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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The President and Vice President aren’t just talking shit when they say that electing Mitt Romney will be a return to the Bush era. When you look at the people Romney has surrounded himself with, it is clear that the same bunch of boneheads who got us into this mess are the ones making up Mitt’s entourage.
1. Vin Weber. Who is Vin Weber? He’s a former Congressman from Minnesota. A former Health Care lobbyist. A former lobbyist for Freddie Mac. He is also the former regional director for George Bush.
2. N. Gregory Mankiw. A professor of Economics at Harvard University. From 2003-2005, Gregory was Chairman of the Council of Economic Adviser under George W. Bush
3. Kevin A. Hassett. Economic Adviser to George W. Bush. Policy Consultant to George H.H. Bush. Works as an Economist at the right wing American Enterprise Institute. A specialist in investing in the stock market.
4.R. Glenn Hubbard. Professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Business. Chairman of Economic Advisers under Bush/Cheney. Areas of expertise are health care and tax policy.
And it isn’t just the domestic policy people that make up Mitt’s “nightmare team”….a play on the “Dream Team” idea, get it? :) From Mugsy, writing for Crooks & Liars…
Back during the 2008 Presidential campaign, I couldn’t help but notice how frequently & easily the Republican candidates (including Mitt Romney) would rewrite the history of how we ended up going to war with Iraq in order to paint Bush as less culpable. One of the most disturbing arguments was that we were FORCED to invade Iraq after “Saddam refused to allow the weapons inspectors back in”, which I KNEW was a load of… eh, rubbish (this is a family site). So I dug through the BBC News archives and pieced together the following video. It’s five years old now, but today on the eve of the third and final Presidential Debate, this time on foreign policy, with a Republican candidate whom has (as Rachel Maddow reminded us Friday) SEVENTEEN of his TWENTY-FOUR Foreign Policy Advisors coming from the Bush Administration, I thought that maybe now was the perfect time to look back for a moment to remember history as it actually happened, and think long & hard about possibly returning these people to the White House just four short years later:
These are the same people that sold us two unfunded, unnecessary wars, trillions in tax cuts mostly to the wealthy with the promise of jobs, jobs, jobs, an expansion of Medicare that wasn’t paid for and deregulation of Wall Street and the housing markets that led to the worst recession/near depression since the Great Depression.
There is no doubt that if Mitt Romney is elected president, he will return us to the same dumbass policies that created the mess we’ve been trying to dig out of for the last four years.
We must not let that happen. Make sure you VOTE and drag every Democrat you know to the polls, make calls, give rides, volunteer….but please, let’s keep the former Bush employees as far away from the White House as possible.
Cross posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
Business has created over 4.2 million private sector jobs since President Obama took office and we’ve seen 27 straight months of job growth. As a comparison, in 2008, the last year of President Bush’s second term, we LOST 2.6 million jobs. In December 2008 alone, 632,000 jobs were lost. So yes, it sucks that the May 2012 jobs report only showed an INCREASE of 69,000 jobs, but if you are watching any cable TV today, you would think it was December of 2008 again.
One of the first things that came to my mind when I heard the jobs report was — I wonder how many jobs would have been created had the Republicans worked with President Obama to pass the jobs bill that he proposed back in the fall of 2011. I decided to pull out a speech he gave when he was traveling around the country selling his jobs package as a reminder of what may have been if the Republicans hadn’t blocked yet another attempt by President Obama to help American workers.
Any good American should be appalled at the recent news that Republicans conspired ON INAUGURATION DAY of 2009 to block every thing President Obama attempts to do. The blatant disregard for the American people for political reasons should send everyone to the polls on November 6, 2012 to send a message to Republicans that we are the United States of America and that politics shouldn’t take precedent over the overall good of the nation.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles (at The Raw Story)
Our “liberal media” at work!
The Republican Party is picking up where they left off in the last election and helping to define themselves as the party “of and for” corporations – especially big oil.
In 2008, they had “Drill, Baby, Drill” and all the money that came along with that. This election year, they’ve chosen the Keystone XL pipeline to show how they plant their lips on the ass of big oil.
Once again, they have the media on their side in this endeavor. Media Matters for America did a study of media coverage from August 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011 on the Keystone XL pipeline. The results aren’t a surprise to anyone who pays attention to reality. This chart tells the story pretty clearly.
The GOP has been tremendously successful at getting the media to play along with them since August of 2011 on this issue and the above chart shows us the results. The red bars show how “job creation potential” was mentioned in the coverage from major media outlets with the green bar representing the “environmental concerns.” If you’ve been following the topic recently, it is obvious that Republicans are trying to make this into their jobs program, or at least an attempt to show how the Obama administration is preventing job creation. Go read the whole article at Media Matters, it was very thorough.
