Just a few words of gratitude to a few people you may never have thought had a hand in making the recent victories in this 2012 election possible.
Just a few words of gratitude to a few people you may never have thought had a hand in making the recent victories in this 2012 election possible.
Will the choices we make November 6th be based on reality or fantasy
Well at long last we’ve arrived at the final week before the Presidential elections and the outcome looks like its going to be a close one. Most people have made their minds up and supposedly there are still a few holdouts that haven’t been able to determine where the candidates stand on issues they feel are important to them. Really? Did they just return to Earth last week or have they been ignoring all political commentary and the debates for better TV fare like Real House Wives or Pawn Stars?
The climate change link may be more than just more precipitation. A 2010 study found“Global warming is the main cause of a significant intensification in the North Atlantic Subtropical High.” Climate Central’s Andrew Freedman explains a possible influence:
Recent studies have shown that blocking patterns have appeared with greater frequency and intensity in recent years….
While it is not unusual to have a high pressure area near Greenland, its intensity is striking for this time of year. As Jason Samenow of the Capital Weather Gang wrote on Wednesday, the North Atlantic Oscillation, which helps measure this blocking flow, “is forecast to bethree standard deviations from the average — meaning this is an exceptional situation.”
” … if describing what you want to see happen without providing any specific policies to get us there constitutes a “plan,” I can easily come up with a one-point plan that trumps Mr. Romney any day. Here it is: Every American will have a good job with good wages. Also, a blissfully happy marriage. And a pony.” Pulitzer prize-winning Economist Paul Krugman
The presentations by the candidates in last night’s presidential debate should have removed any doubt who has the foreign policy strengths. Obama made distinctions that Romney could only agree with.
[On] July 12, Governor Mitt Romney [was] attending a GOP fundraiser hosted by former Vice President Dick Cheney at his home in Wyoming. It’s fitting, really, since Romney has called Cheney a “person of wisdom and judgment.”
[When Romney was considering] possible running mates, it’s worth remembering that he pointed to Dick Cheney as the “kind of person I’d like to have” working with him.
Out of Romney’s 24 special advisors on foreign policy, 17 served in the Bush-Cheney administration. If Romney were to win, it’s likely that many of these people would serve in his administration in some capacity — a frightening prospect given the legacy of this particular group. The last time they were in government, it was disastrous. SOURCE
There are no comparisons to be made. This is not like war or plague or a stock market crash. We are ill-equipped, historically and psychologically, to understand it, which is one of the reasons why so many refuse to accept that it is happening. What we are seeing, here and now, is the transformation of the atmospheric physics of this planet. – author George Monbiot
There’s an argument to be made that what Mitt Romney has done all of his life as a venture capitalist won’t significantly serve him in creating real job growth. This type of work entails providing capital, usually other people’s, for business start-ups or expansions. They look for a high rate of return for their investment but often know very little about the business they are risking other people’s money with.
Critics within his own Party have challenged his business skills referring to venture capitalists as vultures, who “sit there, and … wait until they see a distressed company, … then they swoop in and … pick the carcass clean and fly away,” says Texas Governor Rick Perry. Newt Gingrich said it really isn’t good capitalism. I think it’s exploitive. I think it’s not defensible,” he told reporters in South Carolina back in January.
Economist Dean Baker agrees with both Perry and Gingrich
Bain Capital is not about producing wealth but rather about siphoning off wealth that was produced elsewhere in the economy. There is no doubt that one individual or one company can get enormously wealthy if they are able to do this successfully. However you cannot have an entire economy that is premised on the idea that it will siphon off wealth produced elsewhere. SOURCE
So, not only is there reason to doubt that Romney’s business model will serve the nations’ need to create real job growth but it brings into question his ability to address perhaps the worst issue we and every other nation are currently facing – climate change from anthropogenic global warming.
