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A litany of dumb moves, failures of leadership, kowtowing to Conservatives while fighting with his base, a military situation with no end in sight, a stalled economy, high unemployment where no ones job feels safe, and an inability to convince people of the urgency to get off foreign oil. A good man elected to replace his corrupt, power-abusing, war criminal Republican predecessor in hopes he would restore honor and dignity to the office.

Barack Obama? No. Jimmy Carter.

On Tuesday, WH Press Secretary Robert Gibbs complained to “The Hill” about “The Professional Left” for their criticism of President Obama’s leadership style. The so-called “Professional Left”… of which I consider myself a member… took great umbrage from Gibbs’ remarks (the fact he refuses to take back his sentiments, apologizing only for how “inartfully” he expressed them, doesn’t help). We are tired of this President trying to “make nice” with people that don’t even think he was born in this country, starting negotiations from a point of weakness and then bargaining down, co-opting some of the worst policies of the Right (like offshore drilling), and selling out 58 Democratic Senators and the House on health care to win the votes of just two Conserva-Dems that represent 1/100th of the constituency of those other Democrats.

Gibbs’ comment isn’t so much the issue as how symbolic it is of a far greater, over-reaching problem this WH has with trying to please Conservatives at the expense of its base. The electoral vote for Obama was more than 2-to-1 over McCain (8-1/2 million more in the popular vote), which SHOULD of sent a loud & clear message to this Administration that the LAST thing we wanted were more Conservative “solutions” to every problem. And despite a few “socially progressive” moves, this WH tends to track Conservative on economic issues… the worst possible track any Democrat could take, and a blazingly stupid move at a time when the Republican economic policies were about as popular as George W. Bush as he headed out the door.

I find it more than just a tad condescending when Gibbs wonders aloud why “Liberals” aren’t more appreciative of “everything this president has done for them.” (“Here’s a cookie. Now go away.”) I think what made me angriest was Gibbs using a “Republican” characterization of “the Left” as being satisfied with nothing less than “Canadian health care” and “closing the Pentagon”, all on the order of “President Kucinich”. What a load of self-pitying crap (pardon my French). All I ever asked from this president was for him to fight for the “Public Option” the way he himself endorsed before a joint session of Congress last September, enact some sane economic policies to get the economy moving again, and end the abuses of his predecessor. Gibbs suggested those who compared President Obama to Bush were “on drugs”. Certainly, Obama would have a long way to go to even begin to approach the criminality and abuses of power of his predecessor. But it seems Mr. Gibbs forgot that President Obama asked his supporters to “push” him to bring about “change” immediately upon entering office.

In 1974, President Richard Nixon resigned from office rather than subject himself to an inevitable impeachment, leaving his second Vice President, Gerald Ford in charge. Ford, who was brought in to replace VP Spiro Agnew after he resigned rather than face prosecution, was at best an inept president. Gas lines, rampant inflation, and an economy that created only 1.5 million jobs in three years (worse than even Bush-43, but George had almost three times as long to create just 2.5mil jobs), voters weren’t exactly lining up to put the Republicans back in charge in 1976.

But voters have terrible memories, and despite three reasonably successful years as president and the creation of nearly 10 million jobs, everything turned in Carter’s fourth year. The Iranian Hostage Crisis resulted in dueling embargoes between the U.S. and Russia, compounded by an angry OPEC that jacked up oil prices, resulting in an economic mess, rapidly rising unemployment and a president appearing impotent to bring a year long hostage crisis to an end. In just four short years later, the country was ready to trust a Republican president once again.

WAY back, at the very start of the 2008 Presidential campaign, Fox’s Bill Kristol was already comparing Barack Obama to President Carter. Not over his proposed agenda, but based upon his choice of advisers:
 


 

I hear some of my favorite Talk Radio hosts, like Progressive Talk’s Randi Rhodes saying, “President Obama has always said he was for nuclear power and sending more troops to Afghanistan, so we shouldn’t be complaining now for doing what he always said he’d do!” No. Sorry. nearly 70% of us didn’t support Barack Obama before the Iowa Caucus BECAUSE of those positions (he ended up with more than 30% only after opponents with too few votes told their supporters to caucus for Obama out of fear of Hillary becoming “unstoppable” if she won.) Me, I was a Richardson supporter (a career Ambassador turned governor of a state with a strong green jobs program, second only to Kucinich on his rate of pullout from Iraq.) And now that Obama is President, I see him making one foolish mistake after another, while trying to please two or three Blue Dog Democrats and a Republican Party that knows all they have to do is “say ‘No’ to everything” to stifle the recovery long enough to win re-election.