When you drill down into the numbers (I couldn’t resist), it turns out that reality is much different than the propaganda that has been sold to the American people. In a different post, Media Matters has some interesting information that gets to the real job numbers associated with the pipeline. Here are some snippets that show a progression that begins with Fox News…
Fox Anchor Martha MacCallum: 20,000 Jobs Is “The Low-End Estimate.” [snip]
TransCanada Said In 2010 That Keystone XL Pipeline “Is Expected To Create Over … 13,000 New Jobs For American Workers.” [snip]
Wash. Post: Based On TransCanada’s Numbers, “The Number Of People Employed” Would Actually Be 6,500. A November 5 article in The Washington Post reported that TransCanada CEO Russ Girling “said Friday that the 13,000 figure was actually not a true job number, but actually accounted for ‘one person, one year.'” The Post added that “if the construction jobs lasted two years, the number of people employed in each of the two years would be 6,500.” [snip]
Cornell University Global Labor Institute: Based On TransCanada’s Numbers, “The Project Will Create No More Than 2,500-4,600 Temporary Direct Construction Jobs.” [snip]
Cornell University Global Labor Institute: “Based On The Figures Provided By TransCanada For The Canadian Section Of The Pipeline, The New Permanent US Pipeline Jobs In The US Number As Few As 50.” (emphasis mine)
The estimate by the independent group at Cornell University puts the number of temporary jobs at 2,500 – 4,600 and the number of permanent jobs at 50. Those jobs would certainly matter to the people lucky enough to get them, but it ain’t no 20,000 jobs for sure. And considering all the risks to the states that this pipeline would travel through, not worth it at all.
Republicans are either stupid or crazy, take your pick!
In November of 2011, the Republicans decided to embrace the issue in their negotiations for extending the payroll tax cut that President Obama was fighting for. The pipeline became their bargaining chip in those negotiations, even after being warned by the State Department that trying to force the issue would result in it being killed for sure. That didn’t seem to bother the GOP, from a State Department briefing on December 12, 2011…
The State Department has led a rigorous, thorough, and transparent process that must run its course to obtain the necessary information to make an informed decision on behalf of the national interest. Should Congress impose an arbitrary deadline for the permit decision, its actions would not only compromise the process, it would prohibit the Department from acting consistently with National Environmental Policy Act requirements by not allowing sufficient time for the development of this information. In the absence of properly completing the process, the Department would be unable to make a determination to issue a permit for this project. (emphasis mine)
But like the flat footed, clumsy party that they are, the GOP kept right on pushing it. So during the holidays, we were treated to the White House fighting for tax cuts for every American while the Republicans were blocking those tax cuts and supporting big oil. Coming off the BP oil spill in 2010, I’m not sure that is the group you want to wrap your arms around.
Just over a week ago on January 18, 2012, President Obama officially rejected the Keystone XL pipeline bid.
But the president said today in a statement that the congressionally imposed deadline did not provide adequate time for the State Department to finish a customary review of the pipeline’s route through six states.
“The rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment,” Obama said.
“As a result, the secretary of state has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree.”
What is so astounding to me is that they don’t seem to really want the pipeline to go through, they just want it as a campaign issue. Steve Benen summed it up very well…
I’d argue that this is the outcome Republicans wanted all along. The GOP didn’t really want the pipeline; they wanted the ability to whine about the absence of the pipeline. This wasn’t, in other words, about energy production; this was about creating an issue for the 2012 campaign.
Besides the stupidity of pitting tax cuts for all Americans against the interests of big oil, Republicans also touted those outrageous claims of how many jobs it would create. Going into an election year that everyone says will be all about jobs, you would think they might pick an issue that would actually create some jobs. But instead, they’ve inflated and exaggerated numbers that even the company building the pipeline doesn’t agree with.
I’m seeing a new slogan, “Lay Pipe, Baby, Lay Pipe.” Now get your minds out of the gutter.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
Guest Blogger: Mike Sax
This time the consensus was right. While we had worried earlier that such optimism could be dashed, I had concluded that the trend in data lately has unquestionably been up.
For my earlier piece-that I wrote before dawn-please go here.
As it turns out GDP growth increased by exactly the 2.5 percent predicted. At the moment it seems that while we haven’t felt confident-recent consumer confidence is at its lowest level since the 2007-2009 recession-things have been getting better. Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, grew by 2.4 percent as opposed to only .7 percent in the second quarter.
