There has been a good deal of speculation, some of it bordering on the apocalyptic, concerning what Barack Obama will do if the American people are foolish enough to give him another four years to preside over them. Obama says that he would grade his performance as "Incomplete," thereby indicating that he has plans he has not yet been able to fulfill. But what are those plans? And has he truly given us any indication of them in his recent speech to the Democratic National Convention?
Since the waters of the ocean have not yet begun to subside, as we were promised in 2008, I am a little skeptical of the idea that Obama's future actions are best predicted by his public speeches. Indeed, Obama has actually delivered the precise opposite of what he has promised. Consider the federal budget deficit. Obama promised to cut it in half; instead, he oversaw the doubling of outstanding federal debt by running a historically unprecedented series of trillion-dollar deficits.
Many have forgotten that Obama won the 2008 Democratic nomination on the strength of being the anti-war candidate, and while he has significantly reduced the American presence in Iraq, he sent thousands more troops into Afghanistan, the notorious graveyard of empires, and has waged a secretive drone war in Pakistan, Yemen and numerous other countries with which the United States is not at war. He also flip-flopped on homogamy, finally coming out of the closet on the issue after regularly claiming to stand against the redefinition of marriage during the presidential campaign.
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However, Obama did deliver on his hallmark program to nationalize health care, and he did continue to funnel federal money to financial institutions and other corporations as he indicated he would before being elected. So he has not been an entirely hollow president. In fact, one could make the case that he has lived up to his pre-election promises much more fully than either George "No New Taxes" Bush or George "Humble Foreign Policy" Bush did.
While his claimed right to assassinate individuals, including American citizens, at will is certainly troubling, as are the large purchases of ammunition by the federal agencies that report to him, I don't see any signs in either Obama's speeches or his behavior to indicate that he intends to impose a socialist tyranny on the United States if he is re-elected. Second terms tend to be relatively uneventful and are predominantly driven by the attempts of the administration to survive the scandals that result from previously unknown actions committed during the previous term. And certainly, given the disengagement of the president and the incompetence of his officials, we can expect more revelations of the "Fast & Furious" variety.
This may even explain why Obama seems to be an entirely different candidate in 2012 than he was in 2008. He knows the economy is not improving, he knows his range of options will be strictly constrained by a Republican House and possibly a Republican Senate, and most importantly, he knows what he and his administration have done behind closed doors. Given what we already know about his inept and inexperienced administration, there is reason to believe that Obama is sitting on a major scandal or two, possibly even one that is related to an impeachable offense.
For all that, the professional pollsters are announcing a post-convention bounce that increases Obama's re-election chances from 73.1 percent to 79.8 percent, I still don't think he will beat the Republican, Romney. But if he does, I think the most likely result will be a four-year lame duck presidency spent hunkered down in the White House watching ESPN, as Obama attempts to survive the inevitable second-term scandals while spending as much time on the golf course as possible.
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Remember, this is a man whose formative years were spent smoking pot on the beach in the Choom Gang. Obama may be surrounded by people who want to change the world, but for all that he likes the idea of playing messiah, bearing a cross is far too much work for a man of his relaxed inclinations.