This Administration is quickly running out of feet to shoot. Some recent boneheaded decisions the “Professional Left” could of steered this WH clear of:

  • A little girl once said, “If you want a puppy, start out by asking for a pony.” If you wanted a Public Option like you said, you should of started out by asking for “Single Payer”.
  • Those raging “heath care town halls”… had you of proposed simply opening up Medicare to anyone that wanted to buy in, you would of left two of the Tea-baggers biggest arguments withering on the vine: the “government mandate” and “government takeover” of health care.
  • After telling Americans the Gulf is okay to visit, your first vacation is to Maine? And now you find you must visit the Gulf simply to avoid looking at best tone-deaf and at worst a complete and total hypocrite.
  • Michelle’s expensive trip to Spain – Yes, she paid for it. But in a time of economic crisis, is a lavish European vacation really the kind of publicity you want? FDR actually replaced his first three inaugural balls with concerts during the Depression, and canceled inaugural ball #4 during WWII altogether, sending a message to voters that he recognized how desperate things were and how inappropriate lavish events are while people are struggling.
  • Appeasing partisans on every issue – From caving in to lies over the hardship of closing “all those oil wells”, reopening offshore drilling before the BP well has been killed (only reinforcing the “Republicans know better” meme), failing to stand up for the Public Option, to firing Shirley Sherrod before getting all the facts, out of fear of what Glenn Beck might say that night, this Administration is in desperate need of a spine-transplant.
  • No green jobs program. – This Administrations’ view on how to promote “Green Jobs” does not vary one iota from how Republicans would do it (if they believed in Climate Change)… a completely privatized solution fostered through tax credits. REMINDER: If you haven’t already, sign my Green Jobs petition.
  • They attacked Democrats and Unions that opposed incumbent Blue-dog “Democrat” Blanche Lincoln (who favors extending the Bush tax cuts and opposed The Public Option), who is now 20 points behind her GOP opponent.
  • Stop using the Republican “frame” on every issue. For example, the proposed “mosque” in NYC isn’t a “mosque” at all:

    This is a mosque THIS is not a mosque
    Mosque NYC 'mosque'


    I’m tired of the Islamic equivalent of a YMCA (“Young Mens Christian Association”) with gymnasium and a pool being referred to as a “mosque”.

(UPDATE: Compare to the Manhattan YMCA:)

NYC YMCA

 

Some of the misinformation the Right relies on to push its agenda that I’d like to see this Administration stand up and CORRECT:

  1. A 35% tax rate doesn’t tax 35% of ALL your income. – I run into this a LOT. You’d be surprised how many conservatives think the old 91% income tax rate on the richest Americans all the way up through the Eisenhower Administration meant millionaires paid $910,000 a year in taxes. No, we use “marginal taxation”, so a 91% top tax rate on anything over $1,000,000 means someone who made $1,000,001 would pay just 91¢ (91 cents) on that one dollar over a million. Still, Republicans scream bloody murder over “high taxes” like the government is out to bankrupt “the rich”.
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  3. Republicans who never uttered a peep while George Bush turned a projected quarter trillion dollar annual surplus into a trillion dollar annual deficit, and more than doubled the National Debt in just six years with NOTHING (positive) to show for it, are now out there screaming bloody murder over “deficit spending”. What Republicans don’t realize is that not all spending is bad. I compare Republicans to the guy who pays for dinner with a credit card vs the guy who makes investments using a credit card. After the Republican eats, he has nothing to show for his money. The investor has a chance at making his money back plus a nice profit. After spending $5 Trillion on lunches, Republicans are screaming about Democrats wanting to build a kitchen.
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  5. EVEN IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN GLOBAL WARMING, you would be a fool not to want to invest in the next big growth industry and want to be a world leader in Green Technology (again, sign my Green Jobs petition.)
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  7. For 200+ years before Ronald Reagan, a family of four could live comfortably on a single income. A house, two cars, and still afford to send Bobby & Sally to college. The miracle of “Reaganomics” was to cut everyone’s taxes and make up the balance by putting it on the National Credit Card, so people could have all the benefits of a well funded government by sticking their grandkids with the bill… which is coming due right about now.

