By Jeffrey Lord
As always, the progressive utopia sounds just ducky. Utopia arrives. And then…shocker!…it doesn’t work. Now? Americans have soured on President Obama — and progressives are in the dock.
One poll after another says Americans are a pretty unhappy lot this election year, and are set Tuesday to deliver a smackdown of some considerable size to the president’s party. But why? Let’s review, beginning with this famous passage from Obama’s speech the night in 2008 that he clinched the Democratic nomination:
America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love.
The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth. This was the moment—this was the time—when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.
Well. How has this worked out? Let’s go through ten events from the last six years:
1. Obamacare: After failing to get 60 votes in the Senate to pass a government takeover of the health care system, the progressives resorted to a parliamentary ruse and passed it in a budget reconciliation bill. Obamacare became the law of the land. And the results? Millions of Americans in the individual insurance market had their plans canceled , and costs are skyrocketing. As noted  in U.S. News and World Report just last month, “if you like your plan you still can’t keep it”:
There’s a bizarre reason why millions of Americans saw their health insurance plans cancelled in 2013 — and as explained in a new video  put out by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, millions more will lose their plans in years to come.
Insurance coverage for Americans will remain in permanent turmoil because the Affordable Care Act requires all plans to fit within four cookie-cutter designs called “metallic tiers.” (The tiers — bronze, silver, gold and platinum — refer to the percentage of medical expenses a particular plan pays.) The video  also notes that families may have to change plans repeatedly because, as circumstances change, a plan that fits within a tier one year may not fit in any tier a later year.
2. Immigration: Last week two California sheriff’s deputies were shot to death  by an illegal immigrant who had previously been deported — twice. In a Mexican jail sits Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi, imprisoned  for months for making a wrong turn into Mexico. Illegal immigrants continue to pour across a virtually unguarded open border, and thousands of children who here illegally were distributed throughout the country. The president is potentially poised, according to the head of the union for border patrol agents, to issue an executive order granting amnesty to millions of illegals.
3. The IRS: Congressional investigations have revealed that IRS official Lois Lerner — who has pleaded the Fifth Amendment — was spearheading an IRS effort to attack and harass conservative Tea Party groups and their organizers. Now comes the revelation  that the IRS has been confiscating the bank accounts of small businesses with no evidence of a crime having been committed under civil asset forfeiture laws.
4. Veterans Administration: As widely reported — here  at CNN — as many as 1,000 veterans may have died from receiving bad care, no care, or late care in the hopelessly bureaucratic VA. Reports CNN:
The report aggregates government investigations and media reports to trace a history of fraudulent scheduling practices, budget mismanagement, insufficient oversight and lack of accountability that have led to the current controversy plaguing the VA.
The VA has admitted that 23 patients have died because of delayed care in recent years, but the report, titled “Friendly Fire: Death, Delay, and Dismay at the VA,” shows many more patient deaths have been linked to systemic issues affecting VA hospitals and clinics throughout the U.S.
5. Stimulus: As always with progressives, the solution to all things economic is more government spending. Thus the $800 billion “stimulus” — aka the “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.” As noted  in the New York Post in 2012 by Michael Grabell, a reporter for ProPublica and author of Money Well Spent? The Truth Behind the Trillion-Dollar Stimulus, the Biggest Economic Recovery Plan in History:
[T]he stimulus ultimately failed to do what America expected it to do — bring about a strong, sustainable recovery. The drop kick was shanked.
The stimulus was supposed to work like this: First, a flood of money in tax cuts, food stamps and unemployment checks would get consumers spending. A deluge of education and health-care money would stanch the bleeding in state budgets.
Then, a wave of “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects would kick in, creating new jobs repaving roads and making homes more energy efficient. As the economy got churning again, new investments in wind farms, solar panel factories, electric cars, broadband and high-speed rail would lead America out of the recession and into a 21st century economy competitive with the rest of the world.
But it didn’t happen like that.
6. The National Debt: When President Obama was sworn in — after a campaign in which he attacked George Bush as “unpatriotic” and “irresponsible” for adding $4 trillion to the debt in eight years — the nation’s debt stood at $10,626,877,048,913.08. As reported  by CNS news: “As of Jan. 31, 2014, the latest day reported, the debt was $17,293,019,654,983.61—an increase of $6,666,142,606,070.53 since Obama’s first inauguration.” No word on whether the Obama White House considers this “unpatriotic” or “irresponsible.”
7. Jobs: The October jobs report from the Department of Labor showed  the lowest labor participation rate since 1978. When, not coincidentally, Jimmy Carter’s progressive economics held the nation in its grips.
8. Ebola: On September 16, 2014, President Obama told  the nation:
First and foremost, I want the American people to know that our experts, here at the CDC and across our government, agree that the chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low. We’ve been taking the necessary precautions, including working with countries in West Africa to increase screening at airports so that someone with the virus doesn’t get on a plane for the United States. In the unlikely event that someone with Ebola does reach our shores, we’ve taken new measures so that we’re prepared here at home. We’re working to help flight crews identify people who are sick, and more labs across our country now have the capacity to quickly test for the virus. We’re working with hospitals to make sure that they are prepared, and to ensure that our doctors, our nurses and our medical staff are trained, are ready, and are able to deal with a possible case safely.
Not a word of this turned out to be true.
9. ISIS: Obama Secretary of Defense and ex-CIA Director Leon Panetta says the President rejected the advice of his national security team to deal quickly with the Islamic State — ISIS. As noted  here in the Daily Mail:
Obama now stands widely accused of standing by while ISIS, the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, established a base of operations in eastern Syria and threatened to overthrow Assad, while simultaneously marching across more than half of Iraq.
10. Iraq: Panetta also said Obama ignored advice from his military advisers to leave a sizable bloc of U.S. troops in Iraq to prevent exactly what has now occurred — the appearance of Islamic fundamentalists intent on setting up an Islamic state.
There’s more here. The Fast and Furious gun running scandal that wound up taking the life of U.S. Border Patrol officer Brian Terry. The refusal to confront the reality of Islamic radicalism, terming the mass shootings of Major Nidal Hassan at Ft. Hood as “work place violence” and renaming  the war on terror a “overseas contingency operation.” The repeated playing of the race card, from refusing to investigate the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation to making it difficult for the Hispanic George Zimmerman to receive a fair trial in the Trayvon Martin case or playing to the race-baiting Al Sharpton. And don’t forget the “red line” in Syria. Or the Ukraine, where Vladimir Putin ignored  Obama’s warnings that “The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.” Putin invaded the Crimea and is still there. All of this before we get to climate change, the EPA and the “war on coal” — not to mention the bogus “war on women.”
The latest national experiment with progressivism has been tried — again — and it has produced the inevitable failures. The president’s ratings are in the toilet, Democrats across the country have so soured on him they are fleeing any identification with him as if he were Ebola personified, some refusing to even say they once voted for the man.
But this next election will be about much more than the persona of Barack Obama. It will be a verdict on the progressive experiment. Are Americans getting it yet? Do they understand the connection between progressive beliefs and the rise in their health care costs and the loss of their insurance policies? Do they understand why exactly so many millions of Americans are not participating in the economy? Or what happens when you waste $800 billion and raise the debt by over $6 trillion?
Come this Tuesday, to borrow a legal expression, Barack Obama and the policies of the progressive movement are in the dock. The results of those policies are in. What’s the verdict? Stay tuned.
By Jeffrey Lord for The American Spectator
By permission The American Spectator
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author.