I can imagine the heads of many people exploding at the thought of this. Huh? What’s that? Are you talking about what Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe and a few other politicians are calling “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated against the American people.”? Our nation desperately needs jobs and your raising the question about a hoax?
Yep. I am indeed. And here’s why.
GLOBAL WARMING IS NO HOAX!
Recent studies have shown that unless we start taking more dramatic steps to curb the CO2 content being emitted into our atmosphere from spent fossil fuels, the destruction from climate change on global societies “could claim the lives of 100 million people in the next two decades and lost economic prosperity in world economies would be measured in the trillions of dollars”
Findings contained in the “Climate Vulnerability Monitor”—a study sponsored by 20 nations and conducted by the humanitarian and development research organization DARA—point to unprecedented harm to human society and current economic development if runaway carbon emissions are not contained and new models of energy generation and consumption are not pursued.
“A combined climate-carbon crisis is estimated to claim 100 million lives between now and the end of the next decade,” the report said.
Oxfam International executive director Jeremy Hobbs told Reuters that the costs of political inaction on climate were “staggering”.
“The losses to agriculture and fisheries alone could amount to more than $500 billion per year by 2030, heavily focussed in the poorest countries where millions depend on these sectors to make a living,” he said. SOURCE
If this analysis turns out to be accurate, jobs will be the least of our worries in a few short years. It’s not that we won’t be busying ourselves with some kind of work but it will be that of making preparations to survive food and water shortages, not to mention attempts to barricade our borders from the hordes of people making their way to our shores to escape the serious consequences of climate change they have already encountered in their homelands, like Africa and third world nations on the Asian continent.
Not only does Romney have dubious credentials to spark economic growth for anyone other than the top 1% but he apparently doesn’t have an urgent sense of the threat that man-made global warming poses for civilization. Climate change, like many of the businesses he invested in, is not something Romney knows a great deal about.
To his credit he did say “that the world is getting warmer, [and] that human activity contributes to that warming.” But he’s clearly paying lip service to the threat of global warming when he confesses that he believes “there remains a lack of scientific consensus on the issue.”
FACT: 97.5% of climatologists who actively publish research on climate change responded yes when asked the question “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?“
The belief that there is no consensus by climate scientists on man’s contribution to climate change is scary in light of the facts that more than contradict this. This dangerously naive view is the same position that the Koch brothers and the CEO of Exxon/Mobil hold. These are people who have paid millions to various groups to dispute the climate science for obvious reasons that will impact their long-term economic self-interests. So for Romney to take this tact is to side with these nefarious corporate shills and risk the future of not only our economic survival but the survival of the planet itself, a risk that voters just can’t take.
So how would Romney the venture capitalist, who knows very little about this critical issue, take his Bain Capital expertise and try to employ it in the face of these likely catastrophic scenarios? Believing that people like Exxon/Mobil’s CEO Rex Tillerson and oil supply billionaires Charles and David Koch are the job creators, would he view 100 million lives as a necessary loss to insure the continued profits for those in the fossil fuel industry? Tillerson characterized these devastating climate change scenarios as something that “could be solved by adapting” to such risks. Easy for him and his wealthy cohorts to say who probably have secluded and well-stocked fortresses in remote areas around the globe when natural disasters occur.
It’s very likely that when many of these 100 million human beings start dying off that they will instinctively move to those regions that still have ample supplies of food and water. Western Europe and the North America would be two areas at the top of their list. Is it any wonder then that Romney and the GOP are diametrically opposed to any spending cuts for the military as part of any deal to reduce the deficit?
So it might not be outside the realm of probability to think that rather than taking the steps necessary to reduce man-made global warming, Romney would instead instinctively act on his business model that always seeks to assure the highest return on his investment? One way of doing this might be to advise the wealthy capitalist that share his aspirations to invest in all things related to security? Just think of all the job creation such activity will generate.
