It is telling, just how desperate Republicans have become at this time, when ex Republican presidential candidate, endorser of Santorum, and ex-Reagan secretary for Planning and Budget in the Department of Education posts an article on his facebook wall accusing Obama of being a Marxist simply for using the term ‘Forward’:
The intense lack of focus on issues, on offering any sort of solutions is telling. Bauer offers nothing. No new ideas, no ingenuity. Simple, and ridiculous weak attacks on wording.
Bauer is a Christian. Deeply Christian. He believes secularism is destroying Christian values. In an article for ‘Campaign for Working Families’ Bauer states:
“The removal of the only reference to God from the Democratic Party platform is telling. Under Barack Obama the Democratic Party has become more secular and more hostile to faith-based voters. On issues ranging from the sanctity of life to traditional marriage, Obama’s Democratic Party has embraced positions contrary to the values of heartland America, values rooted in our Judeo-Christian traditions and expressed in our founding documents. Values voters will respond in November.”
Now, leaving aside the fact that America’s founding documents are a symbol of secularism and the Enlightenment… not Christian values; if we’re judging people by their wording, as Bauer did by posting that article, he must be consistent, here’s a speech from Hitler, in 1933:
“Today they say that Christianity is in danger, that the Catholic faith is threatened. My reply to them is: for the time being, Christians and not international atheists are now standing at Germany’s fore. I am not merely talking about Christianity; I confess that I will never ally myself with the parties which aim to destroy Christianity.”
– Sounds a lot like every speech Bauer ever makes. If he has the nerve to suggest Obama is a Marxist because he used the term ‘forward’ in his campaign, then we must be consistent and say that Gary L Bauer is a Nazi. Probably Hitler himself. See how easy it is? This has been the Republican strategy for about four years.
Onto the main topic of this article.
Today is election day in the US. And whilst most of the World cannot fathom why any reasonable human being would vote for a bigoted and economically illiterate Romney Presidency; the polls are pretty even. I even heard a suggestion that New Hampshire might be the State to play kingmaker.
I laid out in a previous article Why the Romney economic plan based on ‘job creators’ is a manipulation of fact and devoid of all reason. Today i’d quite like to lay out the accomplishments of President Obama. We know he hasn’t always been the President that expectation demanded of him back in 2008, but that’s not to say he hasn’t achieved a heck of a lot of good, and progress in the past four years despite two years of Republican (and right winged Christian) attempts to derail his agenda at every possible opportunity; usually without regard for the national interest.
Obama’s biggest achievement must be the Healthcare Act. Now that the fear has died down… fear created and perpetuated by a Republican Party that consider anything slightly left of Mussolini to be “Socialism”, people seem to be starting to like the idea of ‘Obamacare’. Of course, it isn’t ideal. The ideal is universal healthcare. We can bicker about “Omg it’s socialism!!!” all we want. We can even bicker about if government is capable of providing healthcare, on a very fundamental basis if we want. But we must look at the facts. Here is what the World Health Organisation says about two systems. The American private insurer system (before Obamacare), and the British National Healthcare system.
Life Expectancy M/F
Distribution of causes of death among children aged <5 years (%)
USA – Injuries: 22
UK – Injuries: 4
Case detection rate for all forms of tuberculosis (%):
Under-five mortality rate (probability of dying by age 5 per 1000 live births):
Adult mortality rate (probability of dying between 15 and 60 years per 1000):
Per capita total expenditure on health at average exchange rate (US$):
General government expenditure on health as a percentage of total government expenditure:
A quick analysis suggests that the UK pays less per capita, our government spends less on our health system than the US, and yet we have “Socialised” healthcare, we’re living longer, and our children are less likely to die at a young age. And yet, all of this is grossly overlooked in favour of ideological dogma regardless of how backward, and ultimately deadly it is. And it isn’t just the UK, look to Sweden, Norway, and any other industrialised, civil society with a universal healthcare model, and you will see similar results. A private healthcare system is not only horrendously barbaric, it doesn’t work.
Obama has made progress in correcting that problem.
For all their concern about the deficit, Republicans choose to ignore the FACT that the Congressional Budget Office stated that ‘Obamacare’ will reduce the deficit. Here, see for yourself: CBO Report. To repeal it, would cost around $230bn. Another CBO report states that in the next ten years, ‘Obamacare’ will cover a further 33,000,000 Americans who otherwise would have no coverage (the very idea of not being covered for healthcare, baffles and disgusts me). Here, see for yourself CBO Report. NOT ONLY THAT but ‘Obamacare’ incentivises small businesses by offering a 50% tax credit, if they insure their workers.
Republicans adding to the deficit, whilst making life harder for average people, whilst enriching wealthy insurers, whilst ignoring small businesses? SURELY NOT!
Former House of Reps Republican in Delaware, Mike Castle voted to kill the stimulus bill, the health reform bill, financial regulation reform etc etc etc. On the stimulus package, Mike Castle said this:
“We cannot spend our way back to economic prosperity,”
He hates the idea of a stimulating the economy! Doesn’t think government should stimulate the economy. So, obviously he’s going to be consistent in his condemnation, right? Well, no.
… Castle then accepted $5,230,610 of stimulus money, stating:
These grants, totaling more than $5 million, will help the invaluable organizations and programs which are working to help the homeless, hungry, and those facing economic hardship throughout the State.
– Suddenly, government CAN help to eleviate poverty, and hunger, and provide help to the most vulnerable. Republicans oppose programs in order to entice their over privileged support base, and then cowardly support the program when it might win them some votes among the less wealthy in their constituencies.
Every Romney/Republican Speech is a vomit inducing display of feigned patrotism. …. “What would I do?.. Well i’d make America great again!” It seems, if you lack any detailed plan for running the highest office on the planet, then the next best thing is to win over idiots, with sentimental nonsense.
