More On Why I Can't Support Obama's Renomination (12/30/10)

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More On Why I Can't Support Obama's Renomination (12/30/10)

Postby Ferguson Foont » Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:50 am

I suppose this will be my last editorial for 2010.

To give credit where it's due, Barack Obama is an absolutely marvelous orator. Unfortunately, skill with words and oral presentation do not necessarily go hand-in-hand either with the political skills necessary to achieve real goals or with foresight, and it is particularly in this latter quality where Barack Obama is lacking.

Now, I am forced to conclude that Obama's "real goals" were not merely the number of things he can claim as "achievements," but rest instead on the quality and the impact of those so-called achievements. For example, health care reform was supposed to provide actual health care for individuals who, for various reasons including the current state of their health or employment status were otherwise unable to obtain it. It was NOT intended to force everyone to buy into private insurance policies, but he still numbers this as an "achievement." Similarly, financial industry "reform" was supposed to rein in the wild-west behavior of banks and investment houses and stop the obscene compensation awarded to those who placed clients in the greatest risk, but although this was passed by Congress and is numbered as an "achievement," it has instead only served to protect, at tremendous taxpayer expense, precisely those behavior patterns it was supposed to eliminate. Credit Card "reform" has only changed the names of the unjust fees charged by lenders without actually inhibiting the fees and usurious interest rates themselves, as we desired. The list of such spurious achievements goes on and on and on...

But, as I have said before, the straw that broke this camel's back was when Obama turned his back on his biggest campaign promise of all and permitted the Bush tax cuts to be extended, and indeed enhanced for those at the top of the income spectrum who need such largesse least. This is at a time when we are running a ruinous deficit that can be bandied about as "irresponsible" by Republican candidates who seek to deceive the public with such deceptive complaints. He gave in before the battle was even begun to be joined, akin to punting on first down or conceding a strikeout after the umpire calls "Strike One."

The foolishness, the utter naivete, of this strategy was made clear on the Republicans' quick capitulation on the START Treaty and the 9/11 responders bill. Had their petulance actually threatened to end the middle class tax cuts in the Democratic package, by the end of the session Republicans would certainly have folded. They know what jeopardy it would have put them in during their OWN primaries when faced with the charge that their insistence on making the rich richer cost the middle class their tax cuts. But Obama folded before the session even remotely approached nitty-gritty time.

This makes the rich richer, but the underlying cause of our current economic woes -- the factor that lies at their very heart -- is that the rich already take too much of our finite pie, and too little is left in the hands of American workers to sustain American markets. This tax bill makes this worse, and so makes recovery less likely.

But there was worse stuff in this bill, which is, alas! now law just than just giving away the contents of our depleted treasury to the rich again, just as Bush would have done. The worst thing was a "compromise" added to it in an effort to mollify working Americans -- the cut to the payroll tax that funds Social Security.

Although the argument was always highly dubious, Republicans have attacked Social Security benefits on the grounds that its funding is shaky over the long term. This was almost certainly untrue (unless our economy NEVER recovers, which although possible ought not enter into this argument because it's so unthinkable), but the argument has gained considerable traction largely through endless repetition and amplification through the right-wing echo chamber.

But now, by reducing the collection of SS revenue by 2%, it becomes much closer to reality, and any date of insolvency is brought that much closer. Of course, the only "reform" ever discussed involve a reduction to Social Security benefits and delays to the retirement age. Nobody ever even talks about applying FICA deduction to all types of income or removing the cap on the earnings against which it is assessed, which of course would end any threat to its solvency forever, but Obama in his spinelessness (masquerading as "pragmatism") has permitted Republicans to completely define the frame of this and many other arguments.

Even in the "compromises" Obama has exacted from the Republicans (who, if you'll recall, were deeper in minority status in the departing congress than any party has been for many years), are of the type Br'er Bear made with Br'er Rabbit: "Oh PLEASE don't throw me in that briar patch!" Republicans have looked to kill Social Security since Roosevelt first enacted it, and this may cost it a good part of its political support. We just obligingly threw them into their comfy briar patch.

I cannot support a President who had such power, and such genuine authority given to him by the electorate, and let it be taken from him without helping the people who elected him, and I cannot support a President who is so naive and feckless in dealing with a very weak opposition. I will support any real Democrat who promises to be a fighter for our working people instead of a pawn of the same rich that we so favored so heavily by Obama's predecessor.

Obama has betrayed me and everyone like me, and I will never forget and never forgive. If he wins our nomination I will probably have to support him over Palin or Pawlenty or Gingrich or whatever cruel minion the Republicans nominate just out of a feeling of sheer patriotism -- I will NOT accede to having such a thing happen to my country; it might signal the actual end of American sovereignty -- but I genuinely hope I don't have to and we can nominate a real Democrat for the first time since, since ....

Republicans whine and Republicans bitch: "Our rich are too poor, and our poor are too rich."
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Ferguson Foont
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