Thursday, October 30, 2008

How Much Damage Can A President Do?

I suppose a lot of people thinking of voting for Obama assume that there is only so much that a president can do, so he is unlikely to do that much harm. Yet history shows that this isn't the case, the last time that the Democrats were as powerful as they will be if Obama wins was from 1965 to 1969 under Lyndon Johnson.

The measures he enacted in that period caused damage that lasted for decades. The explosive growth of crime in the United States more or less began with his creation of a vast welfare state and pro criminal activism from a liberal supreme court. By my back of an envelope estimate*, the explosion in homicide rates from the start of Johnson's "War on Poverty" up until welfare reform was passed 30 years later left around 200000 Americans dead. That's around 50 times as many Americans as have died in an actual war in Iraq.

Obama's voting record on crime suggests that he too is likely to to enact pro criminal legislation:
his eight-year voting record in the Illinois Senate shows the Democrat was on occasion an agent of isolation who took stands - particularly on anti-crime legislation - that put him to the left of his own party.

Mr. Obama was the only member of the state Senate to vote against a bill to prohibit the early release of convicted criminal sexual abusers; was among only four who voted against bills to toughen criminal sentences and to increase penalties for "gangbangers" and dealers of Ecstasy; and voted "present" on a bill making it harder for abusive parents to regain custody of their children, a Washington Times review of Illinois legislative records shows.

Incidentally was anyone surprised to see that the man arrested for the massacre of actress Jennifer Hudson's family in Chicago should have been in prison at the time of the crime?

Obama is going to have big majorities in both houses of congress for at least two years, and will have the ability to cause lasting damage to his country. Seeing as how he isn't even a Clinton style centrist this is an opportunity he is likely to pursue. At least the press will keep a critical eye on him or a slobbering tongue on his backside.

* Assuming that the murder rate was an average of 3 per 100000 higher over that 30 year period and the US population averaged about 220 million in that period this makes the total number of excess homicides around 200000 (3 * 2200 * 30).


spot_the_dog said...

"Obama is going to have big majorities in both houses of congress for at least two years, and will have the ability to cause lasting damage to his country."

Very good point, Ross. The damage he can do is not limited to just 4 (or 8) years. Thomas Sowell has an article just out which sort of ties in with your post, so I thought I'd pass it on. It starts,

One of the biggest and most long-lasting "change" to expect if Barack Obama becomes President of the United States is in the kinds of federal judges he appoints. These include Supreme Court justices, as well as other federal justices all across the country, all of whom will have lifetime tenure.

Senator Obama has stated very clearly what kinds of Supreme Court justices he wants— those with "the empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old."

Like so many things that Obama says, it may sound nice if you don't stop and think— and chilling if you do stop and think. Do we really want judges who decide cases based on who you are, rather than on the facts and the law?

Judicial activism is something which really worries me, and can have such long-ranging consequences. We can vote Obama out in 4 years, but not his judicial appointments...

Ross said...

Yes I read Sowell's column and he is right.