The President’s Priorities

Lots of stuff going on in the world.  Let’s see what the President is doing about it.  But let’s recognize at the outset that he is not a miracle worker.

Gas is over $3 a gallon.  I don’t know that the President has said anything about that recently.  You know, if we would start going after oil in our country and off our shores, things would be better.  Critics say it would take 5 years for us to feel the difference.  I say if I get to choose between 5 years and never, I’d like to feel better in 5 years.

Unrest continues in the Middle East and North Africa.  In Libya the government is fighting back against those agitating for freedom.  I read an article about how several European leaders condemned the violence before President Obama commented publicly.  The President said it was important that the world is speaking with one voice.  Some commentators, apparently even on the left, are noting that the President doesn’t seem interested in taking the lead on this.  I’m not sure what he is supposed to do.  Threaten economic sanctions?  Would that matter to a Libyan leader who has vowed to fight until the last drop of blood is spilled?  Nevertheless, there is an opportunity here to support the cause of freedom.  It’s nice to have a consensus, but when was the last time Europe showed leadership in a way that made a difference?  Should we wait on them?  I’m not trying to be mean here; I’m just trying to figure this out.

In Wisconsin, the governor says he wants to balance the budget in troubled economic times.  Public employees have a benefits package that is better than many in the private sector, negotiated by powerful unions.  The governor says he wants to de-fang some of the unions and make those workers pay an amount for their benefits that is closer to what those in the private sector pay.  State senate Democrats fled the state, so that the senate was deprived of a quorum, and weren’t able to vote on the governor’s legislation.  Setting aside the particulars of this specific case.  If it was a different issue and Republicans were preventing a vote by fleeing the state, would the mainstream media condemn the effort to undermine our democratic process?

Meanwhile, the President has sent some of his people to help the protesters in Wisconsin.  This is the second time President Obama has challenged a state government.  The first was when Arizona came up with a strategy to deal with the problem of illegal immigration in their state.  I tried to think of another time when a President challenged a state government in this way.  President Eisenhower sent federal troops into Arkansas to thwart the will of the governor there in the 1950s.  But that time the Supreme Court had struck down segregation in schools, and the governor was violating this federal ruling, which forced Ike’s hand.  What President Obama is doing seems to be unique.

The President has decided that the federal government will no longer fight against challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman.  It was passed when Bill Clinton was President.  President Obama has consistently said he was against gay marriage, but now he believes that DOMA is unconstitutional.  I wonder what changed his mind.  It is curious that with so many other pressing issues the President has chosen to focus on this now.