Archive for Obama

“Obama had his way for 2 years” – Facts and Myths

paul ryan fact checkAs the election season heats up, Republicans like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are stepping up the rhetoric.  One of the claims I keep hearing is that “Obama got everything he wanted for 2 years.”  This is simply untrue.  Yes, normally having majorities in the House and Senate would seem to ensure that bills could be passed by way of majority votes.  However, Republicans have threatened to filibuster and thereby paralyze every bill they’ve disagreed with.  And the fact that there have always been a small handful of Democrats (generally Blue Dog Democrats) willing to side with Republicans have made these filibusters more than an idle threat.  This would not be much of an issue if a handful of Republicans crossed party lines and offset this effect and courting these Republicans (or the Democratic holdouts) have led to some compromises (meaning Obama hasn’t gotten everything he wanted).

The Stimulus Package
By any measure, the stimulus package has left us better off.  The question is could it have been better?  Yes, had the $100 billion in aid to state and local governments not been cut (something Republicans demanded before crossing party lines to vote for the bill), state and local governments (who are expected to run balanced budgets) wouldn’t have had to cut  so many jobs (the private sector has been adding jobs–it’s the public sector that’s been hurting and largely suppressing the recovery).  Nevertheless, the stimulus package helped end the recession and get us back to a point where the economy has had positive job numbers over the last 26 months now.  Had Republicans not blocked the American Jobs Act in 2011, we’d be seeing much more robust growth at this point.obama stimulus unemployment jobs

The Health Care Bill
The original health care bill was designed to have a public plan.   In order to get this through the House and Senate, the public plan would have to be gutted (and replaced with a mandate which Republicans used to support but suddenly decided it was government intrusion now that a Democratic president was in office) and some concessions had to be made regarding coverage on abortion in order to gain support by Pro-Life Democrats.

Filibusters under Obama
Last but not least, Republicans have set a record for filibusters.

senate filibusters 2009 2010 2011

Image from: ‘A Process That Is Running Out of Control’: The New Nullification Crisis

 

 

Obama’s “Class Warfare” and the Middle Class

income disparity

One of the more ironic aspects of today’s political debate is the way Republicans use the “class warfare” card in an attempt to avoid debating the manner in which their policies have gutted the middle class, driven and trapped more people into poverty, and simply made the wealthy even wealthier and created a larger gap between them and the rest of us.

Caution: DISCUSSING this trend below is “Class Warfare”

Wealth inequality - richest 1 percent

This was a bit more excusable before the data above and below was available.  After all, Republicans would often claim that Read more

Did Obama say Americans are Lazy? Obama’s Statements

Obama “Lazy Comment” – Did Obama say Americans are lazy?

Recently, in a Q&A session with the head of Boeing Obama claimed that “we’ve” been lazy about attracting foreign investment.  It’s clear from watching the actual interview that Obama is either referring to the government or business.  The full quote is here:

“But, you know, we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades. We’ve kind of taken for granted — well, people will want to come here — and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America.”

In this MSNBC segment, Lawrence O’Donnell compares Obama’s full statement to the ensuing hatchet jobs from Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.

What Obama is saying here is clearly in line with what Republicans generally claim: that American regulations and taxes make it difficult to do business here and this persuades investors to invest outside of the United States.  That doesn’t stop Mitt Romney and Rick Perry (who are certainly proponents of this notion) from falsely claiming that Obama is claiming that Americans are lazy.

It’s no secret that political campaigning has long-since abandoned any notion of honest discourse and has certainly trampled on everything I ever learned in my Ethics of Journalism course back in my college years.  But the level at which the GOP Presidential candidates trample this is simply beyond reproach.

The Republican presidential candidates have been trying to outdo each other in attacking Obama, and these attacks certainly fit the mold.  Mitt Romney is likely trying to break through to a solid #1 spot instead of being constantly overtaken by a different “GOP flavor of the month.” Rick perry (who rose and fell from his status as the “flavor of the month” some time ago) is in desperate straits (especially after what appears to be a drunken speech and an embarrassing moment when he forgets the 3rd federal government agency he’d get rid of).

In Perry’s case, a desperate attack like this is almost understandable.  At this point it would seem he has little to lose since his campaign appears to be falling to the wayside and his chances of winning the GOP nomination are pretty much done for barring a miracle.  Romney is a different story however.  Surrounded by GOP candidates whose statements and actions often border on satire, Mitt Romney has maintained a more dignified and disciplined campaign.   So while it’s not too surprising to see Perry stoop to this level, it is a shocker to see Romney do so.  This may be yet another attempt from Romney to court the GOP base.  After switching from an acceptance of human caused climate change to one of borderline climate change denial, and taking on a more imperialistic tone, it may very well be that the Romney campaign is trying to court the GOP base by partaking in the satire.

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