Why do we foolishly buy into the notion that people who have accumulated vast sums of wealth are necessarily smarter than those who don’t? Are material assets realistically the true measure of wisdom and insight? Obviously you must have a certain amount of genius to be a successful entrepreneur to create and run a productive enterprise but does this genius translate into all other fields of thought? If this line of thinking were true then why couldn’t you trust your heart valve replacement to your podiatrist? Both of them have earned a degree from an institution of higher learning.
Yet people like Rex Tillerson, the Koch brothers, Donald Trump and other prosperous people are weighing in on this issue of climate change as if they had equal insights into this phenomena at the same level as, say, Dr. James Hanson, who first laid out the threat of global warming to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works back in 1988.
Should somehow we find Romney winning the election next month, I would like to believe that he has been speaking out of both sides of his mouth over the last two years just to appease the various groups in order to win the nomination for more nobler purposes than what he has demonstrated thus far? I would like to believe that he is smarter than someone who thinks global warming is a hoax and that man-made climate change is not a conspiracy by Al Gore and a handful of scientist to get rich off of higher energy prices.
Wouldn’t it be nice if Romney’s strategy to create the 12 million jobs – a promise he has made but has yet revealed to anyone how he would go about it – were to be achieved by implementing the recommendations of those who strongly support reinvesting in cleaner, renewable energy sources? Not just here in the U.S. but around the globe, especially in those countries who will be hit the hardest by climate change. According to a 2008 United Nations Environment Program report we can transform our dying planet effected by fossil fuel consumption to a sustainable one by the next generation through the primary use of clean, renewable sources, IF we act now to reduce our use of dirty finite sources of energy.
Wouldn’t it be nice if Romney really was someone who did care about the 47% he says don’t pay taxes and are dependent on the government? Wouldn’t it be nice if his plans really did entail measures to refute those in Congress who continue to support Big Oil while stiff arming efforts to expand renewable energy sources to rebuild our economy?
Climate change from increased concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere is a threat to our livelihoods as well as the future of our children and grandchildren. Rather than the failed 20th century policy of trickle down economics and the 19th century belief that it’s “everyone for themselves”, wouldn’t it be nice if Romney was part of the 21st century thinking needed to prevent further deterioration to our ecosystem?
And now a little number to accommodate my post this morning sung to the tune of the Beach Boy’s “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”
(Yes, yes. It’s a little hammy but hey! Lyric writing is hard work, right Mrs. Romney?)
Wouldn’t it be nice if we were smarter
Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long
To change the ill effects of green house gases
In the kind of world where we belong
You know its gonna make our lives much better
If we could all just simply come together
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could wake up
In the morning when the day is new
No longer ever having feelings of worry
If we’ll still be here in 2052
Happy times together we’d be spending
If glacier melts were not soooooooo unending
Wouldn’t it be nice
Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true
Maybe then there wouldn’t be a single thing we couldn’t do
We could be healthy
And then we’d be happy
Wouldn’t it be nice
You know it seems the more we fight about it
It only delays the urgent need to change it
So quit talking about it
Let’s all save the ice
Good night deniers
Sleep tight skeptics
I feel like I’m in something of a Dickens Twilight Zone. Are we all being transported back to a time in human history when debtors prisons and workhouses for the poor were the norm in dealing with those lower income levels Mitt Romney has deemed the 47% not worthy of his concern?
We’re all familiar with that part of the Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, where Ebenezer Scrooge is approached by two gentlemen gathering donations during the Christmas holiday to help provide “some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time”. Scrooge frowns and shakes his head at the two men as they entreat him to donate. He tells the men to leave him alone after assuring them that such ne’er-do-wells can best be assisted by the prisons, workhouses, treadmills and poor laws that were still in place then.
I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned: they cost enough: and those who are badly off must go there.”
One of the gentlemen replied, “Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”
“If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides — excuse me — I don’t know that.” SOURCE
That last line about how Scrooge wasn’t even aware that conditions were so bad at those workhouses that “many [of the poor] would rather die” is symptomatic of very wealthy people who often view most poor people, especially those so destitute that they are homeless, as lazy derelicts and what aid they receive is more than they deserve. Some would view them as the secured caste in India, better known perhaps as “the untouchables”.
