Monday, our own Jennifer Rubin wrote a column called “The GOP Gets Off to a Bad Start.” Let’s take a look at the other side of the issue. It seems like our president-elect is keeping himself busy picking unnecessary fights. Is this the way Obama will conduct business with Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, or is it just a case of a new president finding his footing?
Obama vs. Pelosi/Green Machine vs. Jobs
On the Detroit bailout, Obama has hinted that he wants to make sure the money goes to retooling for clean, fuel efficient cars. Just like the original $25 billion Department of Energy bill was supposed to do. Nancy Pelosi is most worried about the UAW and jobs and would probably pump fresh blood into an entire city of the dead to save a single union job. So it looks like Obama and Pelosi are going to clash — and soon. Some reports indicate that GM will be down to its minimum operating cash before the end of the year — and that would make Chapter 11 all but a foregone conclusion. Detroit needs cash, but for what? The Obama Plan or the Pelosi Plan?
Obama vs. Southern Democrats on Guns
Obama is also gearing up for a fight with southern Democrats. After being mostly silent on guns during the campaign, Obama’s Web site has recently added or restored language indicating the return of the “assault weapons ban” on scary-looking rifles. Southern Democrats paid with their jobs for Clinton’s ban back in 1994. You might expect the new Blue Dog Dems to join hands and sing Kumbaya with House and Senate Republicans to block a new Scary Looking Rifles Law.
Obama vs. Republicans
OK, so maybe this item is no real shocker, but it still seems a little early in the game for Mr. Post Partisan to be dissing Republicans. And yet, Obama has already soiled relations with the GOP, thanks to leaks from his meeting with President Bush on Monday. Obama might just give us the most ethical administration ever — I mean, anything can happen. But it’s already shaping up to be the most indiscrete. If Obama wants to reach across the aisle, that’s great. He just shouldn’t do so with a joy buzzer in his hand.
Obama vs. Europe
Speaking of indiscretion, Obama doesn’t seem to have a clue on how to treat American allies. During the primary race, he threatened to crack down on major threats like Canada — a position he probably/maybe/sort of backed off from in backdoor talks with the Canadian government. In Europe, Obama is already to the left of most every major EU leader. Then last week, Obama told Poland one thing about missile defense in private and told Russia quite another thing in public. In other words, he’s doing his best to spoil relations with Poland, which will have repercussions throughout Eastern Europe, too. Our allies have got to wonder where Obama stands. I think we all do.
Obama vs. Everybody (Eventually) on Taxes
Obama promised to raise taxes only on the lower-upper class on up. Then we got hints that taxes would go up for the upper middle class, too. And now we’re learning that Team Obama has plans to raise taxes on people who do evil things like own cars. Or just drive them. Which by my count is … pretty much everybody.
More ominously, unless we get middle class entitlement reform out of the Democrats, then eventually everybody’s taxes are going up. Way up. And “eventually” comes closer every year, as the Baby Boomers have begun to retire and place new financial strains on our retirement and health care transfer-payment systems. Alternately, Washington can give us a big round of inflation — a hidden tax which will do for your 401(k)… what Washington has already done to your 401(k).
So it’s true — Obama really is bringing people together. He’s bringing them together … against Barack Obama. While it’s true that Republicans got off on the wrong foot this week and last, so did Obama. And if he keeps it up, then the Republicans might not be the minority party for too very much longer.