Monday, July 16, 2012

Reasons to Support Obama

A good friend has responded to my Mitt v Mitt blog by asking me the following questions.  "Can you give me a few reasons to support Obama in the election? Other then being an advocate of class warfare what has he accomplished? Do we really need 4 more years of a no growth economy?"  This is my response:

An issue of trust; that’s exactly what the major issue regarding who our next president is about.  As a voter, with a tendency to be liberal when it comes to individual rights and conservative when it comes to government spending, I am looking for the person I can trust. During the campaign Romney has proven he will do or say anything  to get elected.   I don’t trust him.  I think its best to start and mention the things I don’t like about Obama and his policies.  I don’t like the way he negotiates with the Republicans.   One of the principles of effective negotiating is the art of never starting at where you want to end, i.e. one should. instead, aim to reach the goal  by incremental concessions.  Obama doesn’t do that.  He stated early in his presidency that he was in favor of tort reform in medical malpractice cases.  It is my opinion that the most effective check on the way physicians and other health care professionals manage our health care is the threat of being held accountable for their misdeeds in a public forum.  There is a lot of malpractice going on out in the field.  The AMA estimates that more than 100,000 people a year die from acts of malpractice.  Let me remind my friends who are so adamant about their right to bear arms as guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution that we also have a 7th Amendment to the very same document which guarantees us all a right to trial by jury in civil matters.  Now, let me get to the main issue;  what do I like that Obama has done that deserves his re-election?  Let’s start at the beginning.  Obama came into office inheriting the Bush administration’s record of war, debt, spending, and torture and it is the progress away from that dismal period of our country’s history that I think he should be judged.  It is a fact that Obama has delivered magnificently in several key arenas;.
The Economy:  When Obama took office, the United States was losing around 750,000 jobs a month. The last quarter of 2008 saw an annualized drop in growth approaching 9 percent. This was the most serious downturn since the 1930s and there was a real chance of a systemic collapse of the entire global financial system.  In that time frame, he continued the bank bailout begun by Bush, initiated a bailout of the auto industry, and worked to pass a huge stimulus package of $787 billion, which by all measures is credited with preventing a depression worse than the 1930s.  As the stimulus took effect, the U.S. has added 2.4 million jobs, more than the net jobs created under the entire Bush administration. In 2011 alone, 1.9 million private-sector jobs were created.  One of the important and real contributions made by the Tea Party was to sensitize the country, including our politicians to the size of government.  In the public sector, there are now 607,000 fewer people working than there were when President Obama took office.   Overall government employment has declined 2.6 percent over the past 3 years. (That compares with a drop of 2.2 percent during the early years of the Reagan administration.)
Taxes and Spending:  Contrary to Republican rhetoric, i.e. Obama is not a socialist who has raised taxes.  A third of the stimulus was tax cuts, affecting 95 percent of taxpayers; he has also cut the payroll tax, and recently had to fight to keep it cut against Republican opposition. His spending record is far better than his predecessor’s. Under Bush, new policies on taxes and spending cost the taxpayer a total of $5.07 trillion.
Obamacare:  The Affordable Health Care Act was an idea pioneered by the archconservative Heritage Foundation, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney and is much more moderate than its critics claim. The Congressional Budget Office has projected it will reduce the deficit significantly over the nest ten years.   The plan needs improvement and the administration is open to further reform.  It has agreed to allow states to experiment in different ways to achieve the same result.  Since federal law mandates that hospitals accept all emergency-room cases requiring treatment, the requirement that 44 million current ‘free-riders’ (Republican phrase, not mine) pay into the system is not socialism, but fiscally prudent. It is conservative thinking. 
Summary and Miscellaneous Achievements:   A depression was averted, the bail-out of the auto industry was successful and the bank bailouts have been repaid to a great extent by the recovering banking sector. The Iraq War has been ended on time with Afghanistan being next in line.  As a person with more than a passing interest in the science of intra-uterine development, I have familiarized myself thoroughly with the impact of various hormones in that time period on gender identification.  As I result, I believe that most persons of homosexual orientation were born that way and should be treated as equals, not as sinners of immoral conduct, as a rather large subset of the wonderful scope of human diversity.  Under Obama, gays now openly serve in the military, and the Defense of Marriage Act is dying in the courts, undefended by the Obama Justice Department. I believe that global warming, human-caused, is not a myth.  I believe that eventually, carbon-based fuel supplies will be exhausted and to ignore this fact is to doom our children and grandchildren to drastic changes in their lives in ways that are unimaginable today.   Under Obama, vast government money has been poured into noncarbon energy investments and fuel-emission standards have been drastically increased.  Then, there are others important issues; Torture was ended, two moderately liberal women replaced men on the Supreme Court.  Politifact recently noted that of 508 specific promises made by Obama at the outset of his first term, a third had been fulfilled and only two have not had some action taken on them. To have done all this while simultaneously battling both the Republican party (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s has admitted that his primary objective is denying Obama a second term) and an economic situation bordering on disaster is about as much as anyone can expect.  Obama at all times has conducted himself with grace and calm under incredible pressure and has had to manage crises not seen since the Second World War and the Depression, without a single significant scandal to his name. 
Finally, I like the guy.  I respect him.  I don’t respect Romney for failing to man up and take the credit (and responsibility) for Obamacare.  The funny part of this latter observation is that he probably would have gained more votes from independents like me if he had done so.
Just saying . . .

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