Reasons Why Obama Dares to Act Tough

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with British Prime Minister David Cameron in the Oval Office, Feb. 13, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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.

U.S. Economy

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 and you can reach her at

The Republican’s “Whining” Strategy After The Second Inaugural


I’m enjoying watching the reaction from Republicans to President Obama’s incredible second inaugural speech. I especially like their whining about the President not reaching out to them.

They way I see it, the Republicans are speeding towards the edge of the cliff and now they want the President to grab their outreached hands and save their tea party asses before the “momentum of their ideology” flings them into the canyon. Sorry dudes, this is your runaway mess. Enjoy the ride.

It takes a special kind of crazy to spend four years walking in lockstep against our President and slapping his outreached hand at every turn, only to cry about him not reaching out to them in the second inaugural. It has become obvious to anyone who is honest with themselves that the Republican Party is bankrupt, out of ideas and has no foundation remaining. They are a reactionary party now, and they don’t seem to be doing that very well either.

Beyond that, they are also becoming a party of whiners. Recent articles by Charles Krauthammer, Michael Gerson and David Brooks give us the best examples of this. Krauthammer started the trend that is best summed up by Smartypants as “conciliatory rhetoric as ruthless strategy”. Here is a piece of Krauthammer’s whine, via Smartypants…

He’s been using this, and I must say with great skill–-and ruthless skill and success–to fracture and basically shatter the Republican opposition… His objective from the very beginning was to break the will of the Republicans in the House, and to create an internal civil war. And he’s done that.

Michael Gerson, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, came up with yet another great expression for us liberals to use, in bold.

The debt ceiling is a form of leverage they can’t responsibly use. A partial government shutdown or full implementation of the sequester are less toxic alternatives but of questionable utility. […]

Given this weak Republican position, Obama must be tempted by a shiny political object: the destruction of the congressional GOP. He knows that Republicans are forced by the momentum of their ideology to take positions on spending that he can easily demagogue.

For a noted Republican to admit that the Republican Party is out of control, careening towards the cliff, is pretty astounding. I have very little sympathy for them, since we all watched as Republican leaders let the Tea Party take the wheel of their party while they stood on the curb cheering.

And not wanting to be “outdumbed”, David Brooks weighed in with his wisdom.

It’s more likely that today’s majority party is going to adopt a different strategy, which you might call Kill the Wounded. It’s more likely that today’s Democrats are going to tell themselves something like this:

“We live at a unique moment. Our opponents, the Republicans, are divided, confused and bleeding. This is not the time to allow them to rebuild their reputation with a series of modest accomplishments. This is the time to kick them when they are down, to win back the House and end the current version of the Republican Party. […]

“Then he could invite a series of confrontations with Republicans over things like the debt ceiling — make them look like wackos willing to endanger the entire global economy. Along the way, he could highlight women’s issues, social mobility issues (student loans, community college funding) and pick fights on compassion issues, (hurricane relief) — promoting any small, popular spending programs that Republicans will oppose.

That last paragraph is just hilarious considering the reality that we all just witnessed.

I frequently ask myself who the Republicans think they are appealing to with this whining strategy. Do they think that the base of their party wants to hear them cry about those mean ole Democrats? I’m sure more than a few Republicans are calling them some choice names for that.

Do they think their whining appeals to Democrats who just worked their asses off to defeat their party? If anything, it makes us gleeful as we watch them form a circular firing squad and then argue about who gets to go first.

Maybe they think all that crying and whining will appeal to independents in the country. I suspect there are a few of those who will sympathize with them, since that swath of “independents” or “undecideds” aren’t the brightest bulbs in the bunch – see the CNN focus groups after the debates.

I probably shouldn’t get so much pleasure from seeing all this, but I do hope this Republican sideshow gets picked up for another season.

Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles

H/T to Smartypants for the links!

Election Breaking For Obama Going Into The Final Weekend Of Campaign!

There is no doubt that in the last week or more, the election has been breaking for President Obama. I don’t normally play the polling game, but as I’ve been saying for over a year, polls are only accurate when you get close to the actual election. Well folks, we’re close.

