Thursday, December 22, 2011

Am I in the Tank for Obama? Part 1 of 2

Am I in the tank?  Am I drinking the kool-aid? If I am, I try not to.  Please let me know.  Every once in a while I require a sanity check.  This is one of those times.  I pride myself in trying to apply logic and understanding to various political positions. I make an attempt to understand where the other side of an argument is coming from; often, I may not agree with a counter argument, but I can understand the position.  I mean, it isn't like I haven't criticized Obama for some of the things he's done.  There is a reason I’m an Independent. I have some liberal beliefs and I have some conservative beliefs. I generally like to see the country prosper, and I while I have my opinions, I don’t care how we get there – generally speaking. What I mean is, if the end result is a win, then I don’t get too tied up in one argument or the other. That doesn’t mean I don’t argue one side or the other, but I will cheer a win for the country none-the-less.

Unlike the current crop of Republican presidential candidates, I don’t apply the Chicken Little approach to evaluating the president. I understand that much of the right wing rhetoric is political theater - I got that. If they want to win, one side must paint the other as the worst thing to ever happen to this country since Cochise was killed, but there appears to be an undertone to the rhetoric that seems to be…sticking. I’m not sure why. And that uncertainty has me asking this question. Look, I’m not one to disagree with EVERYTHING that Dubya Bush did, nor did/do I agree with EVERYTHING Presidents Clinton and Obama did/is doing (Shady, excellent job on that NDAA piece!). But for the life of me, I can’t understand the – what appears to be – growing perception among moderates and on the left, that Obama is one of the worst presidents in history. Really?  Currently, 6 in 10 voters disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy.  Why?

Challenge my logic!

Okay I must have someone challenge my logic! Am I WAY off base? Am I blind to the horrible way President Obama is running our country? Am I drinking the Kool-aid? Am I in the tank? Is he really that bad and I’m just refusing to accept that as reality? What’s going on?

I’ll admit it. I’m one of those that feel the economy would be much worse if Obama hadn’t acted when and how he did. Unfortunately, this, to some, is negative proof. I can hear them now, “Obama saved the economy and I believe in Flying Spaghetti Monster.” Me? I’m not convinced that this is negative proof. If we look at where unemployment was when Bush left office, I think it is clear that it was heading in one direction. Up! