Even before President Obama delivered his speech at Knox College, in Galesville, Illinois, in an effort to refocus Washington’s attention on jobs and economic growth, Republicans, predictably, dismissed the President’s statements at “speechifying,” and “old news”. House Speaker John Boehner proudly proclaimed that “nothing” would come of it.
The New York Times, that same day, reported, “Congressional Republicans are moving to gut many of President Obama’s top priorities with the sharpest spending cuts in a generation and a new push to hold government financing hostage unless the president’s signature health care law is stripped of money this fall.”
But Republicans cannot refute the facts or the arguments Obama presented: threatening to destroy the “full faith and credit” of the United States last 2011 stopped a robust recovery in its tracks; Sequester is a meat cleaver inflicting untold harm on the most vulnerable Americans who have no power to do anything about it, but in the aggregate, depress consumer demand and hold back the economic recovery.
And if this speech would have been given by a President Romney, they would have cheered him as the savior of the American Dream.
And yes, Obama did list initiatives that he has been calling for for years now – investment infrastructure, clean energy, early-childhood education, enabling homeowners to refinance at historically low interest rates, changing the tax code so that companies are not incentivized to shut down here and offshore jobs and profits, investing in cities that have been passed by (like Detroit though he did not mention by name). That is because these are commonsensical ideas that Republicans in the past have embraced and have had bipartisan support up until Obama’s Presidency.
Most important, Obama laid out a clear vision. There was plenty of detail – Republicans have done none of that. They blast and obstruct and obfuscate and outright lie (death panels? really?)
And what he is proposing is not even radical or that bold. He isn’t proposing a transcontinental railroad, as Lincoln did, or a manned mission to Mars as Bush, Jr. did. Obama is proposing to rebuild bridges, old enough to qualify for Medicare, and remove incentives for companies to offshore jobs and instead reopen shuttered factories here.
Republicans even attack the President every time he leaves Washington to talk directly to the American people – perversely mocking him for not “inviting” them to the White House or coming to Capitol Hill. He has done that over and over only to be insulted and rebuffed. And why shouldn’t the President talk directly to the people? Isn’t that who he represents? In fact, he represents more of them than the Republicans do in Congress or the Senate.
I want the America that Obama has described. I want his vision.
I hate the Republican vision – the viciousness, the meanness, the selfishness, the crassness, the ignorance, the destructiveness. What is more, it is unsustainable, because as the gap between rich and poor, powerful and powerless continues to grow, at some point, the people on the bottom have no choice but to push back forcibly.
The Republicans can’t refute the president’s facts or his arguments, and yet they do. They lie that Obama got the stimulus he wanted (not nearly enough), that he is responsible for government takeover of health care (still private insurance companies, not single-payer or public option), that he presided over the biggest expansion, greatest debt (that was Bush), that he got so much more in tax revenue (nonsense).
They even lie that Obama had full control of the House and Senate until the 2010 elections – as soon as Ted Kennedy passed away and Scott Brown took over his Senate seat, Obama lost his 60th vote and the Republicans started filibustering everything. Some 400 bills passed the Democratically-controlled House, including climate change, that Senate Republicans blocked. They even blocked a nuclear arms treaty with Russia and put into place, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell proudly proclaimed, their strategy of holding the US government “hostage” in order to get what they wanted, or at minimum, block everything that Obama did. “Our first priority,” McConnell said, “is to make sure Obama is a one-term president.”
That didn’t happen. But instead of working for the American people, the Republicans are still determined to deny Obama any achievement. It is a personal vendetta. They only care about their own jobs, not the welfare of the nation.
Obama’s portrait of the progress in the economy is more accurate and irrefutable. Record corporate profits. Record heights on Wall Street. Unemployment rates going down (despite increasing population), manufacturing jobs sustained for the first time in years, more natural gas produced domestically than ever, less oil imported, the national debt – expanded under the failed policies of Reagan and Bush – reducing as a proportion of the economy.
What do the Republicans offer as a solution? Keystone. How would Keystone pipeline even begin to put America on sustainable footing, even if the inflated benefits touted by Republicans come true and it produces thousands of jobs? Repealing Obamacare, which has already significantly helped millions of Americans, roll back Dodd-Frank financial reform. And oh yes, that other jobs-creator, take away a woman’s right to choose.
See also: Obama lays out plan to restore Middle Class, upward mobility
Karen Rubin, Long Island Populist Examiner
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