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David A. Schwinghammer

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Why I Voted for Obama
By David A. Schwinghammer
Last edited: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Posted: Tuesday, May 08, 2012

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David A. Schwinghammer

• Fire Lover, a True Story, book review
• The God Particle
• Harper Lee (book review)
• Missoula, book review
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Obama has a chance to be a great president if we just give him a break and send him some help.

You’ve got to give the Republican propaganda machine credit. They were able to turn the biggest economic collapse since the Depression into an asset, blaming it on the democrats; they were also able to sell right-wing political activism as a populist revolution, resulting in the 2010 “shellacking.” Here’s what really happened. Mortgage lenders, bankers, construction companies, and real estate agents were able to jack up housing prices so high, they had to ultimately crumble. As insurance, Wall Street types came up with something called derivatives, bad mortgages which they sliced and diced, adding them in with pieces of good mortgages and selling them as hedges against a recession. Goldman Sachs went so far as to insure their transactions with A.I.G., taking them down with them. The federal government was then forced to save A.I.G. as well as Goldman Sachs when things came crashing down. Republicans pulled another bait and switch, blaming it all on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, who at the time were only quasi governmental entity. And they were run by the same people who were screwing up Wall Street. When the recession got really bad, resulting in the loss of eight million jobs, Wall Street and our leading economists called for a stimulus plan, some of them asking for as much as a trillion dollars. If John McCain had been elected president he would have agreed to a stimulus, although maybe not quite as much as Obama. We see the result of not doing so in Europe, which is coming apart at the seams because theirs wasn’t big enough. Spain now has a 25% unemployment rate. Spain was almost debt free before German bankers, who had bought into the derivative mess, began foreclosing on mortgages. Greece had been living beyond its means for thirty years prior to joining the European Union and accepting the Euro, replacing the drachma. In the old days Greece could print its own money, much as the U.S. does when we hit a rough patch. The stimulus left Obama open for criticism as the deficit went through the roof. But we really need to consider who’s calling the pot black. The GOP was responsible for 80% of the national debt prior to Obama. When Bush left office, we were a trillion dollars over budget if you count the two wars in the Middle East and the money his administration “borrowed” from Social Security. The Bush administration claimed to be approximately 460 billion over budget. So we saddled our new president with not only a horrible recession but also a burgeoning budget deficit. Talk about a Herculean task, cleaning the Stygian stables left by his clueless predecessor. By the way, who’s the last president to balance the budget and start to pay down the national debt? That would be democrat, Bill Clinton. What would wooden Al Gore have done if he’d been elected? Somehow I doubt he would’ve started a war in Iraq. Okay, so let’s give our man a break. Are you really going to elect a man who’s been preaching the same nonsense Cheney/Bush espoused? Deregulate everything. Cut taxes so far the federal government is unable to function. Part of that budget deficit belongs to the GOP. They owe us two trillion dollars they never should have borrowed to fight a war we didn’t have to fight. Here’s why we need to reelect Obama.

1. Foreign policy. The world likes him a whole lot better than they did Cheney/Bush. Even the crisis in China with the blind dissident seems to have been settled amicably. That knee tapping incident with Medvedev was a president being real rather than a phony diplomat. If Russia had missiles on our border, would we stand for it? Obviously not. They tried and JFK made them remove them.

2. No boots on the ground in Libya. How many billion would the GOP have spent? McCain wanted to send in troops. Obama was criticized for leading from behind when he got Britain and France to help out.

3. The Supreme Court. We’ve seen what happens when you appoint people like John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Corporations suddenly become people. Alito throws a hissy fit during the State of the Union speech and hasn’t been seen there since. I doubt the founders intended the court to be politicized. It was supposed to be a hedge against politics.

4. The Affordable Health Care Act. It allows you to insure your children up to the age of 26 and believe me they need it. It stops insurance companies from disqualifying people with prior conditions. And the insurance mandate is very bare minimum. You can buy catastrophic insurance with a high deductible and meet the mandate. What the mandate does is pay for the other ingredients. Without it, we’d can’t afford it. Young people think they’ll live forever. I didn’t have health insurance when I was young. Did you? But life has a habit of reaching up and biting you in the posterior. What the GOP won’t tell you is that the Affordable Health Care Act is similar to one they floated and I’m not talking about Romney’s. So what’s the difference? They moved further right, and they don’t want to give Obama credit for anything.

5. The oil spill. Obama made B.P. pay twenty billion dollars to help people affected by the spill. Deregulation caused the oil spill in the first place.

6. Wall Street. They’re actually fighting the Dodd/Frank Wall Street Reform Act after they almost caused a depression. And they’re doing it again. They’re still selling derivatives, and there’s a super computer that’s nothing but a glorified roulette machine.

7. The auto industry. Don’t kid yourself. The GOP would have had to save GMC and Chrysler. The only reason they criticize the deal is because it fits with their big spender plan and because of the powerful auto workers union.
The bailout saved thousands of jobs, middle class jobs, and these people spend their money, rather than try to hide it in Swiss bank accounts.

8. GOP overreach: Ultrasound for women considering an abortion? Come on. Where are the doctors when a man asks for Viagra? Guns for the mentally ill. Right to work for less. Rewriting history in Texas. Conceal and Carry. Voter I.D., targeting the young, old people, blacks, and the poor who tend to vote democratic. Taking away negotiation rights for public service workers. Attacking Planned Parenthood.