Similarly, business investment picked up:
‘Similarly, while some business surveys have pointed to a contraction in factory output, there is little sign corporate America is cutting back spending. Indeed, recent data has suggested business spending is picking up. Business spending rose at a 16.3 percent pace as companies splurged on equipment and software, and invested in nonresidential structures. ”
Like consumers it seems that business spending exceeds confidence. Unemployment claims were down 2,000 to 402,000 and have clearly shown a downward bias in recent months though sustained job growth is only indicated when they are able to consistently dip beneath 375,000 a week.
“Apart from consumer and business spending, growth in the third quarter was also supported by a smaller U.S. trade deficit, and the careful management of business inventories bodes well for fourth-quarter production.”
“The GDP report also showed a moderation in inflation pressures, with the personal consumption price index (PCE) rising at a 2.4 percent rate in the third quarter, slowing from the April-June quarter’s 3.3 percent pace. Core PCE, which excludes food and energy, rose at a 2.1 percent rate after increasing 2.3 percent in the second quarter.”
Also found at Diary of a Republican Hater
Guest Blogger: Joan Ruaiz
On the day of the historic unveiling of the Martin Luther King National Memorial on the Mall next Saturday, October 15, there will also be a march on Washington beforehand to reiterate some of the ideals supported by the Occupy Wall Street movement currently sweeping the country– the ideal that Congress needs to start doing its damn job of putting Americans back to work.
With unemployment hovering at 9.1%, Americans continue to suffer at the hand of an economy weakened by the Great Financial Meltdown of 2008, largely caused by the deregulation of financial markets. To add insult to injury, the prior administration giving massive tax cuts to the wealthy while plunging our nation into two unpaid wars has almost bankrupted the county. The Great Recession was nearly staved off via President Obama’s 2009 stimulus, until relentless Republicans and corporate obstruction, supported by media propaganda, brought economic growth to a screeching halt after the Republicans took back the House in January of 2011.
Although GOP candidates of the 2010 election ran on the platform of “jobs, jobs, jobs,” the only action on jobs that we have witnessed the Republican winners of that election act upon thus far is the cutting of over 500,000 public jobs, while engaging in a continuous national campaign of maintaining those massive tax cuts for corporations and the rich.
In President Obama’s press conference yesterday, he fired some warning shots across the bow of the Republican party and put them on notice that he’s going to make them suffer for their obstruction of the American Jobs Act. He also called out the brain dead media and I really hope that continues. Take it away Mr. President…
“[W]hat I’ve tried to do is say, here are the best ideas I’ve heard. Not just from partisans, but from independent economists. These are the ideas most likely to create jobs now and strengthen the economy right now. And that’s what the American people are looking for. And the response from Republicans has been: No. Although they haven’t given a good reason why they’re opposed to putting construction workers back on the job, or teachers back in the classroom.
“If you ask them, ‘Well, okay, if you’re not for that, what are you for?’ Trade has already been done; patent reform has been done. What else? The answer we’re getting right now is, well, we’re going to roll back all these Obama regulations. So their big economic plan to put people back to work right now is to roll back financial protections and allow banks to charge hidden fees on credit cards again or weaken consumer watchdogs, or alternatively they’ve said we’ll roll back regulations that make sure we’ve got clean air and clean water, eliminate the EPA. Does anybody really think that that is going to create jobs right now and meet the challenges of a global economy that are — that is weakening with all these forces coming into play?
“I mean, here is a good question, here’s a little homework assignment for folks: Go ask the Republicans what their jobs plan is if they’re opposed to the American Jobs Act, and have it scored, have it assessed by the same independent economists that have assessed our jobs plan. These independent economists say that we could grow the economy as much as 2 percent, and as many as 1.9 million workers would be back on the job. I think it would be interesting to have them do a similar assessment — same people. Some of these folks, by the way, traditionally have worked for Republicans, not just Democrats. Have those economists evaluate what, over the next two years, the Republican jobs plan would do.
“I’ll be interested in the answer. I think everybody here — I see some smirks in the audience because you know that it’s not going to be real robust.”
If Republicans think that message isn’t resonating with the American people, they are even more stupid than we all thought. I’m pretty sure that John Boehner had to run to the cloak room commode to change his Underoos after hearing the President spell it out so clearly. But the President went even further and warned them that he will beat the living shit out them with every part of the legislation and demand that Republicans tell us why they don’t want to create jobs. Go President Obama…
“[If Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell] chooses to vote against it, or if members of his caucus choose to vote against it, I promise you we’re going to keep on going, and we will put forward maybe piece by piece each component of the bill. And each time they’re going to have to explain why it is that they’d be opposed to putting teachers back in the classroom, or rebuilding our schools, or giving tax cuts to middle-class folks, and giving tax cuts to small businesses. […]
“If … everybody on Capitol Hill is cynical and saying there’s no way that the overall jobs bill passes in its current form, we’re just going to keep on going at it. I want everybody to be clear. My intention is to insist that each part of this, I want an explanation as to why we shouldn’t be doing it, each component part: putting people back to work rebuilding our roads, putting teachers back in the classroom, tax cuts for small businesses and middle-class families, tax breaks for our veterans. We will just keep on going at it….”
