Sunday, July 29, 2012

If Obama loses the election, here’s why

Sunday morning in the Opinion section of the Washington Post ,there was an interesting article analyzing the three factors that may cost  President Obama reelection in 2012.

 I must confess, before reading the piece I was initially apprehensive: Yet another Obama hater coming out the woodwork with irrationality disguised as honest critique.

At this point in time, my anti-Obama fatigue is running high. 

Why? First of all, it is very disingenuous: The most verbal anti-Obama mob is the GOP party (and their deep pocket lobbyist). This crowd created the economic crisis -- worse since the Great Depression -- refused to lift a finger in bipartisan support and have gone out their way to stall our recovery.

So, any Obama critique from this crowd is dismissed as fiction or much worse propaganda by me. 

But lo and behold, I must say: If Obama loses the election, here's why is right on point. And -- to borrow the authors title -- here's why I agree:

First things first, the three major Obama mistakes/miscalculations: (link to article)

  • Obama’s first mistake was inviting the Republicans to the table. The GOP had just decimated the economy and had been repudiated by voters to such an extent thatfew Americans wanted to admit that they were registered Republicans. Yet Obama, with his penchant for unilateral bipartisanship, refused to speak ill of what they had done. The American people wanted the perpetrators of the Great Recession held accountable, and they wanted the president and Congress to enact legislation to prevent Wall Street bankers from ever destroying the lives of so many again. Instead they saw renewed bonuses — and then they saw red. 
  • The second mistake was squandering the goodwill that Americans felt toward the new president and their anxiety about an economy hemorrhaging three-quarters of a million jobs a month. That combination gave Obama, at the beginning of his term, a power to shape public policy that no one since Franklin Roosevelt had held. But instead of designing a stimulus that reflected the thinking of the country’s best economic minds, he cut their recommended numbers by a third and turned another third into inert tax cuts designed to appease Republican legislators whose primary aim was to defeat him. He stimulated the economy — but just enough to leave the results open to interpretation, rendering questionable what should have been an uncontested success.
  • The third way the administration created opportunities for Republican obstructionism will someday become a business-school case study: It let a popular idea — a family doctor for every family — be recast as a losing ideological battle between intrusive government and freedom. 
The author -- Drew Weston --does add: 

Obama has every reason to feel underappreciated. Both the stimulus and health-care reform were kinda-sorta the right policies. The stimulus was not, as conservatives have convinced many of their fellow Americans, big government on steroids; it was Keynesian economics on birth control. It did not restore the 8 million jobs lost to the crash of 2008 or provide the 200,000 jobs a month needed for new entrants into the labor market, but it did prevent a second Great Depression. The health-care law was no more a prelude to a long march to European-style socialism than the similar bill Richard Nixon proposed 40 years ago — or the law Romney enacted as his greatest legacy to the people of Massachusetts.


The president acknowledged as much this month in an interview with Charlie Rose for CBS. When asked about the biggest mistake of his first term, he replied it was his belief that “this job was just about getting the policy right. And that’s important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.”
To his credit, Obama has been telling a much better story over the past several months about the challenges ahead and why he deserves a second term. “We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by,” he declares in his new campaign message, “or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”
The common theme: As President Bush use to like to quote -- Elections matter -- Obama should have stayed bold and not allowed the GOP to rearm/reboot. He won the election, with a mandate, and he should have governed that way. In my opinion: he spent/wasted too much political capital trying to play nice with the GOP. Especially, considering all they wished for him was failure.

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