. There will be no Medicare if it is not reformed. Democrats rant Republicans will kill Medicare. Not true. Provided no changes are made, Medicare commits suicide.
Then there's marijuana. Obama's heavy high school pot smoking is detailed in David Maraniss new biography, "Barack Obama: The Story," and raises questions about the accuracy of Obama's version and supplies fresh revelations. Legalizing marijuana and taxing it to the hilt would enable Americans to toke their way back to budget solvency. Perhaps, as suggested by pundit Chuck Stroup, this could very well be Obama's "second-term de-stimulus plan."
The military should not be immune from budget cuts, but not at the expense of our nation's security or transforming the U.S. into a European entitlement state. We now have the smallest Navy since World War I. Our most important barriers are the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In order to maintain such a natural security perimeter, while protecting the world's shipping lanes and fostering our strength and worldly influence, the U.S. Navy must be the strongest the world over. Moreover, many of the Air Forces refueling tankers predate human space flight. Training aircraft are twice as old as the young pilots learning to fly them. Every B-52 bomber in the American arsenal predates the Cuban missile crisis. We also have the smallest ground forces in 70 years and, at just over 2.5 percent of GDP, the smallest defense budget since 1941.
Despite a dismal record, nearly half the country seems to have no problem rewarding Obama a second term.
In October of 1980, Ronald Reagan trailed Jimmy Carter 47 percent to 39 percent. Given the political stratosphere, the country needs history to repeat the historic landslide of November 4, 1980.
Somebody cue K.C. and the Sunshine Band.
(Maresca, a local freelance writer, composes "Talking Points" for each Sunday edition.)