Guest Post by Daphne Holmes
Each President marks his term with a leadership legacy that defines his administration. For Barack Obama, one of the hallmark characteristics of his time at the helm is unapologetic pursuit of policies that help the country. While this may seem like a given, under the circumstances, Obama’s tough stances on some issues has nonetheless sparked heavy resistance from the political right.
In order to set his own pace, however; the President has had to first clean up many of the lingering issues that predate his administration. In addition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama has faced a hornet’s nest of residual domestic policy that has also required strong leadership to rectify. As a result, the President has maintained an unwavering commitment to tackle tough issues – both here and abroad.
Real Issues At-Hand
Effective leadership requires proactive approaches to public policy, but it also relies on the ability to react quickly, in response to issues that arise. President Obama was thrown into the fire immediately upon securing the position, forcing him to reconcile very real issues facing the country. From domestic economic concerns to multiple foreign wars, the current administration has been elbow-deep in major policy reform since taking control of the executive branch of government.
To some; the President’s actions are off-putting, due to the decisive and unapologetic strategies he has implemented. But when held-up to the alternatives, it becomes clear that the President’s responses to some of this century’s most challenging realities have been tough, yet prudent.
Ineffective International Organizations
In addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama’s administration has faced vexing foreign policy concerns elsewhere; including aggression and human rights atrocities in Syria and Russia. And while international support is put-forth by organizations like the United Nations, Obama’s policies have had to account for the fact that help from the UN and others does not always sway outcomes significantly. As a result, bold U.S. strategies and foreign policy decisions made by the Obama administration illustrate the tough stances the President has adopted to protect American interests.
The recent global recession and meltdown of important U.S. markets took its toll on the country and the world. Unemployment, home mortgage foreclosures and other important indicators illustrated never-before-seen economy turmoil that eventually reached every sector of the U.S. economy. Even so, the President understands the economic might at his disposal and operates accordingly on the world stage. Bold moves Obama made to correct the housing market downturn and Wall Street waffling show how the President’s tough policies have led to productive outcomes.
Public Support Drives Policy Decisions
While each President exhibits autonomy in his leadership role, policy outcomes are also influences by prevailing public opinion. In the case of health care reform, Obama took a tough position, which didn’t align with the beliefs of the political right. Tea Party protests and other displays of dissent followed, but the prevailing need for public health care overshadowed the misgivings of a few citizens clinging to the status quo. Though tough, the President’s initiatives would have been dead in the water, if not for the support of forward-thinking Americans lending their voices and activism to the collective cause.
Obama’s Personal Style
The President’s style has been characterized as “inflexible” and “unwavering”, so Obama has left his indelible mark on policy outcomes of the past 6 years. While ideological gains are a part of each presidential administration, Obama’s bold actions eclipse some of the cronyism seen in prior administrations. As a result, what some see as overly rigid or inflexible pursuits are actually a reflection of the President’s personal style. Whether from working within the Chicago political machine, or gleaned from years mobilizing support for grass roots issues, the current President is not afraid to adhere to his core beliefs.
Strong leadership cues from President Obama lead detractors to call him out for being too tough, at times. In reality, however; the President’s track record of decisive moves is simply a reflection of the issues he has faced and the prevailing public support for his policies.
Daphne Holmes contributed this guest post. She is a writer from www.ArrestRecords.com and you can reach her at email@example.com.
“You don’t need people’s opinions on a fact…”
Jump to 1:15 in the clip, that’s when it gets crazy. I was amazed how the camera didn’t move a bit.
Fox News is hurting our country and the very people it relies on for viewership. Since the Affordable Care Act became law, the right-wing in this country has been trying to convince people not to get insurance, not to trust “Obamacare” and they have instilled an irrational fear of it in a large swath of the country.
This story is just one illustration of how Fox News and the misinformation they spew has real consequences.
Dean Angstadt fells trees for a living.
He’s a self-employed, self-sufficient logger who has cleared his own path for most of his 57 years, never expecting help from anyone. And even though he’d been uninsured since 2009, he especially wanted nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act.
“I don’t read what the Democrats have to say about it because I think they’re full of it,” he told his friend Bob Leinhauser, who suggested he sign up.
Before I get to the rest of the story, read this quote from a piece by Eric Wemple about Dean Angstadt’s experience…
Asked if Fox News had molded his view of Obamacare, Angstadt responded, “Yeah, yeah – they get people fired up. You know what, I really do have a different outlook on it.”
