Two analysis pieces this week illustrate what the Obama presidency has become. The president’s foreign policy speech at West Point and yesterday’s release of draft EPA rules to regulate coal show that we have a White House that unapologetically does not try to reconcile what it says with what it does; nor does it try to reconcile important policy positions with facts and reality if those positions interfere with its rigid ideology and discredited worldview.
New York Times writers Justin Gillis and Henry Fountain explained Sunday how the president is “Trying to reclaim leadership on climate change.” And The Post’s editorial page editor, Fred Hiatt, wrote Monday about “Obama’s values-free foreign policy.”
The latter piece highlighted how the White House will matter-of-factly discard the president’s own words whenever they prove difficult to apply in the real world. The most vivid example of this recently was Obama’s statement at West Point that unilateral action should not be used unless the United States is directly threatened. This, as Hiatt pointed out, “repudiate[s] decades of foreign policy – and Obama’s own views of just 10 months ago.” Michael Gerson drove this point home in today’s Post with a recitation of a list of failed or discarded Obama pledges. Take the time to click on the links — it is important to study what Hiatt and Gerson have written.
And speaking of unilateral actions, President Obama has announced new carbon emissions regulations that, Gillis and Fountain wrote, “will barely nudge the global emissions.” They claim the president’s actions will “reclaim for the country the mantle of international leadership in battling climate change” — whatever that means. They then admit that, despite falling emissions in the West, “those reductions are being swamped by a rapid rise in the East.” Given that the new rules will not appreciably impact carbon emissions, and credible analysis shows the rules will cost thousands of jobs and needlessly raise power bills for almost every American, the president’s insistence on taking these unilateral actions is inexplicable. His decision is irrational and not science-based.
The justifications for the new regulations are either false or just tired slogans. Replacing fossil fuels with wind and solar energy is not an honest position. “Wind and solar” has become a throwaway phrase that doesn’t mean anything to anyone who might be serious about replacing fossil fuels. A useful word like “nuclear” – which might actually help solve our clean-energy supply challenges – is not even part of a liberal’s vocabulary.
Anyway, the Obama White House has proved time and time again that it does not feel bound today by what it said yesterday. This administration’s actions are frequently inconsistent, and its reasoning has often “evolved” when it actually has to rationalize the president’s decisions.
The eloquence of President Obama’s statements and speeches do not compensate for the inconsistencies. President Obama is losing credibility, both at home and abroad. Democrats at home and foreign leaders abroad find it hard to follow the president when even he doesn’t know where he is going.
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