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International Honor Society in Social Sciences
The mission of Pi Gamma Mu is to encourage and promote excellence in the social sciences and to uphold the ideals of scholarship and service.

Dr. AndersonSHADOW PRESIDENT UPDATE

The "Shadow President" was conceptualized for the 2008 triennial--aptly named "A Political Party."  Elected by the student delegates, the assignment for the "Shadow President" was to "propose policy ideas and second-guess the initiatives of President Barack Obama" in an occasional column (January 2009 Newsletter).  Eric Knutson served as the first "Shadow President."   During the 2011 triennial, student delegates elected Dr. Matthew Anderson to continue the assignment of the "Shadow President."   The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Pi Gamma Mu or its members.

 


Scandal, Unemployment, Bad Foreign Policy

At the helm in the Nation's Capital, the political spectrum continues to be a cesspool of gridlock, infighting, incompetence, and of lack of accountability.

Controversy and condemnation of the President's decision making skills again was in the forefront of political news when President Obama negotiated with the Taliban in swapping the release of five Guantanamo detainees for one American soldier, a deserter named Bowe Bergdahl. There are concerns relative to national security, because the United States Government which purportedly does not negotiate with terrorists negotiated the release of five Taliban leaders who in all likelihood will rejoin the Taliban efforts against United States influence in Afghanistan. Technically, the Taliban are not on the terrorist list because they reportedly are not attacking United States interests outside of the civil war in Afghanistan.

Millions of people are still without the extended unemployment benefits that expired in December of last year. Each week more than 70,000 are added to the already 2 million plus with no compensation. Draconian Speaker of the House, John Boehner, refused to allow the Bill passed in the Senate in April to come up for vote.  President Obama blamed Republicans for the extended unemployment issue during his State of the Union Address, but President Obama knew the benefit extension was not part of the budget deal he signed off on prior the beginning of 2014. The Chief Executive, who claims to care for the poor, hardworking, and the disadvantaged, should have demanded the unemployment extension be included in the budget deal before signing it, rather than signing a budget with no provisions for extended unemployment benefits, and then later turning around and blaming the Republicans for letting unemployment benefits expire. The deal crafted to extend benefits retroactively through May has now expired and it seems unlikely a deal will be reached.

The Veterans Administration Inspector General notified the Obama administration about three audits yielding findings of impediments to timely health care coverage for countless Vets back in 2008. Reports indicated the Obama administration was notified in the weeks after the 2008 presidential election. President Obama championed his health care initiative around the country and promised improved medical treatment for veterans, yet this is another one of his promises that appears to have been broken. His leadership skills again have come under attack for indecision and lack of action. Obama, while maintaining he is pushing for quick action, has told Veterans he is still trying to gather facts on an issue he has known about since 2008. Veteran's Affairs Secretary Eric Shineski resigned in wake of the scandal.

The Obama Administration's decision to leave scant US military presence in Iraq has now resulted in Iraq security forces being overwhelmed by terrorist groups and activity. In an obvious show of power and test of US resolve in the Obama era of "downsized military", Vladimir Putin and Russia's aggressive seizures of parts of Eastern Ukraine have put Obama's foreign policy strategies under scrutiny. Indecision, underestimation, and late responsiveness have been the major criticism of President Obama's handling of crises. Republican leaders have pushed for legislation that would provide weapons to Ukraine nationalist forces.  In order to check Russian aggression against vulnerable European nations, Obama is seeking Congressional approval for 1 Billion dollars in aid to enhance security.  This additional spending would not be necessary if the President had not erred in 2009 when he pulled back on plans of a defense system to be based in Poland and the Czech Republic.  The President seems to have much turmoil to deal with on the world scene, yet he seems undaunted. He takes plenty of time off to vacation and play golf while Iraq, Ukraine, and Syria, remain hotbeds of conflict and instability.

Dr. Matthew Anderson
Shadow President

 

 

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