Cut Through the Republican obsession with destroying Obama and you find justification for a Second Term. President Barack Obama told Matt Lauer of NBC last night that he deserves a second term. “We’re not done,” he said simply. The startling thing is that he’s right. Obama has turned out to be a solid, capable chief executive that has met the severest challenges and is making progress toward the better America everyone envisioned in 2008. The problem is the almost giddy high expectations of the progressive left got steamrollered by two things: first the severest depression since the 1930’s, and a Republican Party and its coadjutors who have become what Bill Press in his new book calls “The Obama Hate Machine.”
The Obama Administration has created 3.7 million jobs, the best jobs numbers since 2005, a full three years before the economic collapse of the housing market and the banking silliness on Wall Street. They are creating well over 200,000 new jobs a month and the stock market has not been this high in years. This is hardly the stuff of total economic collapse and the crisis in Greece Republicans says we have in prospect here. Contrast that with 23 months straight of job creation rather than job loss.
Just last Wednesday, the President asked Congress to provide funding to help refinance millions of mortgages for homeowners that had kept current with their mortgages and who need a solid mortgage and relief. The measure if passed by Congress would refinance mortgage loans and provide the average homeowner in distress with an average of $3,000 savings on a new loan. And that loan would solidly leave them in their homes and not on the edge of foreclosure. Contrary to Rush Limbaugh and Republicans in Congress, those homeowners who simply cannot stay current on their loans will be foreclosed. But the House of Representatives has like every single Obama proposal shot this down before it even arrived for debate and passage. By contrast, the presumptive nominee for President Mitt Romney just says let the foreclosure process work itself out, putting millions out of their homes.
The President has tried to put construction workers and those who build houses back to work through programs to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure and stimulate the housing market: rejected by obstructionist Republicans in Congress.
Obama asked Republicans in Congress to join with Democrats in putting firefighters, police officers and teachers back to work. The answer was an emphatic NO!
The President waited almost a year for the Senate to act on several key appointments then in order to allow the Administration to do its work, especially with the new consumer watchdog agency created by the Dodd-Frank Law earlier; he acted to make recess appointments in the face of Republican obstruction. That agency, pioneered by Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Economics professor turned Senate candidate in Massachusetts is to make sure credit card companies do not cheat consumers and lie to them.
While it’s true that Obama has disappointed progressives by not being tough enough to fully close Guantanamo, and by continuing Bush like invasions on the civil rights and privacy of citizens in the war on terror, and his slowness at prosecuting Wall Street hedge fund operators who need to see the inside of a prison, his failures elsewhere are all made on the Republican side of the aisle.
This President has faced the most negative climate from the opposition party of any President since FDR, or perhaps even Abraham Lincoln. The so-called Tea Party would not have coalesced into existence and would not have been such a power in the land without Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries. Their almost $50 billion hoard of cash goes to fund right-wing causes and programs just about everywhere. Their funding of Freedomworks and its chairman Dick Armey, formerly a Texas Congressman made the Tea Party possible. They’ve been giving aid and support both directly and indirectly to the Scott Walker Administration in Wisconsin.
Right-wing talk radio and Fox News has been engaged in nothing short of a barrage of highly personal attacks on the nation’s chief executive, normally reserved for dictators and tyrants and terrorists the United States opposes.
The greatest mistake made by the Republican Party and conservatives in general over the past three years has been to obsessively concentrate on making President Obama’s presidency a total failure. If foreigners did this we would properly identify it as treason and hang the lot of them. Mitch McConnell spoke for the opposition in 2010 when he said that the very most important goal of his party was simply to “make President Obama a one term president.”
This focus on hating and destroying President Obama and obstructing every single thing he does to assure his failure has not been in the national interest to say the least. But it has also stifled Republicans from offering more creative, real alternatives to what the Obama Administration has tried to offer us. A loyal opposition would compromise and seek to incorporate elements of their program into the first term of this President. They have not. With the exception of Congressman Paul Ryan’s Medicare Reform plan, a plan that means most senior citizens have to find $6,000 more to simply get what they have now out of the program, there has been precious little offered by the Obama opposition that is constructive and helpful.
One of four Americans still thinks that Obama was born outside the United States and is not a citizen. They view Michelle Obama as a fat woman who is angry and a silly spectacle. Conservative intellectual Dinesh D’Souza has connected the President to being most influenced by his father and grandfather’s British anti-colonialism. The Limbaugh’s and Becks and Fox News commentators have at some moments even suggested the President is a mentally ill man who has plans for a socialist takeover of the nation and becoming a dictator and tyrant.
President Obama more aggressively attacked El Quaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan than his predecessor even remotely did. He nailed Osama Bin Laden. He supported the Arab Spring movement cautiously but strongly. He acted to bring NATO in to Libya to protect people there from mass slaughter by their leader Mohammar Gadhafi. He’s brought our troops home from Iraq precisely as bush planned to do with William Gates, Bush’s Secretary of Defense. He’s made recommendations for winding down the war in Afghanistan a year earlier than planned just a year ago. That’s good news for thousands of parents and wives and children here at home. Yet, even with proposed defense budget cuts it should be noted that they come largely from the Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs. It is a proposed streamlining of the military that focuses on having elite forces with the latest technological support for its weaponry.
The United States is coming through this difficult time looking like a clear alternative to the collapse of the Euro and crisis there, and the slowing economies of the Pacific Rim. The United States is now looking like a great place to invest and to hire workers again.
Like Abraham Lincoln, Obama is supremely hated by his enemies, and is disappointing as a centrist Democrat to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party But when all is considered we need him at the tiller of the ship of state for four more years. He’s earned a second term and deserves to have a Democratic Congress again to get the nation moving and people yet unemployed and underemployed by the millions back to work and sharing in the stock market surge and corporate profits that are fat and sweet.
If you envision a better alternative through a Mitt Romney Administration or the likes of Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul, you truly are fully medicated and enjoying the benefits of a chemically enhanced reality.
Frankly, President Obama was out of his depth in the first year to year and a half of his Presidency. But since he’s shown he has grown into the job. And just think what could be done if the obstruction of the Republicans and their Bill Press defined “Hate Machine” for the President were not there. Clint Eastwood did a commercial at halftime of the Super Bowl and many conservatives say that is their kind of guy in future for some run for office. But they forgot the point of the message that Detroit and its auto industry is back! Its halftime Clint Eastwood said and more progress is expected. The American automakers have seen a strong recovery. It was President Obama who stuck with loans to the auto industry that allowed it to survive the depths of the 2008-2009 and 2010 depression. President Obama deserves that second term.