Tag Archives: President Obama

Obama: Getting his Sea Legs back

This week, new polling and other data would seem to show President Barack Obama is starting to regain the mojo many thought he lost in the recent past.

Obama Approvals go up

At the root of this resurgence, obviously, is the economy.

Unemployment is trending down, the stock market is trending up.

It looks like people are finally starting to buy the president’s vision. A New York Times/CBS News poll says half those surveyed approve of his performance.

Economic Growth Gives Lift to Obama in NYT/CBS Poll
Economic Growth Gives Lift to Obama in NYT/CBS Poll

Just as important, the same poll says those who are optimistic about the economy outnumber those who feel the other way by double digits.

Just last September, pessimists outnumbered optimists by three to one. With the deal on the payroll tax cut extension all but done, those who follow politics see some shifts in the winds. President Obama has played hardball with congressional Republicans, just as many on his progressive flank have hoped he would. Only days after signalling big problems in the tax cut extension, Republicans suddenly decided that co-operation was in their interest.

There’s no doubt that a stagnating unemployment rate, rising gas prices, or other economic setbacks could strengthen his opponents and hurt his momentum. Yet Barack Obama wasn’t even seriously damaged by the GOP’s attempt to make hay over the latest battle in the culture wars, the fight over contraception.

Next stop for the Republican presidential hopefuls is sure to be the defense budget. Yet even here, the president has an advantage in that some congressional Republicans have advocated some of the same downsizing he proposes.

If there’s one true indicator that Barack Obama again firing on all cylinders (pardon the metaphor) it’s this.

Mitt Romney had to return to Michigan, the state where he grew up, and explain why he thought two of the nation’s three big carmakers should simply be allowed to go under. In an op-ed piece for the New York Times, Let Detroit Go Bankrupt, Romney said he favored a managed bankruptcy, which is precisely what his president engineered.

Beyond that, imagine having to tell people in a city like Detroit that helping the auto industry, which saved over 160,000 jobs, was the wrong thing to do.

Let’s hope the good news for President Obama keeps coming. What do you think?

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Are Progressives Wimps?

Do Progressives need to learn how to fight? Progressives (and I count myself among them) do fight, it’s just that too often the fight is among ourselves.

democrats_republicans_head_to_head_hg_wht

Meanwhile, the opposition goes to town. Whether it’s the birthers, tea parties, or disrupting town hall meetings, the Right acts…and we react.

I’ve seen a lot of media about why progressives, liberals, whatever…always seem to be on the back foot. All I know is, it’s time for that to change.

Progressives in the US stand to lose the battle over healthcare reform because there was no unified game plan ahead of time to fight for what we wanted (single payer, universal care). And I guarantee you, whether reform is passed or not, conservatives will claim victory. And well they should. They were better organized.

It’s true they hijacked the discussion on healthcare with half truths, faulty rhetoric, and straight up lies.

And no one, least of all me, wants to match them lie for lie. I don’t think progressives have to go that way. Yet the infrastructure they’ve built to spread their doctrine on a number of issues (the stimulus will bankrupt America, Obama was born in Kenya, the death panels) merits some scrutiny.

Believe it or not, I receive some of their stuff via e-mail. One thing you realize right off the bat. Conservatives never admit defeat. When the stimulus bill passed, they didn’t waste time with recriminations or blame passing. They told their followers, “you made a difference”. And then prepared them for the next battle. Sure, there may be some behind the scenes finger pointing, but when you’re fighting and fundraising at the same time, it pays to give the rank and file a sense of purpose.

Progressives can learn from this. The most important lesson, in my humble judgment, is to act rather than react. We can make fun of birthers and hostile healthcare reform opponents, but our message gets lost. The fact that, with few exceptions, there was little vocal presence in favor of single payer at most town halls to date points up the depth of the problem.

WE NEED TO LEARN HOW TO FIGHT!

Batmans

That means fighting to win, and fighting not with fists, but ideas for the long term health of the nation. We are engaging in battle on the enemy’s terms when we don’t stake out clear positions and act on them before they do.

We also need to fight with every means at our disposal. That means, and I’ve said this many times before, engaging progressive people of color on a level we don’t now see. We have groups of white progressives, black progressives, Latino progressives, etc.

How about groups of integrated progressives? They are out here, believe me. If Barack Obama’s election is to mean anything in the long run, more groups of integrated progressive Americans need to be formed, and plans to take the fight to our opposition put in place.

Or am I just nuts? You tell me.

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Who is Responsible for Tiller's Murder?

In the minds of some, it simply (and allegedly) Scott Roeder, the person in custody for the shooting of the Kansas doctor who performed late term abortions. For others, the net of responsibility can be cast much, much further. The murder of Dr. George Tiller, inside his local church, has set off an entirely predictable firestorm of accusations between supporters and opponents of abortion.

Tiller

Some progressive bloggers and Websites heap blame on Fox News screamer Bill O’Reilly, who has referenced Tiller as “Tiller the baby killer” on more than one occasion. O’Reilly, of course rejects such criticisms, saying the killing should be condemned and the focus should instead be on what he says are the 60,000 abortions Dr. Tiller performed.

At the same time, some abortion opponents pour gas on the fire by saying in essence, that Tiller got what he deserved. These apologists for murder are truly dangerous, in that they see themselves as somehow outside of and above the law. They feel they have a God given right to kill. Dr. George Tiller was a perfect symbol for them, a man unafraid to do what he felt was right.

George Tiller had survived being shot, having his clinic bombed, and the picketing of his home and office. He wasn’t just steadfast, he was defiant. Now questions center on whether his murder will have a chilling effect not just on abortion providers but on women seeking them as well. For some, that chilling effect is worth Dr. Tiller’s life.

Randall Terry, the founder of the anti abortion group Operation Rescue says about Tiller’s death “He reaped what he sowed”. That statement speaks volumes not just about Terry, but about the outer fringe of the anti abortion movement in this country. One can’t be sure that common ground with them can actually be found, as President Obama referenced in his speech at Notre Dame.

One question about this entire ugly set of events has yet to be answered. Both Scott Roeder’s ex-wife and his brother say he was mentally unbalanced. If that is true, and he is George Tiller’s murderer, how did he manage to procure the gun he used? Time after time people are killed with guns, and we never stop to ask where the gun was purchased, whether it was legal, and if proper background checks were done. 

Gun violence, as we should know by now, isn’t the sole province of the inner city. Shouldn’t we be asking how many other zealots (regardless of cause) have access to guns, bombs, and other weapons? While we’re at it, shouldn’t the anti abortion movement take a long look in the mirror, and ask themselves if they want to be portrayed as murderers?

You tell me.

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