Those institutions Scrooge mentions were publicly supported. They were the harsh government efforts by which the poor were dealt with in early 19th century England. They are a far cry from what civilized Western societies offer today who treat people much more humanely and provide esteem-building incentives to overcome their poverty. For example:
The Poor Law was the Victorian answer to poverty [that] was enacted in 1834. Prior to passage of the New Poor Law, indigent care was the burden of individual parishes, but the new regulation required parishes to band together and create regional workhouses where the poor could apply for relief. Little more than prisons for the poor, workhouses were notorious for denying civil liberties, separating family members, and destroying human dignity. As a result, most of the poorest people went to great lengths in order to avoid this degrading solution. SOURCE
Though we have become more humane over the last two centuries there are signs that some segments within society would like to “Restore America” to a level and time where such humane assistance was not available. Take for example Mitt Romney’s comments recently in an 60 Minutes Interview with Scott Pelley:
Pelley: Does the government have a responsibility to provide health care to the 50 million Americans who don’t have it today?
Romney: Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance, people– we– if someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.
If I were Pelley I would have followed up this comment and asked Romney, “what about the aftercare these people will need Governor? Many can’t afford it and because of it will surely die”.
The refrain from many of those who will either be voting for Romney or against Obama is “Let ‘em die!” . Of course Romney and others within the GOP hierarchy would not be so brazen to simply say let them die but the policies they support are creating that very condition.
Those politicians who signed Grover Norquist’s No Tax pledge have agreed to shrink government small enough so it can be drowned in a bath tub. This means deep and lasting cuts to social welfare programs that provide “some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly …” Some recent news has revealed that this tactic is having the “Scrooge Effect”.
For generations of Americans, it was a given that children would live longer than their parents. But there is now mounting evidence that this enduring trend has reversed itself for the country’s least-educated whites, an increasingly troubled group whose life expectancy has fallen by four years since 1990.
The reasons for the decline remain unclear, but researchers offered possible explanations, including a spike in prescription drug overdoses among young whites, higher rates of smoking among less educated white women, rising obesity, and a steady increase in the number of the least educated Americans who lack health insurance. SOURCE
The conditions mentioned in this report, that scientist feel may be the causal factors for lower life expectancies for the country’s least-educated whites, are predominant in the South along with two adjoining states – Texas and Oklahoma. This has become a region of the country that routinely votes Republican in large numbers
Red staters love their tobacco and high fructose, fatty foods. A 2006-07 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health showed that those age 12 or older in 6 of the states in this region had a higher rate than the national average of 8.1 percent of people who had used an illicit drug in the last month. That region’s high school graduation rate was a full 8 points below the national average of 74.9%
Based on the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the national average for uninsured people was 18.4 percent in 2010. Half of the states in the South including Texas and Oklahoma had higher rates, with my home state of Texas leading all others at 25% – 1 in 4 Texans have no health care coverage. These rates will likely improve over time thanks in part to that “socialist” legislation Republicans are trying to repeal and derisively call “Obamacare”. The Congressional Budget Office projects that 32 million more people will have insurance by 2019.
What jumps out and grabs me the most in all of this is how this region of the country consistently votes against their own self-interests. In sheer numbers, these states draw in the larger share of public assistance programs than any other region.
In a NY Times article earlier this year, data revealed that “the share of Americans’ income that comes from government benefit programs, like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, more than doubled over the last four decades, rising from 8 percent in 1969 to 18 percent in 2009.” Take a look at the map below to see where the greatest concentration of these needs are located.
