With 53% of the vote, the elections of 2008 were sold to the American people under the simple yet powerful notion of CHANGE. They had just put into office the nation’s first black President, along with deeper Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate. The new President and his Democratic leadership read this resounding victory as a mandate for sweeping change, outlining a far-reaching agenda to fundamentally transform not just the direction of the country, but our essential economic and socio-cultural framework.
In the past two years we have seen a determined White House and overwhelming majorities in Congress chart that new course for our country. Unfortunately in our 24 hour new cycle, many developments simply get lost in the shuffle. So with the 2010 mid-term elections fast approaching, ThreeConservativeBros decided to compile a list of significant events that have occurred in the past 24 months. We determined these fifty stories were the most important for people to remember before going into the ballot box this November 2nd. Here they are in no specific order.
1. Closing Gitmo – In the run up to the 2008 Presidential election, then Senator Obama made Guantanamo Bay an integral part of his campaign. He promised that if elected he would close the detention facility within his first year in office. On January 22nd 2009, just two days after the inauguration, President Obama issued an executive order to close Gitmo within a year. In the President’s own words he issued the order to “restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great even in the midst of war, even in dealing with terrorism.” As of October 2010 Gitmo remains open with no closing date in sight. Here is the media’s take on why Gitmo has not been closed and most likely will not anytime soon.
2. President Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize – The Nobel Committee in Oslo Norway awarded President Obama with the Nobel Peace Prize back in October 2009. The Committee stated that Obama won the award “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” They added that they paid special attention to, “Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.” Here’s my analysis of Obama’s major foreign policy decisions up to that point. Here is the Whitehouse’s current version of their foreign policy accomplishments.
3. Missile Defense Systems, Nuclear Non-Proliferation & Disarmament – In September 2009, the Obama Administration decided to abandon the George W. Bush initiated long-range missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic in favor of a land and sea based system of sensors and interceptors focused on stopping shorter range missiles from Iran instead of Russia. Allegedly the Secretary of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mike Mullen recommended this policy change. Opponents believe this change was made to appease Russia, with whom we are counting on to help impose stricter sanctions on Iran.
The Obama Administration has made a clear push towards nuclear non-proliferation. In an April 2009 speech in Prague he outlined his vision for a nuclear free world. Per the Nobel Prize Commission, this vision was partially responsible for him winning the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2009. He reiterated this sentiment in his first official State of the Union Address in January 2010, and again at the 47 country Nuclear Security Summit in April 2010. Also in April 2010, he signed a treaty with Russia promising to reduce our nuclear stockpiles and allow our former Cold War adversary to verify our weapons caches.
4. The White House vs. Fox News – In October 2009, The Obama Administration took a hard line against the most popular cable news network, Fox News. Multiple times the administration publicly took issue with the network and commonly sent out officials to interview with all the major networks accept for Fox. This battle to marginalize Fox News culminated in an attempt to boycott the station and keep them out of routine round-robin press interviews with newly appointed pay czar Kenneth Feinberg. Luckily the rest of the news networks, ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC stoop up to the Whitehouse demanding that FNC be including in the rotation, a practice that has been going on for decades.
5. Honduras – In June 2009 Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, with the help of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, attempted to change the un-changeable articles of the Honduran Constitution to allow Zelaya to remain in power for unlimited terms, similar to the way Hugo Chavez had Venezuela’s laws changed to allow him to become President effectively for life. In response, Honduran citizens, Zelaya’s own political party, and the Honduran Supreme Court revolted against his clear attempt to turn the fledgling democracy into a Venezuelan style socialist state, ousting the would-be dictator from power and from the country. Inexplicably, the Obama Administration took the position against the Honduran people, their Supreme Court and their Congress and instead stood with the ousted President and Venezuelan co-conspirators, cutting off foreign aid and pulling visas from Hondurans unless Zelaya was restored to power. The administration finally came around to supporting our democratic ally nearly a year later, reinstating visas and foreign financial aid. Please note that Cuba, Venezuela and much of the European Union still blame Honduras for removing Zelaya from power, believes that the new President elected last November is illegitimate, and that foreign aid for the destitute country should still be curtailed.