9. Grover Norquist. This is the guy behind all the Republican “no new taxes” pledges, denying the government new revenue. No wonder we’re a trillion and a half in the hole. Call him Mr. Gridlock.

10. Darrel Issa. He’s the chairman of the House Oversight Committee. He’s the one who appointed a committee devoid of any female members to study the contraception issue involving the Affordable Health Care ACT.

11. Theocrats like Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann, both of whom ran for president, would have you believe the First Amendment doesn’t mean what it says about separation of church and state. And Antonin Scalia would agree with them, because the world revolves around Antonin Scalia.

12. Austerity. It just doesn’t work. FDR tried it in 1937 after he’d primed the pump for five years. It led to four more years of Depression. We see what all these cuts are doing to Europe. Just rewrite the tax code and get some apolitical people to do it. We’ll have the VAT tax in no time. That’s a tax on production that most industrial nations rely on for revenue. Of course the GOP is against it.

13. Wit/Intelligence. Obama was the editor of the Harvard Review. Ask a lawyer how hard it is to get that job. He’s also very good under fire. I don’t understand why he doesn’t hold more press conferences. It certainly worked for JFK. Use that bully pulpit. He also needs to sing more.

14. Bootstraps. Republicans like to preach about self sufficiency, despite the fact that nobody is self sufficient. Steve Jobs would have been nothing without Steve Wozniak. Bill Gates did not invent the personal computer; he wrote the code for it along with Paul Allen. Conservatives act like Americans never got a handout. What the hell was the Homestead Act? Without it the West never would’ve been settled. Obama certainly pulled himself up by the bootstraps, compared to Mitt Romney, whose father was a millionaire governor and auto executive. When Ann Romney said all she and Mitt had were stocks to support themselves when Mitt started out, how many million was she talking about? Are you going to trust a corporate raider to cure unemployment? How many people did that man lay off over the years?

15. Bush tax cuts need to be repealed for everyone. Check the figures. You only got a few bucks in the first place. I saw a prediction for a family of five making $75,000. They would be paying something like $3500 more (actually, they would be paying what they should have been paying all along) if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to lapse. But that’s dishonest. We all know you get a heck of a lot of deductions for three kids. How much of that $3500 will they get back when they get their refund? All of it? Most of it?
Something else the GOP never mentions is the lack of involvement of American citizens in the wars in the Middle East. What did they give up? They got a tax cut. No, this is not WWII when everybody sacrificed. Only the Armed Services had to pay this time.

16. Immigration. It’s unrealistic to send between twelve and twenty million illegal aliens back to Mexico. They won’t go, and the California pickers will be really mad. The Dream Act was very reasonable. Give them a path to become citizens. Conservatives object because Obama won the Hispanic vote, and he will this time too. White Supremacists among them also know that they’re losing the population battle. By 2050 white voters will be a minority.

17. Pragmatism. Come on, Obama is not a socialist. He sent 30,000 new troops to Afghanistan. If he was a lefty there’s no way he would have done that. He would also have moved heaven and earth to pass single payer health care. Liberals are very upset that he didn’t. But he was realistic; there are these cats and chicks in the Democratic party called Blue Dogs who wouldn’t go for it. Unlike the Republicans the democrats tolerate moderates.

18. Afghanistan. We now have a way out. Unlike Nixon, who left and said we won, Obama’s plan aims to train the Afghans to fight the Taliban, or welcome them into the government after negotiations. We can’t just leave. Al Qaeda will be back. There is a precedent; we’re still in Korea, sixty years later and we‘ve had bases in Germany since WWII. The GOP is talking tough about Iran, but we can’t afford another war. China hasn’t had a war since the fifties, and they have a two trillion dollar reserve (Thanks to Wal-Mart).

19. Middle Class. Some say union membership is down to seven percent.
Those were good jobs. Thanks to the union busters, there is no longer a guarantee that you’ll be working at the same job your entire career. And those people were customers. Corporations that gave their employees profit sharing and other perks had the right idea. Don’t make enemies out of your employees. Business schools seem to be teaching the bottom line these days when they should be teaching the Japanese model. They kicked our butts.

20. The alternative. Bob “Ultrasound” McDonnell, the governor of Virginia, is one of the leading candidates for the Republican Vice Presidential nomination. Virginia women must submit to an ultrasound procedure when asking for an abortion. If this guy is ever elected president, get ready to return to the 19th Century, ladies. While twomen are being humiliated, men just walk away. As for Romney, we just don’t know what he stands for. He was a moderate governor of Massachusetts; at one time he was pro-choice and for gay rights. Now he claims he’s not. He is however a Mormon and they’re not exactly liberal, so I’d guess he’s more Dick Cheney than Dick Gephardt. His platform, so far, sounds a whole lot like George W. Bush II. A gun in every baby crib, more coal mines, frack the hell out of the environment, declare war on Iran. I don’t think there’s much hyperbole in that list.  

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Reviewed by m j hollingshead 6/9/2014

thought provoking read

Reviewed by Edward Phillips 7/13/2012
Brilliant summary, David. You've made a compelling case for why we need to keep Obama in place and on the job. Thanks for arguing from facts and careful analysis, rather than from assertions and ideology.
Reviewed by Jane Noponen Perinacci 5/8/2012
I'm voting for Obama!!!


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