The wipeout of Obama’s legacy

“As much as Obama and Democrats are to blame, the shrinking of Obama’s legacy isn’t entirely their fault. A good bit is the result of Trump’s success and canny choice of issues. On foreign policy, does anyone want to return to the days of appeasing North Korea?”

From The Weekly Standard:

President Obama’s legacy is rapidly vanishing. The decision by President Trump to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran is the biggest blow, but it’s only the latest. The elimination of the individual mandate and canceling the yearly bailout of insurance companies have left Obamacare in a precarious condition. Young immigrants whose parents brought them to the United States unlawfully — so-called dreamers — are losing their legal status.

This is historic. Presidents often vow to wipe out big chunks of their predecessor’s legacies. President Eisenhower was going to take on the New Deal. Ronald Reagan targeted the Great Society. Both backed down. Trump, working with congressional Republicans, hasn’t. He’s eager to deflate Obama’s standing and inflate his own.

Obama and Democrats have made Trump’s efforts surprisingly easy. Obama, you’ll recall, succeeded brilliantly in the first two years of his presidency when Democrats controlled Congress. But once Republicans held the House, Senate, or both over the next six years, he ignored Capitol Hill as much as possible. He spared himself the unpleasantness of compromising with Republicans and instead governed by executive orders and regulations.

Decisions taken by the president alone are vulnerable to being erased by subsequent presidents. And that’s what happened to the pact with Iran. It wasn’t a treaty ratified by the Senate. Democrats used the filibuster to block even a nonbinding vote on it. Trump killed the deal with his signature. That was also all it took to quit the Paris accord on global warming.

There were two factors behind Obama’s decision to shun a treaty, which requires a two-thirds vote in the Senate. Winning that lopsided a vote appeared to be impossible. On the other hand, Obama had a backup — Hillary Clinton. She was expected to win the presidency in 2016 and could be relied on to protect the nuclear agreement.

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