Click on image to interact
It quickly becomes clear that those areas of the country that routinely vote Republican are most dependent on welfare assistance; benefits that Republican elected officials routinely vote to reduce or eliminate altogether
Voters in this region also elect politicians that favor legislation that enriches corporations while ignoring matters that would reduce the effects of obesity, smoking, drug use and health insurance coverage. Regulations aimed at mollifying the ill effects of poor diets, smoking and pollution are always cited as government overreach by GOP representatives, often ignoring how the consequences of their actions are leading to the advanced death rates of those least-educated whites.
By getting these voters to support legislation and policies that diminishes their chances of survival, the Romneys of our age, the modern day Scrooges, have surreptitiously collaborated in reducing that surplus population who rely on Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare benefits; benefits they are entitled to.
Do the Grover Norquist loyalists think in terms of reducing this population to advance their own income status? Are they really unaware that these low and middle-income people who collect these benefits in most cases are part of that work force that enabled the 1% to acquire their fortunes? Without a labor force that earns a living wage there would be far less demand for the goods and services that businesses rely on to make a profit. Depriving them of the means to enhance their lives and become productive members of society is a short-sighted effort by those who actively seek to eliminate safety net coverage, vital resources for retirees and those who lack adequate health coverage. Such a strategy is bound to come back and bite the Scrooges of the world on the butt and ultimately pick their own pockets.
[T]he United States has experienced an upward redistribution so profound that it affects far more than incomes. Whole sectors of the economy and regions of the country have been decimated by these economic changes. The descent in all manner of social indexes is most apparent among poorly educated whites. Conservative commentator Charles Murray has documented in his new book the decline in marriage rates and family stability within the white working class. … While other Americans’ life expectancy has advanced, the life expectancy of whites without high school diplomas has declined since 1990 — by three years among men and five years among women.
The market is not just redistributing income in the United States, then. It is redistributing life. - Harold Meyerson
The two gentlemen who confronted Scrooge for a charitable donation were not buying into his statement that he was unaware of the deplorable conditions in the workhouses
“But you might know it,” observed the gentleman.
“It’s not my business,” Scrooge returned. “It’s enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people’s. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!”
It is only later, when confronted with his own mortality that Scrooge concludes that mankind is indeed his business more than he is willing to concede. We also discover that his assets are far greater than he had led us to believe as he gives generously to these two men later as well as to the Cratchits and his own family. What Scrooge learned was that accumulated wealth may indeed be an individual right but it doesn’t permit us to cut ourselves off from the rest of humanity.
Believing that we are independent of each other and that our success is based solely on our own actions is a bogus premise. Believing too that an unfettered free market is the sole answer to our economic survival ignores the lessons of history where human greed will always prevent a fair shake to allow a rising tide to lift all boats.
When the system fails, and it will because mankind has yet to create a singular equitable system, we need to allow those public resources to fill the voids where charities and local efforts alone can’t. No one should plan their life around the charity of others or rely on a public safety net to catch them when the economy falters. Common sense however tells us that inevitably there will be conditions that require some kind of system in place that can address this failure.
But neither should we have to fear that opportunities exists only for the fortunate ones who inherited their wealth or are a member of an advantaged group. The revered notion of an American dream does not mean we will all share equally in the wealth that free markets generate but it should ensure that mechanisms are in place to provide the necessities for good health and security without being an undue burden. Corporate interests must put people, especially their employees on a level plain with their profits. They are not mere objects for venture capitalists like Romney to dispose of in order to maximize their bottom line.
Until we can find a better economic substitute for the free market system, it will fall on the wealthiest amongst us during tough economic times like these to make necessary sacrifices. Not the 47% who Romney wants to ignore. These are usually the people who get squeezed the most, making it even more difficult to sustain a reasonable measure of security and good health. There are no throwaway human surpluses. Only those who are kept down by soul-less people who have contrived a misguided premise that we ” are all on our own.”