The awesome Michigander, Nate Silver, has been following all the ups and downs during the election and has developed a model that is comprehensive and relies on getting larger samples, thus more accurate results. He does what any statistician would do, adds them up and averages them. I had to laugh when I saw a quote from a Republican scoffing at the idea that he “averages” the polls.

In Ohio, where the rubber meets the road in this election, President Obama has been steadily climbing in damn near every poll taken in the last week. From Nate Silver…(emphasis mine)

Mr. Obama made gains in the FiveThirtyEight forecast on Tuesday, with his chances of winning the Electoral College increasing to 77.4 percent.

A fair amount of this boils down to Ohio, where three polls released on Tuesday gave Mr. Obama leads by margins ranging from three to five percentage points. Two of the polls, from Grove Research and the Mellman Group, generally show strong results for Democrats, which give them less impact in the forecast after applying our adjustment for pollster “house effects”. Still, the three polls taken collectively were enough to widen Mr. Obama’s projected lead in Ohio to 2.4 percentage points from 2.1 on Monday. Given how central Ohio is to each candidate’s electoral strategy — and how little time remains in the race — this was enough to improve Mr. Obama’s Electoral College chances. (The forecast does not yet account for the poll by Quinnipiac University for The New York Times and CBS News, which had Mr. Obama five points ahead in Ohio but which was released after we had run the model for the night.)

Today, November 1, Nate Silver currently has President Obama…as of 1:47 pm EST…with a 79% chance of winning the presidency and an estimated 300 electoral votes. It has been climbing all week long as poll after poll shows the gap widening between the president and Mitt Romney. Anyone who is honest with themselves can see that the President is widening his lead in the all important swing states. Republicans are having a hard time this week.

I totally understand how the Republicans feel, we Democrats have been through the same denial in 2004 and even some of us in 2010. It sucks having to rationalize and fool yourself into believing that you have a chance when all the signs are pointing the other way. It’s when “denialists” pull out the “momentum” arguments and the “tectonic shift” memes and go searching for the one poll that goes against the grain, clinging to it as if it were their blankie. I’ve been there, it sucks.

It’s been very odd, but not surprising, to watch the media continue to say “the race is tightening”, as Chuck Todd did this morning, even though the polls say otherwise. I tweeted him, of course, to point out his inconsistency and clear bias. I have a feeling ole Chuck isn’t one of my biggest fans.

So I’m excited, but cautious, going into the final weekend before the election on Tuesday. I never get too confident considering the fact that 59 million people voted to re-elect (or elect for the first time) George W. Bush in 2004. There are still a lot of dumb people (misinformed) in this country who have been getting their daily brainwashing from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the rest of the gang. The amount of misinformation in the public sphere as a direct result of that well oiled, Republican propaganda machine is very scary.

Just imagine how far ahead President Obama would be if the Republicans dealt in truth instead of lies or if the mainstream media had done their jobs and actually sorted out the truth for the public. I know, it’s a fantasy.

Cutting Through The Crap – The Truth About “Obamacare” (ACA)

The Supreme Court yesterday made an important decision that will improve the lives of millions of people and bring stability to American families across the country.

The decision was extremely close, with Chief Justice Roberts siding with the liberals in what many think is an effort to salvage some respect for the court.

I posted President Obama’s speech yesterday and highly recommend it to you, if you still haven’t seen it. Here are some of the real effects of the Affordable Care Act. Talk to your friends, family and anyone who will listen about the real provisions in the law. The amount of misinformation in the public sphere is crazy, we must correct at least some of it.

  • Preventive care will still be covered free of charge by insurance companies–including mammograms for women and wellness visits for seniors.
  • 6.6 million young adults will still be able to stay on their family’s plan until they’re 26.

The court’s decision will have an impact on 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions by bringing security to their lives and comfort in knowing that they will not be left out in the cold. These families will be saved from having to liquidate their life savings, sell their homes or go bankrupt in order to get the care they need.