I went for many years without health insurance and can relate to Dean’s situation. My family has a history of heart problems, my dad and his brother both died of heart attacks in their early 40′s…so yeah, going without health insurance as I approached 40 years old was a bit scary. Thankfully, I took my current job at the university and began taking care of myself after I got insurance through my employer. More of Dean’s story…
In 2011, Angstadt had a pacemaker and defibrillator implanted to help his ailing heart pump more efficiently. Not long after, the almost 6-foot, 285-pound man’s man was back in the woods, doing the Paul Bunyan thing.
But last summer, his health worsened again. It was taking him 10 minutes to catch his breath after felling a tree. By fall, he was winded after traveling the 50 feet between his house and truck.
“I knew that I was really sick,” said the Boyertown resident. “I figured the doctors were going to have to operate, so I tried to work as long as I could to save money for the surgery. But it got to the point where I couldn’t work.”
A friend had been trying to convince Dean to sign up for insurance through the exchanges, but he kept resisting, falling back on the propaganda that he had been fed – the bad information that was having a real impact on this mans life.
From time to time, Leinhauser would urge Angstadt to buy a plan through the ACA marketplace. And each time, Angstadt refused.
“We argued about it for months,” Angstadt said. “I didn’t trust this Obamacare. One of the big reasons is it sounded too good to be true.”
Leinhauser went to Angstadt’s house, and in less than an hour, the duo had done the application. A day later, Angstadt signed up for the Highmark Blue Cross silver PPO plan and paid his first monthly premium: $26.11.
“All of a sudden, I’m getting notification from Highmark, and I got my card, and it was actually all legitimate,” he said. “I could have done backflips if I was in better shape.”
Angstadt’s plan kicked in on March 1. It was just in time. Surgery couldn’t be put off any longer. On March 31, Angstadt had life-saving valve-replacement surgery.
“I probably would have ended up falling over dead” without the surgery, Angstadt said. “Not only did it save my life, it’s going to give me a better quality of life.”
Dean Angstadt will live to chop another tree.
But Fox News needs to die a quick and painful death.
H/T to Steve Benen at The Maddowblog.
This Bundy Ranch standoff between a deadbeat rancher and the Bureau of Land Management has made Fox News’ Sean Hannity go full anti-American as he pours gasoline on a fire that has been burning since 1993, when Cliven Bundy first decided that he wanted to sponge off American tax payers and unlike the honest, hard working ranchers around him, stop paying grazing fees.
When Cliven Bundy declared “But I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing”, I knew it would feed the racist, drooling morons with exactly what they needed to get their hate fired back up. It seems just a little strange to me that the Second Amendment fetishists would embrace someone who doesn’t even accept the federal Constitution, from which they pluck the 2nd Amendment – to the exclusion of all other amendments as well as the original language.
Chez Pazienza at The Daily Banter has an excellent piece up which poses several excellent questions about Fox News’ role in this mess. Go Chez…
What do you do when a media outlet refuses to behave responsibly? When it peddles outright lies? When it preaches a kind of cultural armageddon? When it, directly or indirectly, stokes the fires of armed insurrection without any regard whatsoever for what could be the disastrous impact?
I personally think the Fox News machine has ruined our country. They have succeeded in brainwashing millions of people into believing in an alternate reality. Several studies have been done that revealed this phenomenon. From a Fairleigh Dickinson University study…
The largest effect is that of Fox News: all else being equal, someone who watched only Fox News would be expected to answer just 1.04 domestic questions correctly — a figure which is significantly worse than if they had reported watching no media at all. (emphasis mine)
They feed on these uninformed people. And beyond that, they also convince them not to believe any other media…you know, that whole “liberal media” bullshit that all of us liberals laugh uncontrollably at whenever someone says it.
Back to Chez’s piece, where he cites another example of Fox News catering to militia-types who like to overcompensate with large guns…
Four years ago, Glenn Beck regaled his Fox News viewers day after day, week after week with paranoid fever dreams about the coming collapse of America and the need for some kind of resistance to the encroaching progressive threat. He picked specific targets for his outrage, people and institutions he claimed were surreptitiously trying to destroy the country; one of them was the Tides foundation, a relatively obscure organization based in San Francisco that Beck had singled out as being part of the secret liberal cabal.
In July of 2010, a guy named Byron Williams, wearing body armor and armed heavily, got into a shootout with the California Highway Patrol, injuring two officers. Under questioning he said that he was driving to San Francisco with the goal of “starting a revolution” by killing members of the Tides foundation and the ACLU. Why? Because he watched a lot Glenn Beck and heeded the host’s warnings that his beloved country was about to be taken away from him if somebody didn’t do something. So Byron Williams did.
