Barack Obama has worked hard to portray himself as better than your average politician—as someone who would fundamentally change the way Washington works.
But every once in a while Barack Obama reveals his true self: a cynical political operator who is willing to hide his agenda from the American people in order to get elected. Yesterday was one of those times. A live microphone caught it all.
“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved, but it’s important for [incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin] to give me space,” Obama explained to outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev.
“This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility,” he promised.
More flexibility for what? Caving to the Russians against the will of the American people?
Sacrificing national security to be more popular on the world stage.
Obama’s intent is clear: “Things will be different after November. But if I tell you what I really think now, I might lose the election.”
How depressingly cynical. How contemptuous of those he wants to re-elect him.
It begs the question: What other plans does he have for a second term that he isn’t advertising? What exactly would Flexible Obama do?
Really, let’s hope we never find out. But from Obama’s previous random acts of candidness, we can make a few guesses.
1. He’ll raise taxes. On everyone. According to an account in Noam Schreiber’s The Escape Artist, President Obama was “intrigued by [the] elegance” of allowing all of the Bush tax cuts to expire, when the idea was proposed by Peter Orszag in 2009.
In 2010, President Obama said he is “agnostic” about raising taxes on those making less than $250,000.
And last year, he said this at a press briefing: “Nobody’s looking to raise taxes right now. We’re talking about potentially 2013 and the out-years.”
Barack Obama loves spending. And he loves taxes. Re-election has thus far restrained him from taxing to this extreme. But Flexible Obama might just do it. He doesn’t even have to lift a finger to make it happen. Taxes will automatically increase if he fails to act.
2. He’ll cap and tax. At a San Francisco campaign event last month, President Obama promised he was “going to deal with climate change in a serious way.” Code to his most liberal supporters: Cap-and-trade is back!
Good news for his special interest friends. Bad news for the economy.
3. He’ll unleash the EPA. Earlier this year, Obama blocked the EPA from imposing a costly new environmental regulation on businesses. But he told angry EPA Director Lisa Jackson that she could reassess the regulation in 2013…after the election.
Sounds like he was asking the EPA for a little “space” now in exchange for some “flexibility” later.
(It’s worth remembering the regulation in question would be the “single most expensive environmental regulation everimposed on the U.S. economy,” according to the Business Roundtable.)
4. He’ll downgrade us. Again. The credit rating agency Fitch has warned that unless the U.S. comes up with a “credible plan” for deficit reduction, we can expect a credit downgrade in
2013. Since President Obama isn’t known for credible deficit reduction plans, a downgrade seems inevitable. It would be the second downgrade under Obama—and the second in U.S. history.
The stock market won’t like that.
5. He’ll abandon Israel. Flashback to another hot mic. This time with French President Sarkozy. Obama lamented that he had to “deal with” Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu “everyday” and commiserated with Sarkozy who said, “I cannot bear Netanyahu. He’s a liar.”
It doesn’t sound like Flexible Obama would be too keen on working with our number one ally.
The list goes on—as I argued in my op-ed, “Obama’s Unthinkable 2013 Agenda.”
So, let’s send a message that the American people don’t want to be duped by a false icon preaching false hope.
Let’s honor the president’s request. In November, let’s give him some “space.” There should be plenty of it on the golf course.
With a Republican president in office, he’ll have the flexibility to practice his swing all day long. And America will never have to see his hidden agenda.