Loose Canons

What’s at Stake Tomorrow

Just imagine where's we'll be in 2017 after a second Obama term.

By 11.5.12

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Tomorrow we go to the polls in the most important election of our lifetimes. If that seems an overstatement, the following should erase any doubt.

RealClearPolitics has the race essentially tied, with Obama leading by a hair. My favorite political guru -- Michael Barone -- has predicted a mini-landslide for Romney.

Whatever the result may be, the stakes could not be higher. Barack Obama's presidency has been totally partisan and intensely ideological. He has pushed everything he could touch radically leftward, changing America's course and the world's. If he is re-elected, that push will continue so effectively that whoever succeeds him in 2017 will discover that most of the damage done is irreparable. Consider just a few of the most important issues that the president -- be it Obama or Romney -- will decide.

Last week, Mad Dog Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate Majority Leader, said that it was "laughable" to think that liberal Senate Dems would work with a president Romney. Unless the Republicans take the Senate, nothing a President Romney offers will even come to a vote unless Romney can find a way around Reid. "Bipartisanship" is as easily corralled as a unicorn.

Our economy has to regain economic security, which means stability in the conditions that promote growth. We have not had that stability since at least 2006. In the six years since then, we've lost the historic rate of American economic growth, amounting to at least 15% of our GDP.

Economic security is impossible to achieve with a devout Keynesian in the White House. Obama believes that government is the most beneficial influence on our economy, and has proved that time and again with the "stimulus" that didn't create jobs and with Obamacare, which takes over 16% of our economy and does nothing to reduce the costs of health care. Obama has been obstinate in his refusal to even consider reforming some of the government programs that will bankrupt the nation, from Social Security and Medicare to his policies that thwart energy development. Obama's solution to our energy crisis is more global warming nonsense, from wind farms to electric cars.

In January, if Obama is re-elected, we will go over the economic cliff the Keynesians have built. Taxes will rise dramatically, causing -- as the Congressional Budget Office foretold last August -- a deep recession that will last for years. CBO's projections are really a best-case scenario because they include huge increases in government revenue despite the recession they predict. But tax revenues can't rise in a recession: the economy has to grow to produce the incomes that can be taxed and it won't if Obama is re-elected.

Obama's plans are to stand by and be sure that tax increases coming next year happen, and then seek more. In the third debate, he said that sequestration -- which will take an additional $600 billion out of the Pentagon's budget over ten years, totaling $1 trillion over that period when combined with the nearly $500 billion Obama has already cut -- won't happen. Which is nonsense. Obama has repeatedly threatened to veto any bill that stops sequestration to prevent defense cuts. The "grand bargain" he's talking about to avoid sequestration is something he won't agree to without massive tax hikes.

In short, the biggest thing at stake tomorrow is our economic future. With Obama, it will be dismal.

If Obama is re-elected, he will continue his brinksmanship on every bill to raise the federal debt limit, now over $16 trillion. House Republicans -- still lacking the courage to win a showdown by risking a government shutdown -- will quiver and quail and make more "if-then" budget deals. Those deals -- like last summer's "supercommittee" debacle -- always have the Republicans give in on something with an immediate effect, like the debt ceiling, in return for Democrats' promises to do something in the future which they have no intention of doing. The House may be able to stop some of Obama's proposals, but on the economy they will cave in unless the 2010 freshmen and other conservatives rebel. They haven't yet.

Our lack of economic security -- which is the predicate to national security -- means that rebuilding our national security is proportionally less possible as our economy declines. Obama's agenda forces both our economic security and our military security to diminish.

Our allies know this, as Israel has learned to its pain since Obama declared that he wanted more distance between us and our only ally in the Middle East. Our enemies know this, as Iran has in Obama's utter failure to stop or even slow its march toward obtaining nuclear weapons. Obama is in the process of abdicating America's superpower role in the world.

Few Americans cast their votes on the issues of national security and foreign policy. But consider this: what Obama has done so far can be repaired in the next four years. But if Obama is allowed to continue on his path of abdication and withdrawal, after another four years the world will have changed in ways his successor will find beyond his power to correct.

Iran will have nuclear weapons unless Israel undertakes a war which may cost the Jewish state its very life. Iran, and the other state sponsors of terrorism, will have gained advantages that will allow them to control the Middle East's oil. China will have built its power over the Pacific region to the degree that Japan and Taiwan will come under its thumb. India will be more isolated and Pakistan -- a nuclear-armed state sponsor of terrorism -- will grow in power.

America's military will shrink in size and -- more importantly -- in capability. We won't build the future weapons that will be necessary to deter or defeat our enemies abroad or craft the strategies to deter or defeat the threats we face. If Obama is re-elected, America's enemies will grow stronger as we grow weaker. At the end of Obama's second term, if there is one, the world will have changed to a degree that his successor won't be able to restore America's security for that reason and one more: without a strong and stable economy, American national security will become something we can't afford.

The most obvious risk in the election is the makeup of the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts' bizarre turnabout in the Obamacare case illustrates the Court's unpredictability. So far, Obama has appointed two ideological leftist Justices, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. They are young enough to serve for decades. But other justices are not. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the most liberal of the justices, is 79. Antonin Scalia, the intellectual leader of the Court's conservative wing, is 76 as is Anthony Kennedy, the moderate swing vote in so many cases. Stephen Breyer is 74.

What that means is that in the next four years, the president will likely have as many as four Supreme Court nominations to make. Those nominations -- ideologically committed liberals if Obama is reelected or, justices like Scalia and Thomas if Romney wins -- will determine the Court's direction for the next twenty or thirty years. If your biggest issue is abortion, gun control, the continued intrusion of government in every sector of our economy and in our private lives, the election will determine them for you.

So that, in a nutshell, is what's at stake tomorrow. Romney is clearly a better choice, even though his attempt to fix our economy may be thwarted by a Democratic Senate. We know what Obama will do, and neither we -- nor our allies -- can afford another four years of it.

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About the Author
Jed Babbin served as a Deputy Undersecretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush. He is the author of several bestselling books including Inside the Asylum and In the Words of Our Enemies. You can follow him on Twitter @jedbabbin.