I want to know where the responsible media is on this? Do journalists even attempt to police their own profession anymore or have they just given up and joined in the propaganda/money-making scheme that seems to be working for Fox News. Something has to change soon, the crazy just keeps getting crazier.
Here is our great president getting a bit emotional at the Civil Rights Summit 2014. What a great president and role model.
And here is the entire speech.
The Republican Party is full of crazies, idiots and bullies. They’re like a giant clown circus on drugs.
The State of the Union address typically brings out the crazy, grandstanding boneheads from the party but last night we got a taste of the bully wing.
“Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this fucking balcony,” Grimm told NY1 reporter Michael Scotto following an on-air interview in the Capitol Rotunda. “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”
This is your modern Republican Party, folks. Intimidation, threats of violence and corruption all rolled into one steaming pile of crap. More from TPM…
At the Caribbean Tropics nightclub, Grimm allegedly threatened another patron — the estranged husband of a woman Grimm had entered the club with. Grimm reportedly said the man “don’t know who he’s fucking with … I’ll fuckin’ make him disappear where nobody will find him.” That same night, (and we’re glossing over the part where Grimm allegedly said “I’m a fucking F.B.I. agent, ain’t nobody gonna threaten me.”) Grimm allegedly returned to the club with another FBI agent and several New York City police officers. He then refused to let club patrons and employees leave, and allegedly told everyone to “get up against the fucking wall” and gave an order: “all the white people get out of here.” (emphasis mine)
I’m sure glad we have an election later in the year. Funny, you never hear about Democratic Representatives doing this kind of crap. Republicans have the market cornered on crazy politicians.
I have to hang my head and admit that I am fascinated by pop culture and the crazy world that revolves around it. The excesses of young Hollywood and the music industry makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t help but think of the people in my poor town who are struggling to feed their kids and keep a shelter over their heads, while thugs like Justin Bieber blow more money in a single party than many make in decade.
Waking up to the news that Justin Bieber, the Teflon Teen™, was finally busted for something, after getting away with so much shit over the years, made me smile.
When I heard that he resisted arrest, wouldn’t take his hands out of his pockets according to one report, I immediately thought of Roy Middleton, the Florida man who was shot at 15 times by police in his own driveway while retrieving some cigarettes out of the car. He was black, you know? Thankfully, he lived through it.
As the day goes on, the sensationalist cable new networks will use the Bieber story as a good reason to ditch all the other important stories happening in the world today. For example, our awesome President Barack Obama announced an initiative to combat rape yesterday and the evidence against Chris Christie and his bullying ways are growing in scope.
Based on the look on Justin’s face, he probably thinks it’s cool to get busted. He knows damn well that he can afford the best lawyers you can buy. Something tells me this isn’t the last mug shot we will see from the Teflon Teen™.
(I don’t really have the trademark for Teflon Teen, so feel free to use the hell out of it. :)
What is it about Chris Christie that so enthralls some in the media? I have to wonder if it is because he screams at his constituents. Mother Jones posted an article with 8 videos of Christie berating and yelling at people, go take a look to see what “straight-talk” is according to his adoring friends in the media.
The Star-Ledger had an opinion piece that makes fun of the people I am now referring to as the “Benghazi stupid.” This group of knuckle dragging idiots makes up the leadership of the Republican party these days, along with the reactionary, hateful nihilists that are easily distracted by the word “Benghazi.”
Somehow, the right’s response to Chris Christie’s still-breaking Bridgegate scandal has devolved into this: Why are you writing about New Jersey traffic jams, because Benghazi!
In letters to newspapers and online comments, in phone calls to their favorite conservative radio and TV pundits, conservatives are in a state of collective denial: They refuse to acknowledge there’s anything to Gov. Chris Christie and the George Washington Bridge scandal until President Obama and the consular attack in Benghazi get equal time.
What’s the difference? Here are three reasons the unrelated Bridgegate and Benghazi stories aren’t getting equal time – and shouldn’t.
Intent: America’s press corps has looked at Benghazi, the IRS scandal and the other Obama-related scandals tossed around last weekend. In each case, the facts dampened the early cries of conspiracy and cover-up. In Benghazi, neither congressional investigators nor the New York Times found evidence to support the idea of a concerted executive branch failure or cover-up. In the IRS fiasco, an investigation found both conservative and liberal political groups were subject to review – and everyone got what they wanted, anyway.
Coverage: It’s hard to argue that Benghazi, the IRS scandal or Obamacare’s glitchy website weren’t covered in full. Each story was subject to intense coverage when it broke – just as Bridgegate is breaking now. To expect coverage of old stories to increase because of an uncomfortable new story is silly.
