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Friday, January 23, 2009

Heritage on the inauguration of President Obama

Below is a messege from the Heritage Foundation that gives conservatives hope.

January 22, 2009 | By Nathaniel Ward

Heritage on the inauguration of President Obama

Although conservatives ought to remain on their guard over the next four years, Heritage vice-president Mike Franc makes a case for cautious conservative optimism on National Review Online.

Just as only President Nixon could go to China, he suggests, perhaps only President Obama can tackle serious entitlement reform and foreign policy objectives. Perhaps "oenly a man with our new president's liberal pedigree will possess the sort of political capital required to tackle our nation's most pressing and foreseeable challenge," writes Franc.

On the economy, the new administration will have to face the coming spending tsunami as Baby Boomers increasingly qualify for the big three entitlement programs, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. President Obama will have to make the difficult choice between tax hikes, which may be politically harmful, and a real effort to rein in spending.

And on foreign policy and national security, Franc argues that "with intelligence briefings comes maturity." The campaign trail asks candidates to hold up high ideals, but the Oval Office demands prudence, and the President may even embrace a number of positions he derided as a candidate. "If and when he does, the mainstream media will revisit these issues in a more understanding way and begin to explain the tough trade-offs that are required to defend America's interests."

Heritage foreign policy expert Helle Dale puts the new presidency in historical perspective. Other new Presidents —Bush, Reagan, Nixon, and Truman — faced "raging storms, far more worthy of the name than the clouds under which Obama's presidency begins," says Dale.

She continues:

The world Obama inherits today is clearly complex, but thanks to the tireless efforts of his predecessor, far less dangerous than the impression created [in his inaugural address on Tuesday]. Indeed, Obama owes a debt of gratitude to Bush for the tough decisions he has taken to keep this country safe and the sacrifices he made in political capital and personal popularity to do so. Bush may be vilified, even booed by the crowd of Obama supporters on the Mall, but he kept each and every one of them safe from terrorist attacks for seven years…Obama of course questioned those very policies during the campaign and indeed in his speech [Tuesday], postulating a false dichotomy between our safety and our ideals.

Dale concludes that Obama obviously differs from Bush philosophically, but that "how far world events will allow the Obama foreign policy to diverge from that of the Bush years remains to be seen."

Meanwhile, on WorldNetDaily, former Congressman and Heritage distinguished fellow Ernest Istook discusses President Obama's unique position to end race-based victimhood.

Though Barack Obama's election was a watershed in many respects, "America's laws and regulations don't reflect that sense of accomplishment. They remain mired in 1960s thinking and prejudices about race," Istook pointed out. 

Hard choices don't get any tougher than race relations and affirmative action. This certainly meets Obama's inaugural address standard of tackling long-avoided problems.

We have a chance at change for the better. For decades, a catchphrase has been, "If we can put a man on the moon, then why can't we ..." The new version will be, "If we can elect a black president, then why can't we ..."

If President Obama is willing to provide leadership of the right sort, we can heal many of America's racial tensions and still improve upward mobility for Americans of all races and backgrounds. Yes we can.

Finally, Heritage's Foundry blog linked to a humorous but very telling video clip demonstrating how conservativecertain parts of Obama's speech sounded.

— David Talbot

Beach proposes 'stimulus' alternative to Congress

Heritage Foundation economist Bill Beach testified last week before the Economic Recovery Working Group on Capitol Hill about an alternative to the Left's big-government economic "stimulus" package.

Beach suggested an alternative to the Left's plan to spend $850 billion on economic recovery:

  1. Extend the 2001 and 2003 tax reductions for as long as possible -- at least through 2013 -- to prevent tax increases. Better yet, make the tax cuts permanent.
  1. Reduce tax rates on individuals, small businesses and corporations through 2013 by lowering the top rate by 10 percentage points and reducing rates by similar amounts for taxpayers with lower income levels.

This would give employers the incentive to invest money and create genuinely new jobs.

Heritage's Rob Bluey reports that "the hearing came a week after President-elect Barack Obama invited alternative suggestions for promoting economic growth."

» Read more about the case for a conservative stimulus on

From Bergen, Hordaland, Norge,

Christopher D. Osborn

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