I routinely take on the right-wing crowd here in my part of red-state Texas by countering their skewered views about Obama, health care reform, the economy and climate change. During my hiatus I still take time to respond to this crowd in the local newspaper’s Opinion page. Their arguments are so open to factual criticism that it doesn’t take much effort to knock down their straw man positions. The following is an example of these rejoinders.
You’ll first need to do a quick read in the Denton Record-Chronicle’s “Letters to the Editor” column today of Danna Zoltner and D.J. Anderson’s letters. Here are my comments found at the bottom of the page responding to these two.
To Mr. Anderson and Ms. Zoltner
The so-called “job creators”, who are sitting on plenty of revenue that could create jobs are doing so not because they’re waiting for Obamacare to be repealed or they’re uncertain of what the tax structure will be. These kind of things can be overcome when there is plenty of demand.
The economy will grow from the middle out by making sure you don’t reduce the middle class or their spending power. The unemployment problem isn’t the result of any imagined high tax rates but because there is insufficient spending to create demand.
Any economists worth his degree will tell you that demand is what creates jobs and when you kill public sector jobs as the only means of reducing the deficit you kill income from families who spend it in the private sector. As their spending reduces then their demand is taken out of the economy and eventually it impacts many private sector businesses that relied on dollars earned by teachers, cops, firemen, along with engineers and assembly line workers at companies who developed and built things that relied on government contracts to keep them profitable.
Rather than take money away from the middle class that are barely able to stay above water with wages that have increased only fractionally to that of income earners in the top 5% tier, why not tax that 5% during these difficult times who can better adapt, at least until the economy is back on its feet. The austerity measures that the GOP wants to impose have already proved to be a failure where they’ve been employed in Europe.
Trying to pay down the debt with spending cuts only in areas that benefit millions of Americans and that puts money back into the economy will fail as long as there is no effort to also trim the massive Defense budget or increase taxes prudently. Author David Korten says “our social deficits (rising poverty and inequality) and environmental deficits (starting with the climate crisis) do more to erode our society than the fiscal deficit does.
Economists at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) have identified seven steps that would bring in $329 billion a year, which is more than enough to eliminate the deficit while making the country more equitable, green, and secure.
All this could be done without negatively impacting the income and thus the spending power of the middle class, the economists at the IPS assure us. By reinstating this spending, Mr. Anderson, is how you “build the economy from the middle class out.”
While corporate profits are at all time highs most of this money remains in the pockets of the very wealthy rather than creating jobs with. In fact, due to the European debt crisis it has been reported that now only 23 percent of the firms polled in June plan to add to staff in the next six months. This is down 13% from earlier this year in March and early April.
Back in 2010, while middle income families were losing their jobs and watching their paychecks and health benefits shrink, “American businesses sucked in profits at an annualized pace of $1.66 trillion between July and September. These profits allowed about a 6% increase in CEO pay last year while the average workers income increased only about 1%, “not enough to keep pace with inflation”.
And Ms. Zoltner, though you may be concerned that “the American taxpayer has gotten precious little for the administration’s investment in battery-powered vehicles, in terms of permanent jobs or lower carbon dioxide emissions”, efforts to change this are in play. Despite your mimicking of the naysayers, Ford, according to Bloomberg news, is “debuting five battery-powered models this year, spending $135 million to design electric-drive parts and double battery testing capacity”.
“Ford has said hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and all-electric cars will account for as much as 25 percent of its new vehicle sales by 2020, from less than 3 percent last year. The second- largest U.S. automaker is competing in the nascent market for electrified vehicles with Toyota, General Motors, Nissan and startups such as Tesla and closely held Fisker Automotive.
Ford said it plans to hire “dozens” of additional engineers for electric-vehicle development. It’s also renaming its 285,000-square-foot (26,477-square-meter) advanced engineering center in Dearborn, Mich., the “Ford Advanced Electrification Center.” SOURCE
You know, it took years for the fossil fuel industries to finely provide abundant cheap energy. Efforts that required plenty of government subsidies along with private investments. I am curious why you and others who think like you, are not willing to allow the same to occur with clean, abundant alternate forms of energy.