Just as silly are suggestions that New Jersey media, including The Star-Ledger, are spending too much time covering a breaking story of corruption in the governor’s office. Because Benghazi?
Cover-ups: Each scandal resuscitated by the right last week began with cover-up allegations that have faded under the bright lights of media coverage and federal investigation.
Meanwhile, new evidence that Christie’s aides tried to cover their tracks is surfacing as thousands of newly released documents and e-mails are made public. None of the evidence suggests the governor was involved at that level, but there are a lot of questions about the GWB lane closures that still haven’t been answered.
I watched Chris Christie’s marathon press conference the other day and he laid it on pretty thick for his adoring media audience. For those of us who aren’t swayed by his tactics, it didn’t pass the smell test. And now, with the release of more information about who in his office knew what was going on, it stinks even more.
He had to know what was going on.
Rachel Maddow and her crack staff have discovered the real reason for the retaliation that Chris Christie exacted on the city of Fort Lee, but the target wasn’t the mayor of Fort Lee, it was the leader of the New Jersey Senate Democrats. Watch her report from last nights show below, it takes her a little while to get to the meat of the piece, but once you see it, I’m sure you will nod in agreement.
In New Jersey, state Supreme Court justices serve an initial term of seven years, at which point the sitting governor decides whether or not to reappoint them. Since the New Jersey constitution was revised and adopted in 1947, every governor has reappointed every state Supreme Court justice without exception.
That is, until Christie took office. In 2010, soon after Christie’s inauguration, he did something unprecedented: he declined to reappoint one of the justices: New Jersey Supreme Court Justice John Wallace, the court’s only African-American member. Wallace was not burdened by scandal or allegations of wrongdoing; Christie simply didn’t want him on the high court anymore.
Democrats in the state Senate were livid. Rachel described the political firestorm that soon erupted in Trenton:
Senate Democrats made Chris Christie’s first nominee to replace Justice Wallace, they made her wait until somebody else’s seat came up on the court then they would consider her for that one, but not Justice Wallace’s.
Then, Chris Christie nominated a man named Phil Quan for the state Supreme Court, Senate Democrats said no. Then, Chris Christie nominated a man named Bruce Harris for the court, Senate Democrats said no.
Senate Democrats were so mad about what Christie did to take John Harris off the Supreme Court when he was up for re-nomination that they would not let anyone through. It’s been a big political crisis in New Jersey. Senate Democrats rejected every one of those Christie nominees, one after the other.
And then when another of the justices on the Supreme Court, a Republican, came up for re-nomination just like John Harris had, and the Senate Democrats signaled that they were going to give her a whale of a time at her re-nomination hearing, Chris Christie just flipped out. He had enough. He pulled that justice off the Supreme Court rather than submit her to re-nomination before the Senate Democrats.
No governor had ever failed to reappoint a sitting state Supreme Court justice, but Christie had suddenly done it twice – once for the court’s only African-American jurist, infuriating Democrats, and then again for a justice he actually liked. The governor, enraged, held a press conference to tell reporters, “I was not going to let her loose to the animals.”
The “animals,” in this case, were the Democrats in the state Senate.
Christie said that on the afternoon of Aug. 12, 2013.
On the morning of Aug. 13, 2013, Christie’s deputy chief of staff told the governor’s guy at the Port Authority, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
The leader of the Senate Democrats at the time was a senator from … Fort Lee.
Coincidence, I think not. It also explains why Governor Christie said that he didn’t even want to hear Bridget Kelly’s explanation, because he already knew the answer and didn’t want you or I to know. To me, that is one of the most glaring things he said in his press conference. His explanation for why he didn’t talk to her was completely unbelievable, but of course, the fawning media who were enthralled with his contrition just slobbered all over themselves at that point.
Governor Christie stood there for 2 hours yesterday and weaved an elaborate lie that is definitely going to come back to kick him in the ass. He would have been wise to give a short, contrite apology and drop the mic. But no, he chose to give the most elaborate, over-the-top apology, complete with sadness, embarrassment, humiliation, ignorance, naiveté, stupidity and poor management skills. He apparently thinks he can get over being incompetent easier than the reality, that he is a vindictive bully with a bad temper and not afraid to use his power to punish people who cross him.
I’m filling up the back of my pickup truck with popcorn, this is going to get really good. And you media apologists, we’re watching you too!
Here is Rachel’s piece, it’s clearly her scoop, bravo Rachel and staff.