- Economic policy
- Healthcare policy
- Foreign policy
- Energy policy
To not understand these issues is to cast an uninformed vote.
Integrity, ethics, leadership and competence are obviously other concerns in any election. Their influence permeates much of Mr. Lester’s discussion.
After careful consideration, Mr. Lester reaches an unequivocal conclusion:
In the face of four years of an administration more intent in attempting to spin its failures as signs of recovery, the killing of Osama bin Laden as the pronouncement that terrorism is no longer a threat, and the blatant disregard for the suffering of 24 million Americans unemployed, underemployed and feeling hopeless, it’s time for change.
Lester, like me, has plenty of reasons not to vote for the re-election of Obama. His decision, like I suspect for many other voters, is less a vote for Romney than a vote against the madness to which Obama has subjected the country.
At this point, thinking and reasonably informed voters might prefer Eastwood’s empty chair instead of our current empty suit.
Submitted by Tom Lester:
During the presidential campaign of 2008 I listened to news commentators exclaim the great attributes of this unknown African-American from Illinois, who burst into the limelight by giving a rousing speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. He was a politician but little was known beyond the window dressing about his past and little concern was paid his political life as an Illinois state senator that stair-stepped him into the U.S. Senate.
However, here, all rolled into one, was the opportunity to display to the world how tolerant, non-racial and progressive the main stream media was. They had a candidate they could fawn over and praise his superiority. He was Black – no other African-American had ever truly had a chance at ascending to the presidency. He was bi-racial – the media had hated Bush and here was a man of Muslim fathering who guaranteed he could bridge the gulf between the U.S. and the world’s Muslim community. And oh, was he so eloquent of speech! Someone who could speak that loftily must also be a great leader.
I looked at this adulation with a jaundiced eye, in part because of his rapid ascendancy, the limited number of former friends and classmates to come forth with any comments, and the lack of specifics of the meaning of “transform America”. As has been the case in previous presidential elections, the speeches have always promised the end of the Washington establishment, the beginning of compromise between the parties, the end of lobbyists and the advent of total transparency. Always in the past, the bark has been proven entirely without any bite. The soaring rhetoric of the candidates, election after election, preached changing Washington, but has been simply unfulfilled rhetoric. But this presidential term has been different. He has changed Washington but not in the positive way in which he claimed he alone could do.
Many who might read my words might accuse me of magnifying every conceivable fault with his presidency and espousing only the negative. But I was honestly pleased that America had elected its first Black president. No longer could any man or woman claim that racial prejudice prevented them from achieving the ultimate that life could deliver. And I refrained from comment for six months hoping that the lofty rhetoric of the campaign would diminish into reasoned governance, the task of tackling the most pressing problems of our nation, a stagnant economy and jobs, as these became the focus of the new president. There remained hope that my skeptical fears would be unfounded.
Thus, I want to enumerate the things for which I think corroborate my current beliefs. A book outlining the failures could better explore all the concerns I have but time grows short and I’ll suffice in this article to limiting it to the Economy, Health Care Legislation, Energy Policy and Foreign Policy. Obviously I can’t know precisely what goes on in the mind of the president but I can speculate. Whether these speculations are 100% accuracy will likely never be known but they are worthy of consideration and demand answers.
Going into 2009 the major problems were the stagnant economy and growing unemployment due to the loss of jobs and housing meltdown. I think he truly thought the economy, through the private sector, would begin to recover of its own volition. It had before and he reasoned it would again. The problem, however, was that if a laissez-faire approach was taken it would yield nothing politically for which the president could take credit. When the blame game had been the focus of the campaign and the president therefore choose to do nothing, an economic recovery would not have his thumbprint for a declared victory. Doing nothing was an admission that his judgment was in error contrary to the pronouncement of the campaign. So what could be done to allow a declaration of credit?
