2016: An American Watershed

Member Group : Jerry Shenk

In view of our listless economy, joblessness, illegal intrusions on our southern border, soaring health coverage costs, chaotic foreign policy and national security threats, arguably, the outcome of the 2016 presidential election will be the most critical for America’s well-being in thirty-six years.

Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were elected during the end of or following the Cold War. Barack Obama’s presidency began at a time when Iraq was at least stabilized, the Middle East largely quiet and terrorist threats to the homeland were minimized.

Clinton received a Cold War peace dividend and, by withdrawing American troops from Iraq, Obama anticipated another.

But Obama has overseen a Cold War revival and destabilization of much of North Africa, Asia and the Middle East, including Iraq and Afghanistan. Since Obama opened our southern border, evidence of disease, cartel activity and terrorist infiltration has been uncovered. Even the president’s national security and intelligence teams warn of homeland threats by ISIS/ISIL, an al-Qaeda offshoot.

Obama belatedly launched a bombing campaign against ISIS/ISIL, which controls large areas of Iraq and Syria, and against another Syrian al-Qaeda faction which Obama said represents an "imminent" threat to Westerners.

Yet, since 2011, Obama has insisted that al-Qaeda is "decimated" and "on the run."

Obama’s conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and the residual effects of policy errors in Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan will outlive his presidency, as will China’s ambitions in the South China Sea and Pacific.

But, there’s more.
The number of Americans employed today is lower than when Obama took office, poverty and food stamp use is way up and household income continues to decline while America’s debt, burdening future generations, has grown by three-quarters. Income inequality has increased during Obama’s tenure.
Obamacare has raised the cost of health insurance and diminished access to care.
There’s unresolved corruption and dysfunction at government agencies like the IRS and Veterans Administration.

There was nothing in Barack Obama’s meager background to indicate he would be an effective president. He isn’t, so his successor will have to clean up after Obama, his team and his party in Congress – if that’s possible.

America hasn’t yet identified candidates who are obvious political vehicles for rediscovering, re-expressing and rejuvenating the American people’s native optimism and common sense.

It may take a sitting governor, because, including more congressional novices, there are no clearly-evident presidential prospects in Washington DC, where Hillary Clinton has been a fixture for more than two decades.

Candidate Hillary Clinton may wish to distance herself from Obama’s foreign policy blunders, but some of the worst – Russia, Syria, Libya/Benghazi – implicate her. Secretary Clinton cannot escape responsibility for four feckless years at State.

Another "birthright" candidate, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, hasn’t run for public office in more than twelve years.

The Bush and Clinton "legacies" survive among establishment insiders seeking their return to the public trough. A Jeb/Hillary matchup would feature families who helped to create America’s problems.

The nation needs renewal, not regression.

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