- - Monday, May 7, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Composing a laundry list of achievements is a big job for any former president of the United States, but few of Barack Obama’s predecessors had Donald Trump at work erasing their footprints. Thanks to the Donald’s relentless counter agenda, the legacy that the Democratic star plans to earn cash and credit for in his coming memoir will be little more than a memory by the time his book reaches the printer.

Mr. Obama’s proudest accomplishment, the Iran Nuclear Deal, could soon be history as his successor mulls whether to withdraw the United States by a May 12 deadline. Mr. Obama’s pact enables the mullahs in Tehran to continue nuclear research, build and test intercontinental ballistic missiles, and ramp up production of a nuclear arsenal in 2030. If a monument to Barack Obama were to someday grace the National Mall, it would be no less vulnerable to an Islamic bomb than the shrines to the nation’s heroes. Mr. Trump’s toughened stance may deliver a fatal blow to the Obama record, and Americans will be safer for it.

The capital is adorned with monuments to the giants who lighted the nation’s way from its birth to its dazzling present — Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. Mr. Obama, the community organizer who became the president brought along a self-image to rival the size of Donald Trump’s ego, once thought he would join the pantheon in due time. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time,” he told an admiring crowd at a campaign rally a decade ago. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Anointed by the nation’s voters, his inauguration filled the National Mall to overflowing, like the believers who crowd St. Peter’s Square straining to see the pope on an Easter Sunday. School children composed and sang worshipful paeans to the nation’s first black president and his wife Michelle, the self-declared “forever first lady.” Pundits prophesied the arrival of national redemption for past sins of racism.

Then the Democratic policy machine began to crank out liberal governance that clashed with what most Americans wanted. Presidential speeches he delivered overseas were spiked with apologies for American “arrogance,” for his predecessors standing up for American interests just as attacks perpetrated by Islamic extremists at home were dismissed as mere “workplace violence.”

A stimulus package was pushed through Congress that cost American taxpayers as much as $4 million per job. The Obamacare takeover of the nation’s health care system was written into law in the middle of the night without any Republican support. Regulations were drafted that wasted billions on unsustainable renewal energy companies often owned by his cronies, while crippling the domestic coal industry.

On his own authority, the onetime professor of constitutional law rewrote immigration rules by executive order, bestowing conditional legal status to the children of illegals living in the United States. Facing a reluctant Senate, he bypassed the treaty approval process and wrote the Paris Climate Change Agreement and Iran Nuclear Deal as though his name alone would win the endorsement of 320 million Americans.

It didn’t, and Americans replaced the president with a new one who is busy dismantling the liberal policies expected to “fundamentally transform” the nation.

Trumpisms, such as “A nation without borders is not a nation at all,” triggered a contentious debate over the financial and social costs of policies that favored illegal immigrants and consigned the great American middle class to a generation of stagnation.

A Trump-led, once-in-a-generation tax cut is proving to be catnip to an economy breaking free from the heavy hand of excessive government regulation. A new spirit of entrepreneurship has driven unemployment to a seldom-seen 3.9 percent and is putting the lie to the Obama canard that “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Mr. Trump is prepared to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, calling it “the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries.” Complying with the agreement that Mr. Obama endorsed with great fanfare in 2015 would cost the U.S. economy $3 trillion in lost gross domestic product and 6.5 million industrial jobs by 2040.

As the 44th president massages his draft of a shrinking legacy with no publication date in sight, he can cite only the health insurance scheme that bears his name. Obamacare may be all that Americans remember, as in Barbra Streisand’s nostalgic look back to “the way we were.”

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