Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I wrote the article below, which appeared in this mornings Bakersfield Californian. I added the photos to the blog post ...

It's the day after. Many believe that President Obama doesn’t deserve a second term. They don’t want to believe he won. But he did. Here’s why.

First, President Obama accomplished a great deal, even with an obstructionist Congress. Second, Mitt Romney was tethered to a movement born out of deception (and rage), which colored his entire campaign. Voters, as we will see by the end of the day, understand both of these points.

Let’s consider some of the accomplishments.

* The Stimulus Worked: After the stimulus was passed unemployment claims subsided while the economy added over  750,000 new private sector jobs (which easily surpasses President Bush’s first term). This has been the trend for over 30 months.
* Federal Spending Slows to a Crawl: Under President Obama growth in federal spending is at 1.4%, its slowest pace since the Eisenhower administration (and far better than the 7-8% under President Bush).
* Budget Deficits Stabilize: While critics like to claim that President Obama created record budget deficits the reality is the policies that brought us annual trillion dollar deficits are not his.
* Auto Industry Story: President Obama’s auto bailout saved over 1 million jobs in America. For all of their criticism over the bailout the Romney’s invested and profited from the program (in part by shipping union jobs overseas), which Romney’s campaign acknowledged. 

The real issue here, though, is how most Americans understand that President Obama’s accomplishments happened with a recalcitrant and obstructionist Congress hanging around his neck. Most Americans get it.

Those who don’t get it generally secure their news from the same source(s) (the usual suspects) and willfully ignore the following: The Republican Party always feared that President Bush’s failures would come back to haunt them. With Bush so close to our memories they figured the only way to defeat President Obama in 2012 was to hang President Bush’s legacy around his neck.

Citing Robert Draper’s book, Do Not Ask What Good We Do, congressional candidate Terry Phillips pointed out during his only debate with Rep. Kevin McCarthy here in Bakersfield that the GOP pledged to sabotage the President at a Republican dinner on inauguration night.

The plan, according to Draper, was to “show united and unyielding opposition to the president’s economic policies.” That night Newt Gingrich even suggested sabotaging the president would sow the electoral “seeds of 2012” (a claim Gingrich has not denied). From there the Party of No was born.

Incredibly enough, President Obama still got things done.

* Obamacare: Apart from covering 32 million Americans every reputable report shows that Obamacare cuts growth in health care costs, which is the primary driver behind our long-term fiscal problems.
* Rising Incomes: According to Forbes during President Obama’s first three years thirty one states have seen a rise in income levels.
* Size of Government: The number of federal government workers as a percentage of the population actually decreased under President Obama.
* NYSE: Look at the market before President Obama was inaugurated and now.

To be sure, during his debate with Phillips Rep. McCarthy tried to deny the roadblock strategy. He even claimed that the GOP was only proposing legislation as an alternative. But he backed off when Phillips asked if Draper was lying.

And the proof is in the congressional pudding. The record shows:

* Senate Games: Senate Republicans have consistently played games, which include record motions to cloture and filibuster. In plain English this means every major proposal now requires an unprecedented 60 vote majority in the Senate. This includes budgets.
* House Games: The House has regularly proposed poison pill tax cuts, deregulation, Wall Street favors, and politically charged legislation they know President Obama will never sign. 

Put another way, the GOP’s idea of working together has been to say no while getting the President to accept the same policies that gave us the market collapse of 2008. America sees through this.

Then we have Mitt Romney.

Romney’s strategy followed a deceptive theme, which congressional Republicans worked diligently to set up: President Obama didn’t clean up President Bush’s mess fast enough so Romney should be President - to implement the same policies that created this mess.

To be sure, Romney also shot himself in the foot by running away from his record, pushing Chrysler’s executives to effectively call him a liar, losing in Massachusetts, hiding tax records, insulting hosts during his Olympic timed trips, showing no respect for the working class, and generally appearing out of touch.

Most Americans saw both the accomplishments in the face of an obstructionist Congress. This is why a sitting president with a troubled economy and record deficits will win a second term by the end of today.

It's really that simple.

- Mark

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