Published on TheHill.com on July 8, 2014
The worst day in Barack Obama’s life may have been the day he won a second term. Increasingly, he is the captive of events his own policies have set in motion that are now out of control and coming back to haunt him. The last two and a half years of his second term seem fated to be the worst ending to a presidency since those of Johnson and Nixon, dominated by Vietnam protests and Watergate, respectively.
The process will cook his legacy and destroy his party’s chances to keep the presidency.
Immigration: It is about to become the conventional wisdom — in this case, correct — that Obama’s manipulation of the deportation system has triggered the tidal wave of unaccompanied children coming across the southern border. Even as his policies lead to a massive unintended consequence, he seems determined to double down and ratchet deportations back further.
One can predict that stories of crimes by illegal immigrants, of disease borne here by the immigrants and the dislocations in communities across the land will dominate the news for years. It will be like the Cuban Mariel boatlift of 1980, when Fidel Castro emptied his prisons and mental hospitals and shipped their inhabitants here. Ironically, the backlash helped defeat then-Gov. Bill Clinton’s bid for reelection in Arkansas that same year.
ObamaCare: The failure to anticipate the number of older and sicker people to enter the healthcare pool has set the stage for double-digit premium increases as 2014 draws toward a close. And the limits on grandfathered small group policies will cause wholesale cancellations, such as those that bedeviled Obama in 2013. Larger firms will need to increase employee contributions, replace full-time workers with part-timers and raise deductibles. All the bad news postponed from 2013 and 2014 will hit the fan in 2015.
Middle East: Obama’s hasty and total withdrawal from Iraq is already backfiring as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) sweeps through the nation, destroying the hapless and disorganized forces of the government. With the formation of a Sunni caliphate more likely than not, the president will have to answer for a new wave of terrorism on his watch.
IRS: With the scandal of the Internal Revenue Service targeting of Tea Party groups now reaching the U.S. District Court, it enters a new era. Before the Congressional Oversight Committee, administration witnesses could resort to delaying tactics of “my dog ate it” excuses in answer to document subpoenas. But no more. While Congress cannot enforce its contempt citations, a District Court judge can. He can demand that techies search for missing emails, subpoena those who received them and force document production on penalty of incarceration with no Justice Department intermediary to shield Obama administration officials.
We are about to be treated to a Nixonesque drama, wherein the court, impelled by lawyers for the Tea Party — the redoubtable Cleta Mitchell — forces the IRS to cough up what it knows.
And, with the Nixon case providing a precedent, impeachment could be in the offing. Ken Starr sought impeachment over what many did not consider to be a high crime or misdemeanor. But nobody can doubt that using the IRS to punish political opponents qualifies.
Benghazi: Now that the fig leaf of blaming the 2012 attack in Libya on an Internet video has been stripped away by the Justice Department indictment of Ahmed Abu Khattala — stating that he planned the attack for months — Obama must face the full force of Congressman Trey Gowdy’s (R-S.C.) investigation. One is inclined to believe author Ed Klein’s account in his book Blood Feud, that the use of the video to cover up a terror attack was triggered by the president himself in a 10 p.m. phone call to Hillary Clinton the night of the attack.
And, if all this were not enough, are we riding the crest of the stock market bubble, and will it come crashing down as many predict?
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