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Obama’s post-election surprises: Holder, Bergdahl, immigration and Keystone

Written By | Oct 21, 2014

WASHINGTON, October 21, 2014 — The latest polls suggest the Republicans are poised to take control of the Senate and adding to their majority in the House. In order to minimize the negative impacts for Democrats, President Obama is delaying public announcements on many decisions he has already made. He is also delaying the release of some findings. His hope is that the delay will aid Democrats, perhaps to offset some of the recent harmful comments he made.

Most Democrats running in close elections have distanced themselves from the unpopular President and his increasingly unpopular policies. The President may have harmed these candidates when he said that his policies are on the ballot and, more recently, when he said that even if he is not directly campaigning, the candidates support his agenda.

To avoid further harm, he has delayed the release of critical information.

For instance, the President has likely selected a replacement for Attorney General Holder who recently resigned. He will delay his selection announcement until after the election because he knows his choice for attorney general will further his agenda but will be unpopular with the electorate. And he knows he will have to seek Senate approval in the lame duck session before the newly elected Senators are sworn into office.

The US army has completed its investigation into the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange, according to the San Antonio News Express. Since this exchange represents the first time in US history that that senior commanders of an active enemy were released during war time and since it appears that Bergdahl deserted, the findings will probably show how wrong this exchange was for the security of the American people. So, rather than further damaging the Democratic brand prior to the election, Obama will wait to release the findings.

The President has vowed to take action on immigration by using executive orders so that he can implement policies that may please his base but will surely be opposed by the majority of Americans. One recently released report says that he has already ordered millions of green cards and work permits for a plan he will make public right after the elections.

Then there is the issue of the Keystone pipeline which will transport oil from Canada to the refineries in the US. Every state which will see the pipeline pass through it, favors the approval of the pipeline as do the majority of Americans.  Again Obama will delay releasing his decision on the approval until after the elections, knowing that approval will infuriate his base and perhaps keep them away from the polls.  In a tight election, he needs a strong turnout from his base to have any hope of avoiding a Republican landslide.

How about Obamacare premium notices?

They were supposed to be released on October 1st.  Yet because the premium increases will be larger than he promised and because about 700,000 of the 8 million newly insured Americans will lose the plan that they selected, Obama delayed any announcement until after the election. The Affordable Care Act which continues to be unpopular with the majority of Americans will be even more problematic for the Democratic base once these new rates are made public. This announcement, prior to the election, could reduce the turnout for his party.

Considering the Ebola problem, the President says that a travel ban is being considered. He may have already made up his mind to put the ban in place but he refuses to announce that, until after the election.  He knows his base does not favor the ban, although the polls show that the majority of Americans do.

While all past Presidents realized the political implications of decisions, Obama is the first president who seems to place politics above the welfare of Americans. The consistent delay of information only serves to increase the distrust that Americans now have for government.  While candidate Obama promised openness, honesty and transparency as well as promising to take actions that benefit the middle class, President Obama is secretive, less than truthful and hides what he doesn’t want Americans to know. And his policies seem to benefit a small minority while clobbering the rest of us.  That’s a heck of a way to run a freedom oriented Democracy.

Michael Busler

Michael Busler, Ph.D. is a public policy analyst and a Professor of Finance at Stockton University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Finance and Economics. He has written Op-ed columns in major newspapers for more than 35 years.