Jimmy Carter tried (futility) to convince Americans that we needed to get off foreign oil, advocated energy conservation, brokered a landmark nuclear arms treaty with Russia (SALT) and an even more remarkable peace treaty between Israel & Egypt that holds to this day, created 10 million jobs in his first three years in office, and restored honor to the office of President following the scandal-ridden Nixon Administration. But all it took was a bad economy and rapidly rising unemployment in an election year to turn what started out as a surprisingly successful presidency into the Conservative epitome of “disaster presidency” (yet another Republican poll puts Carter in the #1 spot of “25 Worst Americans in History”, edging out the likes of OKC Bomber Timmothy McVeigh and (Soviet spy) Alger Hiss. Even beating out Barack Obama (#2) and FDR (#3). The only Republican on the list? Richard Nixon (#13) in a tie with Al Gore, both barely edged out by John Wilkes Booth (#11). Bush/Cheney? Forgeddaboudit. You don’t get much wing-nuttier than that.

In a race between George Bush and Barack Obama, I would vote for Obama from now until the cows come home. But I expect more from my Democratic candidates, and a weak Democrat that thinks “Republican-light” will save this country from the problems we currently face doesn’t deserve a second term.

Obama does have one advantage Carter didn’t… time to change course and set things right.
 


 

This weeks list of reasons to keep Republicans from regaining power:

  1. GOP Repeats Balanced Budget Amendment Farce – Why is this bad? Because they are still insisting on extending the $700B budget-busting Bush Tax cut for the wealthiest 2% while (almost comically) steadfastly refusing to explain how they’ll pay for it. (Can you say “Draconian spending cuts on the Poor & Middle Class”?)
  2. Back in college, Tennessee Senatorial candidate Rand Paul reportedly kidnapped a female student and forced her to worship the ‘AQUA BUDDHA’ (a bong) as part of a secret society. (Update: Paul denies kidnapping, but not the ‘bong worship’ part.)
  3. Serial adulterer and potential 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who spends an inordinate amount of time preaching “Family Values”, dismissed his hypocrisy in a discussion with ex-wife #2 with a ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ defense.
  4. McCain Promises He Won’t Work With Democrats On Immigration If He Is Re-Elected. – Do you get it yet? They don’t WANT these made-up “problems” (ie: “campaign fundraising issues”) fixed. That’s why they never challenged Roe v Wade the six years they controlled all three branches of government. There’s gold in them thar race-baiting issues!
  5. “Terror Babies!” – Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert went on Fox Business Channel to make the wild claim that pregnant Middle Eastern women are traveling to the U.S. to have babies who will automatically become U.S. citizens and later return here when they are older to “blow us up.” – The FBI debunked him, but he continues to insist it’s true.
  6. Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio thinks the way to balance the budget is to ban earmarks (which make up 1% of the budget) and putting every government expenditure OTHER than Defense) up for reapproval by Congress every ten years (are you ready to risk a Republican Congress reapproving Medicare and Social Security every ten years?) Oh, Marco? Every dollar of discretionary spending already has to be reappropriated every year.
  7. A recent CNN poll finds that 27% of Americans and 41% of Republicans overall… still believe President Obama was either “probably” or “definitely” born in another country.
  8. The Tea Party came out AGAINST ‘Net Neutrality’ on the grounds that ”Net neutrality” (what we have NOW) would result in “GREATER government control” and “MORE government regulation” over the Internet. (Corporations oppose “Net Neutrality”, wanting instead to regulate the flow of traffic, providing optimal bandwidth only to those willing to pay for it.) I think this speaks VOLUMES about just how misinformed and easily manipulated the “Tea Party” is by its corporate sponsors.)
  9. Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) thinks Social Security… which just celebrated its 75th anniversary… is “unconstitutional”. Of course, if he had actually READ the Constitution… say Article 1, Section 8… he’d know otherwise. Despite spending the Summer of ’09 accusing Democrats of wanting to “destroy Medicare”, never doubt for a minute that these people want to privatize Social Security, Medicare, and every social safety net there is. Remember, these guys even blocked extending unemployment benefits.

 


 

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