The devised Stimulus package would allow the president to declare success. States, with decreased tax revenues in a slow economy, needed funding of their social programs and education. A large percentage of Stimulus funding could be directed to the states. It would also accomplish a goal of showing the Federal government could help maintain the size of states’ bureaucracies without significant job loss. The Stimulus, however, had to be sold and the “shovel-ready” moniker was employed to sell the program for the improvement of infrastructure repair and restoration. It would add private sector jobs, or at least maintain some, at the discretion and direction of the Federal government. Ironically, when new jobs couldn’t be claimed the Administration changed the terminology from jobs “created” to jobs “saved”.
With the Stimulus in place and believing the private sector would recover the president could now turn his attention to his grander schemes to bring the Federal bureaucracy into control of 30% or more of the economy.
Did the president divert his attention away from the most important issues facing this country?
Health Care Legislation
An issue in the 2008 campaign was health care insurance costs, which had escalated dramatically, and were ripe for the picking. There was never a question of whether Obamacare could be passed and enacted into law. The Democrats had the White House, the House and Senate but the potential law had to be simply explained to win a majority support of the American people. Thus began the president’s speeches to proclaim its merits. Probably this piece of legislation and the ensuing national debate contributed as the single most-probable reason for the birth of the Tea Party.
The speeches didn’t work and the outcry to Congressional members was constant and compelling, but the president rolled the dice believing Obamacare was one of his mandates in the 2008 election. But this voter opposition was the prime reason that the majority in the House swung from his Democratic control in 2010. Had he not had a majority in Congress or if he truly wanted to create bi-partisan legislation, Obamacare, with its complex bureaucracy and high cost, would never have passed.
Despite the constitutionality ruling of the Supreme Court, Obamacare continues to be an issue toxic to the Democrats as witnessed by its absence in virtually any of the national campaigns and several incumbent Democrats will likely be retired as a result of a Republican opponent whose ad campaign says, “Opposed to Obamacare”. It was a risk of the new president, propelled by an agenda for bigger government, which will likely give majority control to his opposition and the potential of his own presidency ending after four years.
Were you to ask the unemployed, the underemployed and those who have given up searching for employment, are they happy the president focused on Obamacare instead of the economy and jobs, what would be their answer?
Another of the president’s pet projects was Cap and Trade. He loved green energy and seems very willing to pay taxpayer dollars proving it. To the Coal Industry he stated that if someone wanted to put in a coal-fired power plant, they’d go bankrupt in the process. In his mind, the BP oil well disaster in the Gulf was god sent to show his concern for the environment and postpone exploration of oil and decrease its drilling nationally. Under the guise of avoiding future oil spill disaster, he virtually eliminated drilling permits on public land and declared a moratorium on deep-sea drilling. He stalled the building of the Keystone Pipeline after three years of intensive study.
More efficient cars, preferably electric, was a big push for the administration. When the rhetoric of “inflate your tires” didn’t work, the auto bailout provided a perfect opportunity for slapping big business and rewarding the unions with ownership in General Motors and Chrysler for concessions. Bond holders were told to take a hike. He was able to push through the GM Volt in the agreement, a $40,000 car but requiring a Federal income tax credit of up to $7,500 for people to even consider purchasing it.
Senators Dianne Feinstein (CA), Susan Collins (ME) and Charles Schumer (NY), then came up with the brilliant idea to retire up to one million “gas guzzlers” and save up to 80,000 barrels of fuel per day. To incentivize it, a $4,500 credit was offered toward the purchase of a more efficient model. The guzzler would be scrapped, getting it off the road forever. Of course, the result was the demand, and cost, for used cars escalated.
Another segment of his green energy push was solar and wind power. His attempts to pick winners and losers in solar panel manufacturing was another debacle, as Solyndra and other companies, closed their doors, fired their employees, and cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens had the big idea in 2008 with his answer to help get America off foreign oil imports with wind energy. Two years later, he abandoned wind for natural gas when the billionaire’s plans for the world’s largest wind farm fell apart in the Texas Panhandle.
Renewable energy will eventually become cost effective and replace a part of our carbon-based fuels when the required technology is developed by the capitalistic system, rather than Washington bureaucrats who could have better results using a oujia board. That time is not at hand and further Federal expenditures for solar panel manufacturing plants is foolish – good money spent after bad.