But it seems some people would rather distort certain realities and rely on the failed policies of trickle down economics that the Romney/Ryan ticket would recreate in spades.
They are part of the crowd that Bill Clinton eloquently pointed in his speech at the Democratic Convention earlier this month who are essentially saying, “We left [Obama] a total mess. He hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough. So fire him and put us back in.”
“In Tampa, the Republican argument against the president’s re-election was actually pretty simple — pretty snappy. It went something like this: We left him a total mess. He hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough. So fire him and put us back in.” – Bill Clinton’s speech at 2012 Democratic National Convention
No doubt Bill Clinton’s comments speaking to the delegates at the Democratic National Convention was on par with Michelle Obama’s as being the most inspiring and revealing speech about President Obama and the challenges he faces from the Republicans. But unlike the First Lady, Clinton I think more accurately framed the narrative that Americans needs to hear. Fact checkers can pick at his details but the basic message is sound and in my opinion, represents the reality of who and what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are all about.
That opening quote of his at the top of this page is perhaps the clearest synopsis I’ve seen yet of the GOP’s strategy if they regain the oval office. Line after line of Clinton’s convention speech was spot on and laconic. It was not laden with the legalese that lawyers and politicians hiding something often use and it was in this folksy vernacular that gives it its strongest appeal
In the Romney/Ryan 5-point plan to fix the economy there is nothing outlined that suggest how they will achieve what he proposes. In fact, the proposals are so generic that you can just as easily extrapolate them over to the Democratic platform.
It can honestly be said that though Obama’s speech was only slightly more specific on how he would achieve his goals, he was, in the words of Slate’s John Dickerson, “far more [straight-talking] than his Republican rival”.
Romney and Ryan talked about hard choices, but only in the abstract, never really pointing out that it was the people who would have to endure the hard results of those choices. Obama was more up front. Restoring the middle-class dream would require sacrifice and struggle from everyone, the president said. ”The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place.” This speech was more like the one he gave on election night in Chicago: hard, clear-eyed, and earthbound.
Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney wanted points at their convention for the promise that they would tackle hard truths once they got into office. Obama wanted points for already having embraced hard truths. “I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth.” SOURCE
You can read the full 68 pages of the GOP platform to get the details on this but Clinton puts it more succinctly and without all of the lipstick and lace.
“they want to do the same old policies that got us in trouble in the first place. They want to cut taxes for high- income Americans, even more than President Bush did. They want to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bailouts. They want to actually increase defense spending over a decade $2 trillion more than the Pentagon has requested without saying what they’ll spend it on. And they want to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially programs that help the middle class and poor children.”
Regarding that part about the $2 trillion extra they claim the Pentagon requested without knowing what it was going to be spent on, a CNN Money report back in May confirmed this and stated that this “lack of detail means that Romney’s claim of moving toward a balanced budget requires a great deal of trust.”
The Romney/Ryan ticket does indeed rely on voters to “just trust us” while they try to redirect the argument back to their talking point about how Obama has failed to keep his promises made to the American people back in 2008. One of those promises Romney claims was when the “newly elected President Obama told America that if Congress approved his plan to borrow nearly a trillion dollars, he would hold unemployment below 8 percent.” Politifact.com debunked this notion on more than one occasion as it was made by various other Republican leaders. What’s truly interesting though is that of the some 500 promises that Obama is supposed to have made, 83 of them (or 16%) that have yet been kept, according to Politifact.com’s count, are promises that not only are absent in Romney’s criticism of the President but are mostly those that Romney and the GOP support, like not closing GITMO or ending the Bush tax cuts
At the heart of this attack however is that Obama has failed to resolve our great economic recession in less than 4 years in office. Though his efforts to reshape the economy have misfired some of the times and many American’s public finances are suffering, writers for The Economist say holding the president solely responsible for our current state isn’t an accurate assessment.