The reaction from some on the right illustrates how the $210 million dollar campaign of lies against the Affordable Care Act has permeated the thinking of too many people. We all must pull together to counter that misinformation and talk to people, one on one, and inform them of what is really in the bill.

Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles

The Institution of Marriage Is Stronger Today Thanks To President Obama

The impact of President Obama’s support for same sex marriage will be felt for years to come and in many ways.

Prior to the interview on ABC where he affirmed his support for SSM, I honestly didn’t realize just how much impact it would have. On my drive home from work, I heard Andrew Sullivan on NPR discussing his reaction and the full impact hit me hard as I began to cry.

ANDREW SULLIVAN: I did have mixed feelings, but I thought beforehand that this is a state issue. The president’s role in this is really circumscribed. One interview doesn’t make a difference. And then I watched the interview and the tears flooded. There is something about hearing your president affirm your humanity that you don’t know what effect it has until you hear it. And I think of all those gay Americans over the centuries who never heard that, never believed it could happen. And I have to say I’m immensely proud of this president for doing what he did.

I think he let go of fear today, the fear that somehow by embracing this natural, obvious and I would say conservative development he was sometimes – somehow embracing political calamity. He wasn’t, he isn’t, he won’t. And exchanging fears for hope on this and affirming what we all know who have met him and seen him that he thinks of gay people exactly as he thinks of straight people, as human beings and Americans first. That’s a great moment. (emphasis mine)

Hearing Andrew’s words brought home to me how important this is for the LGBT community.

The President’s words also went a long way towards strengthening the institution of marriage. I know that is the opposite of what you will read today in most publications that are mining the religious community for hyperbolic quotes and trying to create some controversy. But in my mind, there is no way it can do anything but strengthen it.

News flash – Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people aren’t going away and thank god, they help make our communities rich. The idea that preventing loving, committed couples from marrying will somehow weaken the institution of marriage makes absolutely no sense. In reality, allowing same sex couples to marry can only strengthen that institution. It promotes commitment, stability and family by giving security and a sense of belonging to a group that for far too long has been forced to live on the outside of the circle.

In a world where young people are becoming more promiscuous and the role models for our youth in many instances are the cast of the Jersey Shore, the Kardashians and misogynistic musicians, having two loving adults making a commitment to each other should be welcomed, regardless of their gender.

The religious objections to this idea are rooted in centuries old biases and cultural influence. When I read the Bible years ago, the cultural influences on each writer was very apparent to me. A friend of mine who studied the Bible extensively, pointed out that many stories are repeated in the Bible and each version of the story was different, based on who was writing it and the culture that influenced him. The writers were humans – imperfect humans who brought opinions and biases to what they wrote. So when religious folks refer back to a book written thousands of years ago in a completely different age, I have to wonder why it is they feel the need to live by the biases of a long ago people. In effect, they are ignoring everything that humans have learned since then.

The idea that allowing LGBT people to marry somehow hurts heterosexual marriages is just a mystery to me. I can’t seem to connect the dots of their argument and to be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever really seen anything but platitudes when it comes to this idea. There is no argument to be made other than an appeal to emotions, fear and homophobia. My wife and I spent a couple minutes trying to figure out how it has anything to do with our marriage. We basically just shook our heads back and forth and said, WTF.

President Obama’s interview with Robin Roberts where he affirmed the humanity of LGBT people was an important moment in our history. And even though the Federal government has a limited role in defining marriage, the courage of President Obama to speak honestly about his feelings and to speak up for equality for all people can not be diminished, no matter how hard people try.


Yo, The Stimulus Worked – Thank You President Obama!

