A Legacy of Fundamental Transformation

January 16, 2017


The outgoing occupant of the White House has already begun work on his legacy, recently stating that:  he is proud of his lack of scandals while in office; race relations have improved under his watch; and he saved the American economy.
 
Given that the man doesn’t understand economics, he is a subtle race baiter, and his idea of scandal avoidance was to deny the existence of any unfavorable events, such comments by a man with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is expected.
 
But his true legacy? If you’re one of the millions dropped from the Unemployment rolls in order to get the official number below 5%; if you lost a loved one to the byzantine bureaucratic hellhole known as the VA; if you have a problem with your government funding ISIS in order to topple a dictator who doesn’t impact American interests, then perhaps you have a different view of what defines scandal free.
 
I have a few questions and concerns for the outgoing president of the United States. I have concerns about scandals, the economy, race relations, and that one subject your political and media allies don’t wish to discuss:  foreign policy.
 
So Mr. Former President, I want to know, when the drug lord El Chappo is found to have acquired a rifle through the “Fast and Furious” program, at what point would the program not become a scandal? Are dead people not enough for you, including Border Patrol agent Brian Terry? Would you change your mind about “Fast and Furious” as a scandal if you were related to murdered ICE agent Jamie Zapata?
 
After you leave office, additional evidence will be discovered which shows that your administration funded ISIS. Is it compatible to support those who throw homosexuals off buildings in the Middle East and to favor same-sex marriage in the States? At what point do we utter the words, “Islamic terrorism” or “Qur’anic Islam” or “Islamic jihad” to describe our enemies, yet decline to indirectly fund and arm them overseas? By the way, the terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, was carried out with a “Fast and Furious” weapon, but still no scandal.
 
Fort Hood, the Orlando nightclub, Little Rock, the Boston Marathon, the Moore beheading, the Brooklyn cop killings, the murder of the Chattanooga Marines, San Bernardino- am I missing any? We know that Fort Hood was workplace violence in your world- “Allahu Akbar” being a call for a lunch break or something - but you opened up the gates, letting in more. One of your own Homeland Security people admitted to Congress that it’s impossible to vet them all.
 
Is this how you “fundamentally transformed” America?
 
We all thought it was going to be through health care, where you attacked the best medical care in the world in order to take over an expensive insurance market. You brought your trademarked incompetence to another area of America. Because of your efforts and those of your ilk, who set out to destroy the insurance market so that eventually we can all have VA-quality health care, insurance rolls have increased by 14 million people. Fourteen million is close enough for your merry band to claim 20 million newly insured people, so what the heck.
 
Then again, according to the Heritage Foundation, if we take out Medicaid and CHIP, the real number is a little over 2.2 million newly insured, but that’s close to 20 million, too.
 
You and your buddies in the national press like the term “the great recession.” Never mind that the Jimmy Carter recession, which ended early in Ronald Reagan’s tenure, was far worse. We had double-digit inflation, unemployment, and interest rates. Carter’s economy was bad enough that the term “misery index” was concocted. After a few years of President Reagan, in some months the economy created one million jobs per month. That’s one million jobs in a single month. You brag about 15 million jobs in eight years, but that adds up to less than what was needed to keep up with population increase.
 
You said that if you had a son, he’d look like Trayvon Martin - a revealing remark. This imaginary son wouldn’t look like Army Specialist David Hickman, who bled out in Afghanistan after his convoy hit an I.E.D. Apparently, if you had a son, he would look like a thug instead of a hero. Not surprising, given your silence when cops are ambushed or racist organizations encourage others to kill white police officers. We came to expect nothing more from you.
 
Your legacy is one of failure and incompetence. Incompetence was your first Attorney General’s defense about “Fast and Furious;” how fitting. But nothing compares to your foreign policy legacy. Even your friends have cried a river about how poorly you’ll be remembered because of the international wreckage you’ve left in your wake.
 
Apparently, “Cash for Clunkers” was the test run for “Cash for Mullahs.” When the price of oil drops, how else do we expect terrorist states to fund their favorite hobbies? Load up the plane to Iran, John Kerry, and put the cash on pallets for easy transport. Oh, and free up $150 billion for a promise - a promise - not to build nuclear weapons. Well, to delay it ten years. They promise to allow access to all of their nuclear sites. They promise to curb plutonium production.
 
Of course, if they break their promises, that will fundamentally transform America in a hurry, won’t it?
 
Where will you be in ten years, Mr. Former President? Are you confident that Iran will keep its word? Or are their promises as meaningless as your friendships with the United Kingdom, France, Israel, Japan, and Germany? All are friends whom you previously insulted in one way or another. Then again, you treated our enemies better, so maybe being a friend of America wasn’t such a good gig these last eight years. Neither was being your ambassador. Of course, going AWOL and becoming a traitor, a la Bowe Bergdahl, had its advantages, but there’s a friend/enemy role reversal theme going on here, isn’t there?
 
Your legacy, Mr. Former President, is that of incompetence, dissemblance, and embarrassment.
 
There is one point we cannot deny:  you succeeded. You promised that you would fundamentally transform America. You did. The definition of “marriage” has been watered down to the point of being meaningless. With your approval, entering the appropriate bathroom is now controversial. Healthy people have seen their health care costs skyrocket. For the first time since the Carter era, the military is parting out functioning equipment in order to keep other equipment running. The military brass has been purged. Economic malaise is considered “the new normal.” Federal snooping is accepted. The stock market has been flooded with federal money.
 
You vacationed your way through eight years, slept through the terrorist attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, and golfed through crisis after crisis. Certainly you were personally successful.
 
Americans can just be grateful that you didn’t have any scandals, and that you were so successful. God help us if we knew what your failure looked like.
 
Goodbye, Mr. Former President. The inept and mediocre will miss you. Like after a wildfire or tornado, the rest of us look to start again.

Copyright ©2017

Brian W. Peterson has been a columnist for a mid-size California newspaper, is a veteran of political campaigns, and was a member of the publicly elected Republican Central Committee of Los Angeles County. His psychological thriller Dead Dreams and sci-fi adventure Children of the Sun are currently available through Amazon.com. You can follow Brian on Twitter @cybrpete.