Economically, whilst it’s slow, the US economy is growing. If we contrast that with the austerity lead (Romney-esque) governments across the World, we see a different story. Austerity has failed everywhere. The UK has had to endure three years of it, and so far we’ve had another huge recession (the biggest since the 1950s) no growth over the entire year, and horribly stagnating wages. It fails. The opposite is true of the Obama economy. It is moving in the right direction. If you think slow Keynesian inspired growth is bad, then you’re REALLY going to hate Romney inspired recession.
Taxes too high? Well, if you’re a Republican prone to ‘make shit up’ then yes. But, if you rely on evidence, as the Washington Post did, you will see that:
“A USA Today analysis found last year that if we include everything — federal, state, and local taxes, including income, property, sales, and other taxes — the percentage of personal income that’s paid in taxes is still at its lowest level since 1950.”
And since when has it become acceptable, and in fact, preferable, for a ‘business minded’ person to be a President? Businesses are run for profit. People are very much a secondary concern. Democratic accountability does not exist in a business setting. I cannot vote for who runs the gas and electricity companies. I can move to another. Yet, there are very few, and all of them offer poor service. The object is money. It is profit. People become statistics. The interest of business leaders, is to enrich themselves. They are economically illiterate, and dangerous. Their word, it seems, is taken as gospal. This couldn’t be proven any more than in the UK. In 2010, before the general election, 35 of the Nation’s top business leaders signed a petition in support of the Chancellor George Osborne’s austerity plan. They said, quite amusingly:
There is no reason to think that the pace of consolidation envisaged in the Budget will undermine the recovery. Business is amoral. It is regulated it prevent it becoming immoral. Business minds are self interest. This, of course, is not always a terrible thing. A majority of the time, it works. But at its most fundamental, it is dangerous.
The private sector should be more than capable of generating additional jobs to replace those lost in the public sector, and the redeployment of people to more productive activities will improve economic performance, so generating more employment opportunities.
– Two and a half years later, the ‘pace of consolidation envisaged in the Budget’ has absolutely choked off recovery. The private sector has not generated any additional jobs. We hit another recession. And wages stagnated. This is the legacy of listening to those with a ‘business’ mind when it comes to national governance.
The repealing of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell must rank up there with great liberal policies, alongside civil rights legislation of the 1960s (which of course, conservatives opposed). Obama also admitted, tacitly, that he is no longer opposed to gay marriage. This was a risky move, but showed courage and conviction, when faced with such hostile bigotry. Whilst in Michigan, I saw a Republican billboard with “Obama supports gay marriage, and abortion…. do you?” And I thought…. Yes. I do. Because i’m not a crazed Christian bigoted fundamentalist from the 4th Century. To prevent full rights to loving couples, based soley on a very fundamental and selective view of a Biblical passage is so thoroughly beyond the realm of reason, it should be ridiculed, and argued against, and kept as far away from public policy as possible. If we are to continue to believe that the concept of marriage is based entirely on Biblical principles, then, like with Bauer, we must be consistent:
Republicans must be against marriage, if the woman isn’t a virgin. As advocated in Deuteronomy 22:13-21.
Republicans must support the right for a man to have multiple concubines as justified in 2 Sam 5:13 and
2 Chron 11:21.
Republicans must support the right for a man to marry his kidnapped captive (though, only after shaving her head, obviously) as permitted in Deut. 21:11-13.
Republicans must support the right for a man to trade his wife, as property. As advocated in RUTH 4:5-10.
Republicans must support the right for a man to marry his rape victim, if he pays for her: Deut. 22:28.
Let’s be consistent Republicans!
Gaddafi. Bin Laden. Weakened Mubarak’s position by telling him to reform, or step down. Has not jumped into conflict with Iran, relying instead on diplomacy, but also strong with providing sanctions on Iran by signing into law a bill to punish companies aiding Iran’s petroleum sector.
Between 2010 and 2011, Obama increased Department of Veterans Affairs budget by 26%. Conversely, Paul Ryan suggested cutting aid to Veterans who do not suffer from combat caused medical problems. Essentially, Republicans (strong national defence) are happy to use you to defend the country, and then forget about you when you get home, and paint you as a drain on the economy. Let’s not forget that those cuts to Veterans benefits would be paid for, by a massive tax cut for the wealthiest.
Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act, EPA restrictions on toxic pollution. Omnibus Public Lands Management Act expanding wilderness protection. Cancelled anti-ballistic missile systems set to be placed in Czech and Poland, saving $1.4bn. Kickstarted renewable energy research through stimulus funding on unprecedented scale. Used diplomacy to convince BP to put aside a $20 billion fund for victims of Gulf oil spill, without any power to force them to do so. Children’s Health Insurance Authorization Act provides coverage for 4 million more children by raising taxes on tobacco. And for me, one of the most overlooked and yet most vital advancements the US has to thank President Obama for, is the ending of Bush-era restrictions on stem cell research. This is perhaps the most important scientific area of research at the moment. For Republicans to deny it, is a disgrace.
President Obama has achieved a lot in four years, despite Republicans opposing absolutely everything, and ensuring the word ‘Socialism’ is forever attached to anything Obama says or does. It is of course a basic misunderstanding of what Socialism is. The definition becomes irrelevant because the word is enough to strike irrational fear. The use of terms like ‘Socialism’ or the obsession with dethroning the President by suggesting his isn’t American, or any other empty attack point goes to prove nothing more than the fact that the Republican Party has absolutely no solution for any problem. It just wants power.
I cannot believe a country that has come so far forward in four years, would elect to fall twenty years into the past.
This is why I am certain President Obama should be given four more years.
EDIT: And has now been given four more years. Excellent choice America.