A liberal lawyer I know sent me the following e-mail commentary, kidding me that “it must have been written by you!” The e-mail says:
“Let me get this straight. We're going to pass a health care plan written by a committee whose head says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn't read it but exempts themselves from it, signed by a president that also hasn't read it, and who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that's nearly broke. What possibly could go wrong?”
I didn’t write that. However, as Fox News contributor (and former psychiatrist) Charles Krauthammer points out, here’s what possibly could go wrong: “There is so much pain in here: increase in taxes, increase in premiums, extra bureaucracy, interference in the medical treatment of patients, which people will be able to feel and see within months and surely within years. This will be a millstone around Democrats for years, if it passes.”
They pushed through a $787-billion stimulus package in February that was supposed to stimulate jobs and peak unemployment at 8 percent. But in its latest report, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that 10.2 percent of Americans are out of work (the highest rate since April 1983) and if you count people who are working part-time out of necessity and those who have given up looking for jobs, unemployment is actually at least 17.5 percent. The BLS adds that since the stimulus act passed about 3.3 million jobs have been lost. What more possibly could go wrong? According to the Associated Press, economists are now saying that the official (i.e.: underestimated) unemployment rate “could climb as high as 10.5 percent next year because employers remain reluctant to hire.”
Then there’s the decision to try -- in a New York City civilian federal court instead of a military tribunal -- the admitted mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, along with four other terrorist suspects. What possibly could go wrong? Attorney General Eric Holder was unconcerned in his Senate testimony today, saying, "I'm not scared of what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has to say at trial and no one else needs to be afraid either."
But former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who as a judge presided over a trial that grew out of the first attack on the World Trade Center, gave this warning about discovery and presentation rules in a civilian trial: “[It] could turn a criminal proceeding into a cornucopia of information for those still at large and a circus for those in custody.” Mukasey also raised the prospect of “the city at large [becoming] the focus for mischief in the form of murder by adherents of KSM.” To say nothing of the terrorists, their lawyers and their radical supporters using the trial to launch all kinds of outrageous propaganda tirades that will only put a larger bull’s-eye on New York City’s (and the nation’s) back.
As Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York and hero of 9/11 said, “We think they’re criminals. These are soldiers in a war against us. And the rules of war should apply. They are not entitled to the protections that civilians get. This is the application of a political ideology, which is now overcoming what I would regard as common sense. This is Islamic terrorism. If we’re in denial, we’re going to put ourselves in greater danger and we’re going to have more casualties.”
What is disturbing about the Obama administration is that it doesn’t sufficiently think through what possibly could go wrong over a range of issues, including relocating war prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to the U.S., appeasing Iran while it builds up its nuclear facilities, proposing to raise taxes on energy during a recession, and indiscriminately propping up “too big to fail” banks, insurance companies, Wall Street firms and automakers while running up the national debt to about $12 trillion, with the Chinese holding about $1.3 trillion of that. As Reuters reported on Monday, “[Chinese] government officials are using [Obama’s] Asian trip as an opportunity to ask the White House questions. Boilerplate assurances that America won’t default on its debt or inflate the shortfall away are apparently not cutting it.”
What possibly could go wrong involves the national and economic security of the United States. For President Obama, who campaigned (and continues to govern) based on criticisms of the previous administration for not taking into account what possibly could go wrong—decrying rashness, risks, and consequences—this isn’t just wrong. It’s scary.
Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net.
Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net. He is a consultant to corporate and political leaders including Steve Forbes.