by Melanie Phillips President Obama has had, by general consent, a torrid First Fortnight. To put it another way, it has taken precisely two weeks for the illusion that brought him to power to be exposed for the nonsense that it so obviously was. The transformational candidate who was going to sweep away pork-barrel politics, lobbyists and corruption has been up to his neck in sleaze, as eviscerated here by Charles Krauthammer. Despite the fact that he came to power promising to â€˜ban all earmarksâ€™, his â€˜stimulusâ€™ bill represents billions of dollars of special-interest tax breaks, giveaways and protections -- which have nothing to do with kick-starting the economy and everything to do with favouring pet Democrat causes.
He has been appointing one tax dodger, lobbyist and wheeler-dealer after another. After appointing one official,Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who had unaccountably forgotten to pay his taxes, he then watched his designated Health Secretary Tom Daschle fall on his sword because he too had taken a tax holiday. Daschle was furthermore a prominent actor in the world of lobbying and influence-peddling. Leon Panetta, Obamaâ€™s nominee for Director of the CIA has also, according to the Wall Street Journal, consulted for prominent companies and sat on the board of a public affairs firm that lobbies Congress. The Weekly Standard reports that Secretary of Labour nominee Hilda Solis was not only involved with a private organization lobbying her fellow legislators on a bill that she helped sponsor, but she apparently kept her involvement secret and failed to reveal a clear conflict of interest.
In foreign policy, Obama has started by trashing his own country through grossly misrepresenting its history and grovelling to Americaâ€™s enemies such as Iran, which has flicked him aside with undiluted contempt. He has gratuitously upset Americaâ€™s ally India by suggesting that America should muscle in and resolve the Kashmir question.
His right hand doesnâ€™t seem to know what his left hand is doing. He reportedly asked retired Marine General Anthony Zinni to be US ambassador to Iraq, but then abruptly withdrew the appointment without explanation after it had been confirmed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And the precise role he is offering Dennis Ross â€“ special envoy to Iran? Special adviser to Hillary? Special adviser to other special advisers? â€“ remains mired in confusion.
I have argued before however that, given Obamaâ€™s radical roots in the neo-Marxist, nihilist politics of Saul Alinsky, it is the undermining of Americaâ€™s fundamental values that is likely to be this Presidentâ€™s most strategically important goal. I have also suggested that, since this agenda is promoted through stealth politics which gull the credulous middle-classes while destroying the ground upon which they are standing, his second-tier appointments should be closely scrutinised.
And hereâ€™s a humdinger. Obama has picked a man called David Ogden to be deputy Attorney-General. Ogden has made his legal career from representing pornographers, trying to defeat child protection legislation and undermining family values. As FoxNews reported this week, he once represented a group of library directors arguing against the Children's Internet Protection Act, which ordered libraries and schools receiving funding for the Internet to restrict access to obscene sites. And on behalf of several media groups, he successfully argued against a child pornography law that required publishers to verify and document the age of their models, which would have ensured these models were at least 18.
The Family Research Council has more examples of his contribution to upholding American and western values. In one such case, he expressed the view that abortion was less damaging to a woman than having children:
In sum, it is grossly misleading to tell a woman that abortion imposes possible detrimental psychological effects when the risks are negligible in most cases, when the evidence shows that she is more likely to experience feelings of relief and happiness, and when child-birth and child-rearing or adoption may pose concomitant (if not greater) risks or adverse psychological effects ...
In another, co-authored brief, he argued that it was an unconstitutional burden on 14-year old girls seeking an abortion for their parents to be notified -- because there was no difference between adults and mid-teens in their ability to grasp all the implications of such a decision:
There is no question that the right to secure an abortion is fundamental. By any objective standard, therefore, the decision to abort is one that a reasonable person, including a reasonable adolescent, could make. [E]mpirical studies have found few differences between minors aged 14-18 and adults in their understanding of information and their ability to think of options and consequences when asked to consider treatment-related decisions. These unvarying and highly significant findings indicate that with respect to the capacity to understand and reason logically, there is no qualitative or quantitative difference between minors in mid-adolescence, i.e., about 14-15 years of age, and adults.
And how did the 44th President react to the growing public dismay over the mess he was making? He threw his toys out of the pram -- or perhaps that should read, he got into the pram. For he fled the scene of the disaster and sought the company of seven year-olds instead. As the Telegraph reported:
â€˜We were just tired of being in the White House,â€™ he told a group of excited seven-year-olds before discussing Batman and reading them a book.
Tired of being President â€“ after two weeks!
Tax cheats, pork-barrel politics, ancillary child abuse, incompetence, chaos, treachery and infantilism. America â€“ what have you done?!