Sunday, September 9, 2012

Barack Obama - Closet Conservative

I have good news for my Republican friends!  I want to tell you about a candidate for President who I think you might be interested in.  First of all, he's got a GREAT personal story.  When his dad ran out on him, his single mom raised him.  She got a college degree, but also had her son spend meaningful time with his grandparents when he was growing up. This showed the importance of family to the young man, who, after some fits and starts, got a college degree AND a law degree from Ivy League schools. 

Pretty impressive, right? Wanna hear more? 

Ok, so get this, after law school, he helped the poor and disadvantaged, married a smart and well educated woman, with whom he had two children and became a state legislator. After being elected to the U.S. Senate he ran for and won the Presidency with more of the popular vote than anyone since 1988 and a larger percentage of the total vote than anyone from his party since 1964. More than 2 million people watched him get sworn into office and he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize less than a year into office.

Amazing, right? But wait ..there's more:

Within a month of taking office, he passed an ENORMOUS tax cut that benefitted 95% of all Americans. On top of that tax cut, less than 2 years later, he extended ALL of George W. Bush's tax cuts for two more years and exempted all estates smaller than $3.5 million (roughly 99.8%) from ANY federal taxation.  Small business owners have also done quite well, receiving no less than 18 separate tax cuts in less than four years. In fact, as a percentage of our Gross Domestic Product, our tax rate is lower than it has been since 1950.  

I know, very conservative, but you're thinking, ok, Scary Lawyer Guy, what about the size of government? What's this mythical President you're telling us about done about the big, bad guv'mint?

Funny you should ask, gentle reader because the 1950s plays into this part of the story too. The annualized growth of federal spending under our current President is lower than at any point since the hero of World War II was padding around the White House ( He's appointed two Supreme Court justices, one of whom was originally put on the bench by George Herbert Walker Bush and FROZE the salaries for all federal government employees. His most recent budget included a 2% across the board cut to all his cabinet agencies but exempted the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense.  

Wow. Not even Ronald Reagan did that. But what about the military? How's this guy done with our troops?

Another funny thing about this President, he deployed tens of thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan, has sent more drones into Pakistan than President Bush, directed an attack inside Pakistan that killed Osama Bin Laden, has taken out more Al Qaeda and Taliban senior leaders than his predecessor and brought our troops home from Iraq. Meanwhile, no one who tortured prisoners under the former Administration will be prosecuted for their actions. For veterans, he's expanded funding to the Veterans' Administration from $88 billion to $130 billion, which has provided generous salary increases, broadly expanded access to mental health counseling, and helped thousands of homeless veterans find permanent homes. He also signed a bill that provides employers with incentives to hire veterans who come back from war. 

Hmmm. And other areas of foreign policy?

Well, he helped midwife the "Arab Spring," an organic democratic uprising in places like Tunisia and Egypt that advanced George W. Bush's "freedom agenda," led a multi-national coalition that ousted Gaddhafi (who died along the way), and has placed, along with Europe, strong sanctions on Iran in an effort to deter them from pursuing nuclear arms. He also mended fences with allies and has signed free trade agreements to expand our economic opportunities abroad. 

I'm intrigued. What else can you tell me?

There is one thing that some conservatives think is pretty liberal - he passed a health care law that will expand coverage to roughly 30 million Americans. 

Ok …

But here's the thing - the law was modeled on something called "the individual mandate" - the idea that able bodied adults should be required to purchase health insurance so that the risk pool is broader, thereby reducing costs for everyone.  

Sounds like this is based on sound, free market principles. Where did this idea originate?

Some place called the Heritage Foundation.

THE Heritage Foundation? The conservative think tank funded by some of the biggest right wing philanthropists in the country?


Anything else?

Yeah.  I forgot to mention, the model for this health care plan was the one signed by Mitt Romney when he was Governor of Massachusetts. Oh, and thanks to the law, health insurers are going to get millions of new customers without the threat of the government entering the market as a competitor. Their stocks are up big since the bill passed. 

Oh right. What about the stock market? 

The Dow Jones is up 60% since this guy was sworn into office. Corporations are sitting on trillions of dollars thanks to increased worker productivity and because banks were able to dilute the financial regulation law that passed a few years ago, they have been able to operate as if their responsibility for the economic meltdown never happened. In other sectors, corporations have never had it so good - petroleum corporations continue to generate billions in quarterly profits, Apple is now the world's biggest company (based on stock valuation) and employee 401(K) plans have come roaring back. 

Holy shit. So you're telling me the guy who has been President since January 2009 has, in no particular order: (1) lowered our tax burden to its 1950 level; (2) killed the mastermind of 9/11; (3) passed a health care plan that was cooked up at one of the oldest, most prominent conservative think tanks and handed health insurers tens of millions of new customers; and (4) corporations have earned piles of money so high they would go from the earth to the moon many times over if taped end to end? 

Yes. That is what I am telling you, and every right wing nut job who thinks Obama is some combination of an anti-colonialist, socialist, secret Marxist, not born in America imposter. The next time someone at the country club, a John Birch meeting or Tea Party rally asks who to vote for, tell them to pick up a used Shepard Fairey "HOPE" poster on Ebay and re-elect Barack Hussein Obama. 

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