Jared Olar: The next four years will not be fun
During Bill Clinton's re-election bid in 1996, whenever someone would tell me they intended to vote for him, I would somewhat sardonically reply, "Why would you want to vote for him? Don't you know that you're really going to be voting for someone who will just be impeached anyway?"
I wasn't privy to any secret plans or inside information, and regular readers of this column know that I have no special predictive powers, and I can assure you that I certainly didn't have any in 1996. Rather, I'd merely lived through Clinton's first term and watched with disgust as the burgeoning scandals, graft and corruption seemed to sprout from him and his administration like rancid cauliflower, and I just knew that, one way or another, he was bound to disgrace himself and his nation and find himself facing articles of impeachment.
Given Clinton's fabled dishonesty and unchastity, I was only saddened, and not at all surprised, that the crime that resulted in his impeachment would turn out to be perjury regarding an adulterous liaison with one of his interns.
Recent troubling events in Washington, D.C., have evoked in me these memories of the Clinton years. It's not at all that I believe or expect President Barack Obama to be impeached. On the contrary, as I've noted before, although I think Obama has committed high crimes and misdemeanors (e.g., his non-recess recess appointments, to cite what I think is the clearest instance), impeachment is a political impossibility as long as the Senate remains in Democratic hands. Obama certainly will never be impeached.
However, just as I expected a second Clinton term to be disastrous, I also expected, and still expect, Obama's second term to be disastrous. I "know" this the same way I "knew" Clinton would be impeached — by living through and paying attention to his actions and the actions of his administration during his first term.
What we know from Obama's first term is that he does not enjoy legislative negotiations and compromise, but rather has a "to the victor belongs the spoils" mentality and prefers to dictate terms and impose his agenda. That's how we got ObamaCare and the approaching "fiscal cliff." Those are two big messes from his first term that are about to get a whole lot messier in his second term.
Rather than improving the quality of health care, "Obamacare's" taxes and regulations will result in higher health care costs, less freedom for patients and doctors to make health care decisions, more assaults on freedom of conscience, longer wait times to see a doctor, tons more paperwork for doctors, a doctor shortage, and millions of workers losing their employer-provided health insurance and getting moved from full-time to part-time by employers who can't afford to insure their employees. It will also mean higher deficits, because no government can ever have enough money to pay for "universal health care."
As for the fiscal cliff, I suspect that Congress and the White House will again slap together some temporary measures that will avert the worst consequences of the automatic tax increases and so-called spending cuts set to take effect Jan. 1. Whatever deal is arranged, however, it won't be enough to put a stop to the $1 trillion-a-year deficits. Drastic reforms to government programs and entitlements are mandatory, but they are just as politically impossible as Obama's impeachment. So we can expect higher taxes — on everyone, not just on the "rich," because taxing just the rich would only generate enough revenue to cover 10 percent of one year of an Obama deficit — and we can expect the economy to crash, just as Europe has already sunk back into recession.
I would dearly love to be proved wrong on that, but I can't see how the flock of flibbertygibbets currently running D.C. could muster the imagination and the political skill and fortitude to do what is necessary.
Things aren't very auspicious on the foreign policy front either: Syria's civil war, Iran likely to acquire nukes, a war developing between Israel and the Palestinian terrorists who run Gaza. In addition, the investigation of the 9/11/12 Benghazi debacle may well result in Obama's equivalent of the Iran-Contra scandal that clouded President Ronald Reagan's second term, as Congress seeks ever-elusive truthful answers from the Obama administration about what our ambassador and the CIA were doing in Benghazi.
No, I'm afraid neither Obama nor we are going to enjoy the next four years.
Jared Olar may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the newspaper.