Remember this blast from the past — in fact, from four years ago today? Then-Senator Barack Obama blasted George W. Bush for adding $4 trillion to the national debt and spending from the “Bank of China” during Bush’s two terms in office, calling it “unpatriotic.” Obama repeatedly promised during that campaign to cut the deficits in half to slow down the rapid expansion of national debt. Obama used the “Bank of China” slam a number of times during the campaign, but the “unpatriotic” comment got added especially for Independence Day in 2008:
The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents – #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.
The RNC certainly remembers this attack — and they’re featuring it in a new ad this week. While Bush added $4 trillion in eight years, Obama has added $5 trillion in just over three — and deficits will remain over the Bush-era deficits for the next several years in Obama’s own budget projections:
But don’t worry — after the election, I’m sure, Obama will pivot to deficit reduction. No, wait, he’ll pivot to jobs and the economy, and then deficit reduction. Actually, Obama isn’t pivoting to any of these after the election, according to Marc Ambinder in GQ. Instead, he’s pivoting to … the War on Drugs?
According to ongoing discussions with Obama aides and associates, if the president wins a second term, he plans to tackle another American war that has so far been successful only in perpetuating more misery: the four decades of The Drug War.
So what will he do about the War on Drugs? Like so many of Obama’s other pivots … nothing:
Don’t expect miracles. There is very little the president can do by himself. And pot-smokers shouldn’t expect the president to come out in favor of legalizing marijuana. But from his days as a state senator in Illinois, Obama has considered the Drug War to be a failure, a conflict that has exacerbated the problem of drug abuse, devastated entire communities, changed policing practices for the worse, and has led to a generation of young children, disproportionately black and minority, to grow up in dislocated homes, or in none at all. …
Beyond that, since the United States isn’t about to legalize or regulate the illegal narcotics markets, the best thing a president can do may be what Obama winds up doing if he gets re-elected: using the bully pulpit to draw attention to the issue.
But he won’t do so before November.
In other words, just like on deficit reduction, Obama will be all talk. And while I agree with Ambinder that the War on Drugs has been a dangerous, liberty-restricting flop, it’s hardly the most pressing issue on the table for most voters, nor for the fiscal health of the country. One candidate defined having those priorities as patriotic. I guess that was just talk, too.