Written by Alan Caruba
Traditionally, the nation celebrates an inauguration as a demonstration of the peaceful transfer or extension of presidential power, but for half of the nation's voters Inauguration Day 2013 is more likely to be a day of mourning, a day of fear for the nation's ability to survive Barack Hussein Obama.
Let's start with the basics. As Terence P. Jeffrey points out in a recent commentary on CNSnews.com, "During Barack Obama's first term as president of the United States, the debt of the federal government increased by $5.8 trillion, which exceeds the combined debt accumulated under all presidents from George Washington through Bill Clinton."
Jeffrey stopped at the two terms of George W. Bush because they included 9/11 and two wars, first in Afghanistan and later in Iraq. Wars are expensive, but neither evoked a great deal of protest at the time. Afghanistan was where al Qaeda planned 9/11 and Iraq was ruled by a despot who had invaded Kuwait in 1990 when Bush 41 was President and was believed to be stockpiling weapons of mass destruction by 2003. Though no WMD were found, it is a safe bet those in Syria today were transferred there by Saddam Hussein.
I am old enough to remember when the United States successfully concluded World War II in 1945 and entered into a long period of prosperity and, dare I say it, happiness. That began to end with the escalation of the Vietnam War by Lyndon Johnson in the late 1960s. Until Afghanistan, it would be the longest war in U.S. history and costly in both blood and treasure. It prompted repeated protest marches on Washington, D.C. and it caused Johnson to announce he would not run for President again. The 1960s and 70s saw the rise of the counter-culture movement symbolized by "hippies", the glorification of drug use, and a slacker mentality.
Johnson was followed into office by two terms of Richard Nixon. The Watergate scandal allowed an unknown one-term Georgia Governor, Jimmy Carter, to be elected. "I will not lie to you," promised Carter. He didn't have to. What he produced was economic stagnation and, toward the end of his only term, he watched helplessly as U.S. diplomats were taken hostage by Iranian revolutionaries. It was left to his successor, Ronald Reagan, to revive the economy, increase our military strength, and resist the Soviet Union. An invasion of Afghanistan by the Russians would lead to the demise of the USSR in 1991.
Bush's second term ended with the 2008 financial crisis and opened the door to yet another unknown candidate, Barack Obama, to be elected. Americans were eager to show the world and themselves that an African-American could become President. He was young and said all the right things.
The problem with Barack Obama was that he was a Marxist with a Muslim father whom his mother divorced and who grew up in part in Indonesia with a Muslim step-father. In Hawaii, where his mother left him with her Leftist parents, he was mentored by a card-carrying member of the Communist Party USA. Too many voters were either willing to ignore this or were unaware of it. It was a slim margin of these "low information" voters that reelected him with the help of Republican voters who stayed home, apparently more disappointed with their party than the "transformation" that Obama had imposed in his first term.
Obama's reelection shocked conservative voters. It threw them into a state of depression from which they have not emerged. The media was blamed. There were claims the election was stolen. The GOP was blamed. Mitt Romney was blamed, but the fundamental truth is that not enough patriotic, conservative Americans showed up on Election Day.
Typical of second inaugurations, there will be fewer in attendance on Monday when the ceremonial swearing-in occurs. It is unlikely that his speech will reveal much though anyone paying any attention to his first one would not be surprised by the last four years.
Essentially, Obama has presided over the decline of America. The national debt and the annual deficits have seen our AAA credit rating reduced for the first time. The Obama administration has operated without a budget for the past three years. It has lavished billions on failed alternative energy ventures and "stimulus" spending.
Obama's greatest legacy is the legislation dubbed Obamacare and it is causing insurance rates to rise for everyone, restrictions on hospital care, and reductions in the compensation of physicians, many of whom are thinking of leaving the profession. It was over 2,000 pages long, was not read by those Democrats who voted for it, and is generating tens of thousands of regulations that will strangle healthcare in America. It is forcing some employers to implement "part-time" working conditions and a reluctance to hire and expand.
Obama ended his first term heaping contempt on the Republican Party, accusing them of being the cause of the nation's ills when, in fact, they gained control of the House in 2010 as the direct result of voter concerns over the economy and administration policies. He has refused to negotiate with Republicans in Congress and the Senate, under the leadership of Harry Reid, has produced less legislation than any previous one. All efforts by Republicans in the House to produce budgets and address the nation's financial problems have been blocked in the Senate.
Historians will tell you that the reason many second terms did not do well can be laid to hubris, excessive pride, and the mistaken view of a "mandate" from the voters. Obama's slim victory was no mandate. The two scandals of his first term, the gun-running program called "Fast and Furious" and the absurd cover-up of the Benghazi killing of a U.S. ambassador and three security personnel, remain. The out-going Secretary of State is scheduled to testify before Congress on the latter. Obama's foreign policy has been a combination of retreat and isolationism.
Obama's selection of replacements for his second term cabinet is likely to be judged even worse than their predecessors at State, Defense, the CIA, and EPA, among other posts.
So, this writer will not be celebrating on Inauguration Day. I will be mourning the potential demise of the nation, once the world's leader in so many ways.
© Alan Caruba, 2012
Alan Caruba blogs daily at Facts Not Fantasy.
An author, business and science writer, he is the founder of The National Anxiety Center