Tag Archives: Progressives

Why Barack Obama DESERVES Re-Election (Part 1)

barack obama election 2012
Re-elect Barack Obama

Let me say at the outset that I don’t agree with everything Barack Obama has done as president. Yet I’ve never in my life agreed with everything any president has done.

For that matter, I didn’t agree with everything my mom and dad did!

From both a pragmatic political and idealistically progressive standpoint, however, there’s no doubt this president should serve another four years.

I have heard from progressives I respect about their disappointment with aspects of his time in office. It’s time to get realistic about what Barack Obama has done as president, and what four years of Mitt Romney will mean for those already struggling (and who progressives are and speak for).

How about we start with President Obama’s appointments to the US Supreme Court.

I know most voters don’t pay attention to this, but think for a moment who John McCain might have appointed, and who Barack Obama actually did. Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan are both solid jurists. The alternative would likely have been a 6-3 conservative court rather than the 5-4 we now have.

Oh yeah, and when before in US history have three women sat on the highest court in the land together?

How about we take a look at the Affordable Care Act?

Was it perfect? Nope. Yet when all is said and done, double digit millions of Americans will be covered by health insurance. Also, that habit the insurance companies had of dropping your coverage when it suited them is now gone. Plus, parents can keep their kids on their plans to age 26. But here’s the most important thing. Barack Obama took the first step in taking us down the road to universal healthcare. That would be where everyone is covered. The first president who tried to get healthcare legislation passed in this country was Teddy Roosevelt. None of us remember him.

It’s time to stop carping about whether that’s the first thing Barack Obama should have done, and whether it’s good enough.

It is.

Political pragmatism is something it seems Republicans do better than Democrats. When the time came to try to gut this president’s agenda, they stood together. It’s time for us to stand together the same way.

Barack Obama has governed well, and those who those who think this country should be run like an investment firm know this. In the days, weeks, and months ahead, we’ll be bombarded with polls, ads, responses to the ads, talking heads, gasbags, and wannabees.

Know this. The man to bring this country back to some semblence of economic normalcy isn’t Mitt Romney. The man to do that has already sits in the White House.

As we move forward, we’ll be writing about other things Barack Obama has accomplished for you, me, my kids, and this country. Let the naysayers do their best.

We’re better, and so is Barack Obama.

The Mark Riley Morning Show Tune in weekdays www.wwrl1600.com Live 6am-9am EST.

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Progressives…Time to Stop Playing

The signs are everywhere, from North Carolina to Indiana to the hallowed halls of Congress.

North Carolina votes NO to gay marriage

 

Those who want to take America back to the 19th century are girding their loins for the battle ahead. Their endgame is obvious, and has been for some time.

The question that remains is whether those who call themselves progressives are ready to put aside their differences and prepare to “throw hands” (metaphorically, you understand).

The stakes are as follows. If we want to have any hope that the more than 12 million Americans currently out of work will ever have decent jobs again in their lifetime, we’re going to have to play politics to win.

That won’t be easy for progressives.

We pride ourselves at being somehow better, more high minded than our opponents. We won’t engage in certain tactics that they take for granted to win elections. Maybe we don’t have to. But we do have to have a clear idea of what we want to accomplish this and every election cycle. And yes, we may have to be ruthless in order to get it done. For the sake of our kids, if ruthless is what it takes, so be it.

Our political aim should be threefold.

You may not think he’s done everything he should have, but electing Barack Obama to a second term is essential. So too is widening the margin of the Democratic majority in the Senate. The third priority is to turn just 25 Republican seats in the House to Democrats.

Why are these three goals important? The GOP minority in the Senate just killed (for now) a bill to freeze the interest rate on college student loans. In  Indiana, a decent, long serving Republican US Senator just got his head handed to him by a Tea Partry Neanderthal. In North Carolina, a referendum just passed defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

These are three recent reasons progressives must be ready to stand and fight this election cycle. Another will be evident to anyone who has passed over or under a bridge, an overpass, train trestle, whatever. Folks, our infrastructure is falling apart.

The same people who think corporations are people tell us we’re too broke to fix our roads. How many able bodied Americans could be trained and put to work creating the steel that upgrades these structures so central to our lives? Who will mix and lay the concrete that replaces the foundations that have rotted away from years of neglect?

Oh yeah, and before I forget. Right now the nation’s unemployment rate stands at 8.1%.

If it ever got back down to where it was when Bill Clinton was president (3.9%), we’d all breathe a sigh of relief. I want to go one better. I want every able bodied American who wants to work to have a job. Then those don’t will have to come up with a really good reason why they can’t work like the rest of us.

And while I’m at it, I want universal health care, quality education for all Americans, and the end of the mess that has become our immigration system.

The President dropped his “to do” list on Congress the other day.

You’ve just read mine, and what progressives need to do to reach these lofty goals.

What’s your “to do” list? Can progressives get it done?

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Is Obama Sending Mixed Message on Public Option?

The answer is yes. Just a day after his Health and Human Services Secretary says the administration can live without a public option, other aides now say he hasn’t given up on it. And what exactly is involved with the health insurance co-ops that would take the public option’s place? Nobody seems to know.

All this is why, in a previous blog post, I argued that President Obama needed to start the health care reform debate with single payer, universal care.

ObamaHealthCare

Those who oppose him couldn’t care less about the public option, co-ops, or anything else he comes up with. Their end game is, simply, nothing, no change at all. That’s why they spent so much time and energy packing town hall meetings with loudmouthed screamers, some of whom still can’t fathom the fact that Barack Obama is President of the United States.

Now, progressives are crying foul, saying Obama is abandoning real reform in favor of a watered down alternative. It is, as New York Times columnist Bob Herbert accurately describes it, “like sending a peewee footballers against the Super Bowl champs” when it comes to co-ops vs. big insurance. So the question must be asked, why? Why is the administration making so many concessions?

Do they not see that for some of those who oppose healthcare reform, Obama himself is the issue? Maybe the president is having trouble digesting the ugliness that came out of so many of those town halls. But he doesn’t seem to understand that nothing will mollify that small segment of the American public. Nothing, that is, short of his resignation.

You can say it’s racial, you can say it’s generational, whatever. There is a loud minority in America who see “their country” slipping away from them. They see Barack Obama and his agenda as the cause of that slippage, and they don’t like it one bit. Ditching the public option gives emboldens them like nothing else could. It tells them, “we’re winning”.

Worse yet, big business is winning. They’re the ones bankrolling the politicians and in some cases the groups that are  loudest in opposing reform. They’re the ones whose bottom lines will get fatter if costs aren’t controlled. And they’ll have a giant new pool of clients if everyone’s required to purchase insurance.

And what does the public get? Not a whole lot.

I for one understand politics well enough to know you don’t always get what you want, that compromise is part of the game, a necessary one if you talk to those who play it.

But at what price? You tell me.

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