By ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, former U. S. senator

MAY 14, 2014 -- All you've got to do is read the Washington Post editorials to realize that President Obama is in trouble. They are friendly - not too critical - trying to be helpful.


Fareed Zakaria writes (5/9/14) that: "Obama needs to lead with feeling". Eugene Robinson writes (5/9/14): "Obama's transformational presidency". Both are wrong. Obama needs to stop transforming and do his duty as a President to build and maintain a strong economy. Both editorialists fail to recognize reality.

In foreign policy, we learned in Vietnam, Iraq and now Afghanistan that the military can't change a countries culture; that you can't open markets by the military "spreading democracy". Nuclear weaponry has eliminated the world of superpowers. Neither the U.S. nor China can be a military superpower because any military conflict between them threatens to go nuclear and must be avoided. China knows we retreated in Korea when it spilled over the Yalu River. China knows the U.S. avoided going above Hanoi in Vietnam for fear that China would come in. After Tiananmen Square, China showed forbearance in using its Good Neighbor Policy. The U.S. had obtained a resolution in the United Nations to investigate human rights in China. Instead, China went to its economic friends in Africa and the Pacific and there has never been a hearing on the Resolution.

Rather than "feeling", realism is needed. The Congress is not going to get GI's killed defending uninhabited rock islands - the Senkaku Islands. President Obama loses credibility when he headlines his pivot to Asia by stationing 2500 Marines in Australia. In foreign policy, President Obama is not Commander in Chief. The President also loses credibility in the Mid-East when he tries for a two state solution for Israel Palestine but then vetoes it in the United Nations. President Obama opposes Israeli settlements in the West Bank but he does nothing when Israel continues to settle.

The U.S. has been engaged in the Ukraine for several years, spreading democracy with the National Endowment for Democracy and now joining the European Union in its contest with Russia over Ukraine joining either economically. When Putin offered $15 billion in economic aid to Ukraine, Ukraine opted for Russia and Ukrainians and our minions overthrew the government. Now, we are caught off base, thousands of miles from home in a Russian country, helping overthrow the government. If Russia was caught off base spreading Communism in Mexico, we would move to protect our interests in Mexico. Necessarily, Putin moves to protect Russia's interest in a Russian country.

On the domestic front, President Obama neglects his duty to build and protect the economy. Corporate America continues to offshore our research, innovation, technology, production, jobs, payrolls - our economy. The President must make it profitable for Corporate America to produce in America. We can't make offshoring illegal but at least we can limit the offshoring by enforcing the Defense Production Act of 1950; our trade laws against closed markets and predatory practices and protecting the production of items vital to a strong economy.

Given a balanced budget in 2001, President Bush and Obama haven't paid for government in fourteen years, increasing the national debt $12 trillion. It took the United States over 200 years to incur a national debt of $1 trillion in 1981. We've increased the national debt 2400 years of debt and there is no urge to pay for government. We can pay for government immediately with a tax cut - replace the 35% Corporate Tax with a 7% Value Added Tax. This permits balancing the budget in two years rather than ten and releases $2 trillion in offshore profits for Corporate America to repatriate tax free and create millions of jobs. Industry likes certainty. Corporate America must know that vital production will be protected.

If the President leads with this tax cut, and enforces our trade laws, he'll become popular.

Senator Hollings of South Carolina served 38 years in the United States Senate, and for many years was Chairman of the Commerce, Space, Science & Transportation Committee. He is the author of Making Government Work (University of South Carolina Press, 2008).

© 2014, Ernest F. Hollings. All rights reserved. Contact us for republication permission.

About Fritz Hollings

Ernest F. Hollings served the public for 56 years -- 38 years in the United States Senate and as South Carolina's governor, lieutenant governor and a member of the S.C. House of Representatives.

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