To say Obama blew it “is not a fair judgment on Mr Obama’s record, which must consider not just the results but the decisions he took, the alternatives on offer and the obstacles in his way. Seen in that light, the report card is better. His handling of the crisis and recession were impressive.” SOURCE
Those “obstacles in his way” mentioned by The Economist are the recalcitrant GOP who have opposed nearly every policy and piece of legislation put forth by the Obama administration since the Republicans won a majority in the House back in 2010. Long before that however he’s been attacked by the corporate-backed TEA Party who lost sight of those responsible for the bailout of America’s financial institutions and what caused their unraveling that led to the worst recession since the early 1930’s. Any actions perceived to address our economic woes by the GOP have been guided too strongly by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell’s Party fiat that placed a “top political priority” on making President Obama a one-term president. He reiterated this on FOX News seven months later stating that it was still his major objective “along with every active Republican in the country.”
In their abuse of the filibuster and delaying tactics to block Presidential appointments through the advise and consent procedure, Republicans have aimed “to embarrass the president and hobble his ability to run the executive branch”, according to the authors of the book, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With The New Politics of Extremism by Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein (p. 100) In so doing they can make the president appear incompetent to the public and malign him on news shows to create a poor image to voters.
… since 2006, but especially since Obama’s inauguration in 2009, the filibuster is more often a stealth weapon, which minority Republicans use not to highlight an important national issue but to delay and obstruct quietly on nearly all matters, including routine and widely supported one. It is fair to say that this pervasive use of the filibuster has never before happened in the history of the Senate. Mann and Ornstein – p.89 (emphasis mine)
The Party has been further aided in undermining Obama’s presidency with the Citizens United decision that lets huge sums of money into political campaigns. Karl Rove’s super Pac, American Crossroads GPS, for example told potential donors that they would conduct “in-depth research on congressional expense account abuses”, to blame Democrats for “failed border controls” and to frame the BP oil spill as “Obama’s Katrina.” Then of course there has been the complicity of many news outlets that promote Republican talking points or fail to do journalistic due diligence and research many of the claims made by Republican talking heads.
What voters need to take away from this campaign is the understanding of what Obama really did and didn’t promise, which seems to unnerve the GOP candidates. The promises Obama made in 2008, like the one’s he made last Thursday night, require active participation and the willingness by every capable soul to help in that endeavor. No one man can do everything alone nor should he be expected to or have blame laid solely at his feet. It was the understanding that with everyone’s help that such promises could reasonably be achieved. It is in part those of us who had expectations beyond the realm of reality that are at fault for our disappointment that the economy has not rebounded better than we hoped.
For anyone to assume their job is done once their vote is cast is a level of apathy only slightly higher than one who doesn’t vote at all or chooses not to get involved with the political process in any way. But even worse are those people who not only sit on their hands but who actively engage in preventing any forward motion, even if they don’t like the guy. Saying it’s a wrong-headed policy before it’s been given a chance and based only on ideological views is part of the political back-and-forth between political adversaries. But for those who actively engage in obstructionist practices that stymie those legitimate efforts simply to enhance their own political agenda, borders, in my opinion, close to treason.
That leaves me closing with Bill Clinton who has made the best expression of these unhealthy, hurtful actions by the GOP leadership.
Now, there’s something I’ve noticed lately. You probably have too. And it’s this. Maybe just because I grew up in a different time, but though I often disagree with Republicans, I actually never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate our president and a lot of other Democrats.
When times are tough and people are frustrated and angry and hurting and uncertain, the politics of constant conflict may be good. But what is good politics does not necessarily work in the real world. What works in the real world is cooperation. What works in the real world is cooperation, business and government, foundations and universities.
Folks, whether the American people believe what I just said or not may be the whole election. I just want you to know that I believe it. With all my heart, I believe it.
READ BILL CLINTON”S ENTIRE SPEECH HERE