Has the president’s push for green energy shown any significant results in reducing our dependence on foreign oil?
The speech in Cairo, termed his Muslim Outreach, was perhaps a sincere attempt to enlist Muslim countries to criticize and more closely police terrorist groups existing in those countries. However, in the effort to earn agreement, he went with hat-in-hand apologizing for the U.S. with the president’s view of its past imperialism. With the ability to give a soaring speech in English, and the acceptance he received in Europe prior to his election, the president believed through the accounts and reviews of his masterful oratory, that he need only give a speech and mountains would move. And thus, with the press of the Cairo speech, he inaccurately believed that the Muslim world would respond to his wishes.
Probably only a bit less than our servicemen and their families, no one wants more their permanent return from Iraq and Afghanistan than I. However, terming Iraq as the wrong war and Afghanistan as the right war didn’t exactly send a good message to our servicemen. Put yourself in their shoes. If you had served in Iraq how would you like to have your president telling you that you had been engaged in the wrong war? And if Afghanistan was the right war, wouldn’t you want to take the advice of your ground commanders on the scene and support them with the amount of troops they argued they needed?
With the president’s Muslim Outreach, the former support the U.S. has given Israel, in the president’s mind, is a stumbling block to seeing the Muslim community acquiesce to his grand scheme. He wants to have friendly relations with these countries and thinks continued support of Israel will sabotage the potential. So he has chosen to deliberately and slowly sever the ties with Israel hoping that the action will bring the Muslim countries into orbit.
When the Iranians took to the streets by the thousands in the cities of Iran, opposing the state brutality of its theocracy dictatorship, couldn’t the president have at least spoken against the arrests and injuries by the regime retaliating for the demonstrations. This, contrary to the later demonstrations, might have yielded at least the potential for a form of a secular democracy in Iran. But presumably the president calculated that his silence would render concessions by the Iranian government in the move to curtail uranium enrichment and development of a nuclear bomb.
However, as the Arab Spring was unfolding in Egypt, the president was anxious to voice support for the uprising, only later to discover the Muslim Brotherhood was the driving force intent on establishing a theocracy preaching for the elimination of Israel. Even later, without identifying the makeup of the rebels in Libya, the president committed air support only to discover the rebels were heavily influenced by al-Qaeda and other associated Muslim terrorist organizations.
Nowhere did this influence become more evident that in the recent attack of the U.S. embassy in Benghazi and the murder of four Americans. But when the president had supported the Arab Spring and that support was shown to conflict with his envisioned objectives, he needed a fall guy. Enter a negative Muhammad video and blame it as the source of spontaneous demonstrations, continuing to advance this line long after it was discredited.
And no one should forget what has been termed the Russian Reset. What exactly was the president proposing to Putin?
Has the president’s rhetoric provided enhanced security for the United States and its ally Israel, an end to Iran’s nuclear development and capability, and destruction to al-Qaeda and other associated Muslim terrorist organizations? Or more importantly, would Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens have knowingly surrendered his life and the lives of three other Americans for sake of the president’s re-election campaign?
As I earlier wrote, I can’t know the philosophical and political beliefs and driving forces that are the impetus of the president’s policies. There is, however, no need to speculate on the nature and tone of those policies. They imitate European socialistic policies that have departed from capitalism and today threaten the very existence of Europe. The U.S., like several countries in Europe, is faced with staggering debt and mounting deficits that will totally strangle our economy and enslave children and grandchildren for generations.
In the face of four years of an administration more intent in attempting to spin its failures as signs of recovery, the killing of Osama bin Laden as the pronouncement that terrorism is no longer a threat, and the blatant disregard for the suffering of 24 million Americans unemployed, underemployed and feeling hopeless, it’s time for change. None of us can predict with any certainty that our historians, and more importantly us, will remember Mitt Romney as a great president, or even a good one, but when your team is losing miserably you change the coach. The president may have a decent jump shot or an improved golf score, but he has demonstrated his abilities are as empty as the chair Clint Eastwood engaged in conversation.
Will you use logic and reason in accepting the responsibility of answering these questions?