Common refrains from people who say it didn’t work:

  • But Obama promised that unemployment would be less than 8%. Horseshit on a stick. First, he didn’t “promise” a damn thing, if everything an incoming president says is turned into a “promise”, well then there has been a whole lot of promise breaking going on in our history. Second, the cautious prediction made during the transition was based on the numbers that the outgoing Bush administration was feeding the Obama team. They were flat out wrong and completely underestimated what was going on in our economy. Hey media, that’s called context. Buy some at the local C-store.
  • But soooo many people are still out of work. Yes, and that totally sucks. But that does not mean that the over 3 million people who did get jobs are insignificant or don’t matter. They do. If the measure for whether the stimulus worked is full employment, then those people will be waiting till the end of time — we’ve never had anything close to full employment. And you can damn well bet that those people still looking for work are encouraged by the fact that others are starting to find jobs, which of course increases the number of people looking and drives up the unemployment rate.
  • But Fox News says we are still in a recession, the numbers are being cooked. The only thing cooking at Fox New is the meth that the anchors must be smoking during commercial breaks.
  • But, but, but….let’s just all say it together, the stimulus worked. And yes, we have more to do, but don’t let the Republicans and the compliant media make you think that cutting taxes for the rich would have been much better, that is a big part of what got us into this freakin mess.

The Truth About ObamaCare!

There has been so much misinformation, outright lies and mischaracterizations of the Affordable Care Act that I don’t know where to start.

It has become known as “ObamaCare”, thanks to the media, including those on the left and of course, Republican politicians.

I remember the battle for health care reform during the early 90’s when the Clinton’s took on the issue and failed miserably. It sucked all the oxygen out of Washington, along with the wonderful compromise that President Clinton made that brought us Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. (sarcasm)

When President Obama announced that he was going to pass a health care law early on in his presidency, I thought it was a bad idea. I couldn’t help but picture a similar outcome as the Clinton’s produced. NADA!

Since I lived through the other attempt at health care reform and followed it closely, when the Obama administration was successful at passing the Affordable Care Act, I was elated. Even with all of it’s imperfections, the fact that President Obama set the standard that America cares about the health of ALL of its citizens was incredible. It was a monumental achievement, one that will go down as one of the most amazing political wins in the history of our country.

Given the opposition from both sides of the aisle and the huge amount of misinformation that was and still is being spread about it, I thought I’d take a minute to share with you some truth about what “ObamaCare” has accomplished so far. There is much more to come in the years ahead.

The provision that covers adult dependent children between the ages of 19 – 25 was already working in 2010.

More than 2.5 million young Americans under 26 now have health insurance who would otherwise not be covered thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday morning.

Previously, the department had reported that 1 million young people were covered under the provision in the act, which also helps recent college graduates without a job but not on a parent’s plan stay insured.

I work at a university and supervise over 15 student workers. To them, the Affordable Care Act is kick-ass.

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Helping the Working Poor — A Practical Defense of PPACA, The Health Care Law

Guest Blogger: theangryliberal

The Health Care Bill, more often than not, raises the ire of both conservatives and progressives. They’ve teamed up to spread as much misinformation about the bill as possible. Why? I am not sure, because this bill goes a long way to get more people access to health care.

I think it all began with a guy named Howard Dean and some comments he made In December of 2009.  Dean was very angry that the public option was eliminated from the Senate bill. The target of Dean’s rant was Joe Lieberman, ( I)CT, he was pretty pissed at Lieberman and he seemed to feel no bill would be better than this bill now. He was angry at the process. And his anger is not unfounded. This Senate has become a branch of our government that is immovable, ideologically entrenched, almost completely unable to pass any worthwhile legislation. Dr. Dean was pretty pissed about that, as we all should be. However, instead of directing his anger at the improbable 60 vote requirement to pass any legislation of substance, he decided it would be time to just let Republicans win by killing the bill. That didn’t happen of course, but that was an extreme reaction, one Republicans were relying upon, this is where they were able to begin to sow the seeds of discontent among voters, they have filled the air with misinformation, with the help of people who are otherwise quite progressive. All that discontent, and the Executive Branches unbelievable inability to fight back against the propaganda has left people with a sour taste in their mouths when it comes to their thoughts about PPACA.

A number of people jumped on Dr. Dean’s bandwagon, Keith Olbermann went on the air to loudly proclaim why the Senate Bill should not be passed. Two days after Dean’s rant against the bill, a number of left leaning organizations and people banded together to help kill the bill:

Dave Linderhoff of The Public Record
Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake
Markos Moulitsas; Daily Kos Founder
Darcy Bruner; a past candidate for Congress

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