27 September 2009

Obama Pushes Domestic Agenda, Drops the Wartime Ball

Today on Fox News Sunday, Senator Feinstein made an interesting assertion regarding President Obama’s desire to take weeks to consider how best to handle the war in Afghanistan. This careful consideration comes six months after announcing a change in tactics. But that was March, this is September. Mr. Obama seems to have taken his eyes off of Afghanistan – the “good war” we are told – to push his statist domestic policy. Consideration of Mr. Obama’s focus brings out an interesting observation.

Some things, some issues are truly urgent. Having the right strategy at the right time is crucial to winning a war. Regardless of political stripes, everyone should have gained that insight from the Iraq War. When the upper reaches of the chain of command outline a strategy for the Commander in Chief, he really ought to take it to heart. Instead, Mr. Obama seems to be content to bicker around a conference table. On some issues then, the debate is not over; the time to bicker has not ended. The time to act is not now. I wonder if the generals will have a seat at the beer conference when the new, new strategy is settled.

But for folks like Mr. Obama and Senator Feinstein, taking a number of weeks to stew over strategy – even though the generals have a plan they would like to implement – is the responsible, level-headed thing to do. The fight in theater goes on, though. And while it might be tempting to call Mr. Obama’s feet dragging a “rope-a-dope,” that would indicate that he plans on punching back at some point in order to win. But very little seems to be urgent to Mr. Obama when it comes to foreign policy.

Not so when it comes to domestic policy. The public is told over and over (and over) that economic stimulus, health care reform, and going “green” are all of such urgent import that no further debate is needed, no time for consideration can be taken, indeed no time to read legislation can be spared. The time to act, we are told with feverishly increasing urgency, is always now. The government, we are told, must act, must save us from – well, better just save us. It appears that is the goal of Mr. Obama’s administration: to save the American electorate via government intervention.

It would be prudent if folks who have a voice in the political realm would ask and answer what the proper role of the federal government is. Is it the government’s role to push domestic spending and balloon bureaucracy so as to “save” the electorate? Or is it the government’s role to train, equip, and field the military so as to meet national defense objectives? Where should the federal government focus its attention?

I don’t suspect that these questions will be asked or answered any time before the 2010 elections, at least not in the wider media – the supposed “mainstream” media. But for the individual, here is something to ponder now: How much government intervention are you willing to have in your life? It seems to me that the less the federal government focuses on “fixing” what it feels is wrong with my little world, the more it can focus on defending America from those who would do it irreparable harm – and that would be more its right and proper role.

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