Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Obama's Deficit, cont.

My reader has responded to my follow up post:
[Obama] has done nothing but celebrate all that his legislation has done for the country. What do you think he's been talking about during his two years of nothing but campaigning? Democrats run both houses so it's bullshit to say Republicans stopped anything they wanted to pass.
It sickens me looking at all those TV adds [sic], not so much about the adds [sic] but all the money that is spent on the campaigns. I shutter [sic] to thi[nk] how much money is spent. Think about how much good that money could do for this country. I wish there was a leader out there who has the balls to state honorable priorities and back them up with meaningful action. Instead we got somebody who talked the talk and was an empty shirt. Because all he did was give us business as usual. His promises sounded wonderful and America now doesn't buy it. Wonderful promises have different meaning to different people. Many voted because he sounded like he had all the answers. They are now disenchanted.
He is not exciting his base. Good. We made a mistake and lets hope we can get to a better place.
Again, my response:

I only wish Obama had been campaigning non-stop. He has, unfortunately, frequently been in the weeds, getting deeply involved in the wonky parts of governing while not spending enough time enrolling his supporters in what he was doing. Remember the decision to send more troops into Afghanistan? He didn't talk to the people for a long time, and when he went on TV he delivered a mostly flat speech that contained no real attempt to get all of us on both sides to understand the true magnitude of the problem, or to address the fact that he was doing something his supporters didn't really want him to do. Consequently, support for his actions in Afghanistan is flat. On other matters, he spent too much time courting Republican cooperation without doing enough to reassure progressives that he still had their backs. It looked like business as usual, but it wasn't; he just didn't do enough to show us that it wasn't.

Republicans did everything, everything, everything they could to stop Obama from passing any legislation. Filibuster after filibuster. Procedural delay after procedural delay. One Senator put holds on every single judicial appointment until he got his way on one pet project. And so much is still on hold as a result of enough stalling to wait for this election to return the GOP to power so that they can kill the Obama agenda. I'm sure there were some things that they let slide, simply so they could pick their battles for maximum effect in the press and on TV. But for the most part they have truly been the party of nothing.

I definitely agree on the money wasted in campaign ads. It's disgusting to think that Meg Whitman has spent $120 million of her own money to get elected, and she is probably going to lose to someone who has spent a tenth of what she has spent. But in America during election years, nothing matters more than winning, so both sides have done all they could to get their messages out. And what they offer is so light on specifics that any sane person would see through it as their way to baffle us with enough bullshit to win our votes. Republicans, though, have offered no single credible idea to tackle our problems. No one Republican can honestly state what spending they would cut to reduce the deficit. They just want to go back to the last decade, which, in case you hadn't noticed, was a fucking disaster for most of the country! My investment portfolio was worth the same in 2009 as it was in 2000, and only in the last two years has it recovered to where it was after losing nearly 40% in 2007 and 2008. And I also lost tens of thousands in the real estate market and as the result of a short sale on my record, now have to contend with a protracted inability to obtain a new mortgage, costing me thousands more. I blame Bush and his failed economic policy for a lot of that.

But, since the Supreme Court held that corporations were afforded the same free speech protections as natural persons (a position I happen to agree with), corporations -- mostly headed by Republicans -- have poured billions into races across the country (anonymously, too, as the law does not require them to disclose who they are). They have tipped races in their favor and have victimized millions of Americans who lack the resources to make their voices heard. But, forced equality means a lack of freedom, so I consider inequality to be the price we pay to live in a free country. I know some will say that we don't really live in a free country given the enormous influence the powerful exerts on us ordinary citizens, but I think that in order to have quality, high-paying jobs and economic prosperity for those who don't have the entrepreneurial spirit or the means to create wealth, one has to acknowledge and allow that influence to be wielded. We voters simply have to become better educated on our own and to build strong and powerful coalitions of our own to resist that power when it is wielded in unethical or illegal ways.

Obama has disappointed many, including me, in many areas. But I believe so strongly that McCain and his fucking idiot running mate were so god-awful that Obama was the only sane choice. A McCain presidency would have meant endless war in Iraq, an invasion of Iran, and precious little done in Afghanistan (all adding up to a more dangerous national security picture). It would have meant the resumption of unchecked torture and extraordinary renditions. It would have meant the permanence of the unpaid-for Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. It would have meant a far deeper and longer-lasting recession or even a Depression. And, God help us, it would have meant putting a certifiable lunatic within one heartbeat of a mentally unstable, 73-year-old cancer survivor of becoming leader of the free world. That just was too frightening a prospect for me, and you must understand that I and many others will vote for Obama and EVERY OTHER DEMOCRAT who ever runs for president so long as that dim-witted, pathologically lying, end-times-obsessed, Evangelical Christianist beast has an opportunity to run for president.

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