Mr. President, more please!
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
“Dallas, that starts now. That starts with your help. Yesterday, the Republican Majority Leader in Congress, Eric Cantor, said that right now, he won’t even let the jobs bill have a vote in the House of Representatives. He won’t even give it a vote.
“Well I’d like Mr. Cantor to come down here to Dallas and explain what in this jobs bill he doesn’t believe in. Does he not believe in rebuilding America’s roads and bridges? Does he not believe in tax breaks for small businesses, or efforts to help veterans?
“Mr. Cantor should come down to Dallas, look Kim Russell in the eye, and tell her why she doesn’t deserve to get a paycheck again. Come tell her students why they don’t deserve to have their teacher back.
“Come tell Dallas construction workers why they should be sitting home instead of fixing our bridges and our schools.
“Come tell the small business owners and workers in this community why you’d rather defend tax breaks for millionaires than tax cuts for the middle-class.
“And if you won’t do that, at least put this jobs bill up for a vote so that the entire country knows exactly where every Member of Congress stands.
- This headline at Bloomberg says it all, Obama Jobs Plan Prevents 2012 Recession in Survey of Economists. John Herrmann, a senior fixed-income strategist at State Street Global Markets LLC said “The plan ‘prevents a contraction of the economy in the first quarter” of next year.” Another quote from that article said ‘“The important thing to consider is: What happens if we don’t do anything?’ said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates Inc. in St. Petersburg, Florida. He said the program ‘very well could” forestall a recession in early 2012.'”
- Moody’s Analytics – Mark Zandi predicted that the act would boost economic growth by 2% and create 2 million jobs, “Something like this is much needed” for an economy grappling with 9.1 percent unemployment, Zandi says. “The economy is on the edge of recession.”
- The Economic Policy Institute assessment of the jobs bill said, “So, how did President Obama do by our criteria? Very well, as the package provides a substantial boost to the economy in addition to continuing the important efforts already underway (providing unemployment compensation and the payroll tax holiday).”
- Macroeconomic Advisors thinks the effect will be significant, “We estimate that the American Jobs Act (AJA), if enacted, would give a significant boost to GDP and employment over the near-term.”
- Susan Wachter, a finance professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, figures that the Social Security tax cuts alone would add 1 percentage point to economic growth and create 1 million jobs next year.
- Michael Hanson, a senior economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and a former Federal Reserve economist, predicts similar benefits. He thinks the additional jobs would lower the unemployment rate by nearly half a percentage point in 2012.
- Menzie Chinn, an economist at the University of Wisconsin said, “the measures Obama proposed Thursday night ‘might prevent the economy from dropping below stall speed — at which point it would be vulnerable to another recession.'”
What this comes down to is — Republicans have to choose between politics and helping the American people, who are clamoring for Washington to do something about creating jobs. The GOP is up against a wall and this is a test of whether or not the Republican party cares at all about American workers. I think I know the answer, but I’m still clinging to a shred of hope that they will do what is right for the country.
PASS THE BILL NOW!
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
Please, take action. Make a call or send a letter, talk to people. This is serious business, people need help right away. Show your support for American jobs.
You country needs your help today. This isn’t a liberal or conservative thing, a Democratic or Republican thing — this is an American thing. We must break the “everything is politics” cycle that the media and the cynics in this country cling to and perpetuate. Our country is on the verge of losing the middle class, of widening the gap between the rich and the poor and separating those in gated communities from those communities crumbling to the ground. Call your congressperson or senator, write letters to your local papers, comment on blogs…make your voice heard and tell them that you support President Obama’s American Jobs Act. Do it because it is the right thing to do for your family and neighbors, leave the politics out of it and fight against those who attempt to make it about politics. Spread the word far and wide, help put America back to work.
H/T to Smartypants
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
If you haven’t seen President Obama’s jobs speech from last night, do it now, you won’t regret it. The hard work lies ahead for all of us to make sure his ideas get implemented and to push back against the baggers of tea and fire. Already, they are out trying to dampen enthusiasm and spin it to their own selfish ends. We all need to help get the word out, call your congressperson, senators…talk to your friends and family. Help explain how important it is that we come together as a country and put stupid Republican political games aside and finally put a stake in the supply-side idiocy that brought us to this point. Here is the speech…
Here is Steve Benen’s updated chart that shows the stark difference between Bush’s job creation and President Obama’s. Go read his article on it here. H/T to The Maddow Blog…