ON SECOND THOUGHT: Obama’s Policy Errors In 2015

Frank Vernuccio2015’s Major Policy Errors

by Frank V. Vernuccio, Jr., J.D.

Every year has its share of bad policies, incidents of poor judgment, and significant missteps by government, the media, and other centers of power. However, 2015 had more than the usual amount of extremely serious errors.


“The Shadow of the Crisis of Terrorism has passed.” – President Obama, 2015 State of the Union Address. Throughout 2015, it became increasingly clear that the White House had lost its grip on reality concerning the threat of terrorism. The statement continued a woeful record of stunning missteps in the Administration’s Middle East policy, including the President’s “Apology tour,” support for the pro-extremist “Arab Spring” movements, the alienation of close ally Israel, and the one-sided Iran nuclear deal which has already been dishonored by Tehran. The stunning lack of perception or concern was repeated by Mr. Obama shortly before the San Bernardino attack, when he again stated his belief that the U.S. was not in immediate danger, and in its aftermath when the President, in a rare Oval Office address, essentially claimed his policies were working and instead issued comments concentrating on his beliefs about anti-Moslem bias and stock comments on gun ownership. Adding to the problem has been the unilateral nature of the White House’s actions in  Mideast matters. The Senate has largely been denied its’ rightful role in foreign affairs, particularly in the Iran nuclear deal, through the Administrations’ continuing tactic of labelling treaties—which the Constitution mandates Senate approval for—as agreements, or other labels.


“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” It turns out there wasn’t any wrongdoing by the police in Ferguson in this incident, but that didn’t stop left-wing spokespersons and racial profiteers from using it as an excuse to gin up support for progressive candidates and issues throughout the nation. The Black Lives Matter movement has become a major source of disruption throughout the U.S., setting back years of improvement in racial relations. Police have become targets.  While isolated incidents of police misconduct undoubtedly exist, the portrayal of American law enforcement as having major problems with bigotry is patently false. The shameful conduct of the U.S. Justice Department, which has exhibited a shoot first, ask questions later in its actions targeting police officers and exploiting incidents, real and otherwise, for political purposes, is a textbook example of unprofessionalism.

White House continues to stonewall Benghazi investigation. “What does it matter.”– Hillary Clinton in testimony before Congress, January 23, 2013. Hillary Clinton certainly wishes the Benghazi incident be forgotten, but the evidence became increasingly clear in 2015 that the State Department acted inappropriately and possibly illegally before and throughout the attack on the U.S. facility that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and operatives Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods on September 11, 2012. In 2015, A number of sources indicated that the State Department was running guns out of Benghazi to forces opposing Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad. Although the cause may have been worthy, those forces appear to be associated with Islamic extremists, who are even more eager to attack Americans. Providing weapons to them is forbidden by federal law and punishable by very substantial prison terms.  It’s no wonder Ms. Clinton is eager to put the incident behind her. Making matters even worse, it’s clear, based on emails obtained by Judicial Watch at the end of 2015 as a result of a Freedom of Information lawsuit, that the U.S. military was ready, willing, and fully capable of mounting a rescue mission, but was told to stand down by the State Department. The outright lies that came from both the White House and the State Department about the role of a video continued to force Americans to doubt the integrity of both the White House and the State Department throughout 2015.


The Paris Climate Agreement. Whether one believes in man-made global warming or doubts human activity plays much of a role at all, the Paris Climate Agreement was a mistake.

First, of course, there is that familiar Obama Administration problem—calling an important international treaty an “agreement” in order to avoid the Constitutional role of the Senate.  You don’t have to be a Republican to see the issue here.  Presidents are not the whole government—the Founding Fathers set up three branches of government in order to prevent anyone from gaining excessive power. Mr. Obama has consistently run roughshod over that safeguard.

Second, if one agrees with the concept of global warming, the Paris Agreement does not go far enough to make any significant difference in deterring future warming, while costing upwards of $100 billion, and jeopardizing the economic health of developed nations by mandating the substantial reduction of some energy sources long before any truly effective substitutes can be found.  If one disagrees with the concept of man-made global warming, then the intentional refusal to consider the views of a significant percentage of the scientific community, along with the numerous reports of falsified data and politically-motivated warping of research by warming theory advocates makes this deal an insult to the whole concept of the scientific process. And there is this: A number of astronomers specializing in studying the sun maintain that for the next half century or so, global cooling, not warming, may be the biggest challenge to our environment.


Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy & Government

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