Obama’s abysmal legacy: Eight incompetent years?

From the Veterans to Obamacare to the IRS to Benghazi and more, Mr. Obama seems intent on having words like “disaster” and “incompetence” become synonymous with all eight years of his presidency

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Obama: From 'hope' to 'failure'?
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Taylor Dibbert
On 17 June 2014 08:04

Things still aren’t going well for Mr. Obama. As a result, Americans and people throughout the world continue to suffer.

The Veterans Affairs (VA) scandal is appalling, and it would be naive to think that Mr. Obama will be able to turn things around. Indeed, his administration is now plagued by a plethora of scandals that are unlikely to go away before he leaves office. From the VA to Obamacare to the IRS to Benghazi and more, Mr. Obama seems intent on having words like “disaster” and “incompetence” become synonymous with all eight years of his presidency.

The speech that Mr. Obama gave at West Point last month on foreign policy was supposed to be “big.” Yet it’s unclear how anyone in his administration could’ve thought the speech would have gone down well. No new ideas or constructive policy initiatives were presented and people from all corners found it a disappointment.

Barring some unforeseen dramatic changes, Obama’s West Point speech simply confirmed that the president will leave behind an abysmal foreign affairs legacy.

Mr. Obama is still long on talk and short on meaningful action. Events in the Middle East continue to worsen as Washington embraces its role as an inept cheerleader. (A residual force in Iraq is looking pretty good right about now). In Afghanistan, the president is again cowering to domestic politics and the allure of hard deadlines by announcing that all US troops will be gone by the end of 2016.

Mr. Obama is so busy trying to finish wars that he’s forgotten what victory might look like. More focused on using clichés and straw man arguments in speeches, he’s forgotten that Washington used to lead instead of making excuses for its new role on the sidelines of world affairs.

The Bowe Bergdahl-Taliban prisoner swap also serves as a telling example of the president’s isolation and arrogance. The Obama administration has given an array of reasons for why it decided to do what it did – almost as if Obama’s inner circle was searching for the story the public finds most palatable.

Mr. Obama isn’t content to irritate virtually all Republican lawmakers. Quite evidently, he’d rather antagonize Democrats as well. Aside from the dubious strategic rationale underpinning the exchange, the president didn’t inform congress about the prisoner swap – but that shouldn’t be viewed as such a surprise. Mr. Obama still believes that he’s so charismatic, special and intelligent that the law doesn’t apply to him; he’s just that great.

The prisoner exchange is another reminder that the president’s foreign policy is guided by dangerous mix of naiveté, arrogance and myopia. Forget ups and downs, team Obama has now put amateur hour on autopilot.

Both at home and abroad, Mr. Obama’s approval ratings are in the tank. The damage Mr. Obama has done will be felt years after he leaves office, which brings us to the 2016 race for the presidency.

Hillary Clinton recently began a book tour to promote her memoir recounting her time as America’s top diplomat under Mr. Obama’s watch. Ms. Clinton obviously has an agenda and has already emerged as the clear frontrunner for 2016.

Some people have already mentioned that since Ms. Clinton has devoted an entire chapter of her book to Benghazi, she’s probably hoping to put that scandal to rest before her presidential campaign gets underway. That may be true and Ms. Clinton would bring plenty of baggage to a presidential race, but that doesn’t get to the heart of the matter. If Ms. Clinton were to run, the presidency of Barack Obama would be her biggest handicap – not Benghazi or anything else.

She’ll want to put significant distance between herself and Mr. Obama. Her book tour could serve as an ideal platform to start that process and ensure that she won’t take the blame for failed policies that were not her own.

Only time will tell how much Ms. Clinton can make Mr. Obama sweat. Bring on those book signings.

Taylor Dibbert is an international consultant based in Washington, D.C. and the author of the book Fiesta of Sunset: The Peace Corps, Guatemala and a Search for Truth

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