To be fair, when Obama took office and inherited the Bush43 mess, the debt was $11.9 trillion, and after the Aug. 1 bipartisan debt ceiling agreement, the debt is now raised to $16.4. However, thanks to bipartisan compromise, this is one of the only debt ceiling increases that was accompanied by an even bigger cut in spending. That's an increase of 38% and it's quite a bit of dough. But, in Reagan's first three years, the debt went from $1.9 trillion to to $2.7 trillion, an increase of 42%. During Reagan's first three years, there was also a steep 14-month recession which saw 10.8% unemployment and a nearly 3% decline in GDP. And what did the daddy of all supply-siders do to prop up the economy? Why, spend and spend and spend (and raise taxes), which is what the government is supposed to do when the free markets don't perform the way they're supposed to, when people are out of work, and when interest rates are high.
So, in the comment thread to my friend's post, a couple of people (friends and former friends) made some pretty telling comments. The first, a former Los Angeles-based waiter (read: aspiring actor/writer) named Jason who now lives in "Whitebread," Idaho (read: failed actor/writer) tried to point out that Obama's contribution has been 35% (this is actually low, see above) and he'd only had three years to do that (see above again), and how facts just will bear out how awful Obama has been. Another, an HVAC contractor named Rod who lives in Los Angeles, wrote, "I am sure we will cure this subversive leadership plot in November 2012."
Uh, yeah right.
Let's look at that field again, shall we?
- Rick Perry -- TX governor. Three miserable debate performances after his much vaunted candidacy announcement, the shit-kicker has dropped in the polls, losing a lot of ground to Mitt Romney. He has never polled higher than the president, and if the trend continues, will lose the nomination to Romney.
- Mitt Romney -- former MA governor. He of the perfect hair and smile polls well against the president, but has so far not been able to overcome a general feeling of meh when it comes to his electability. He certainly will have trouble convincing the Christianist base that he shares their values, and if elected, will have major difficulty trying to walk a razor's edge between appealing to the base and actually governing. Plus, all that tripe about Obama's apologizing to the world for America is just utter bullshit, ain't it? Finally, his Mormon background really rubs the bible-thumpers the wrong way.
- Cain -- Angry pizza executive (and morning wine drinker). The winner of the Florida Straw Poll is a certifiable loony-tune. He has virtually no support from the GOP establishment, who are putting their energies into Perry and Romney. Should either of those two fail between now and the convention to ignite the GOP base, perhaps you'll see Cain taken more seriously.
- Huntsman -- former UT governor, former Obama ambassador to China. Another Mormon (although one quite a bit less orthodox), Huntsman has the attention of many small-c conservative pundits and establishment types. The problem is, his ties to Obama (which he may have effectively disavowed by now), his faith, and his inability thus far to appeal to anyone except the sensible types who are a weak minority in his party, make him unelectable at this point. Look for him to be a dark horse should the Mitt/Rick juggernaut run aground.
- The rest -- please, spare me.
The press and the right wing propaganda machine are fucking desperate. Even Perry's fundraisers are in a near panic. They have no one with both the broad-based appeal and intellectual rigor of the president, no one who is going to convince people to cross party lines and vote for him/her. This is what happens when a political party becomes a religious organization, when one of their major candidates pretty much launches his bid at a prayer rally, and when another has trouble with voters because he is the wrong religion. The GOP wants this election to be a referendum on their brand of conservatism, but we already experienced a less-egregious version of it from 2001 to 2009, and we fucking didn't like that either!
We may have had too much time spent on healthcare reform and Afghanistan, and we may have gotten too cozy with the same Wall Street banks that created this mess in the first place, and we may have too little time spent on trying to stimulate job creation, but if McCain had won -- and if a Republican wins in 2012 -- what we will get is more global recession, more collapsed economy, more corporate welfare, more deregulation of business, more economic hardship for the middle class, more war, more torture, more religious and ethnic intolerance, more government secrecy, less for public schools, less for college students, less for small business, less government transparency, and less for the arts. We will see the international goodwill Obama created after GW Bush completely undone. We will see US policy actually follow Israeli policy in the middle east instead of the other way around. And we will see greater restrictions on our freedom and access to information.
Folks on the left, like Cornell West, have floated suggestions of a primary challenger for Obama, but if they don't fall in line and get with the program, their worst nightmares will come true.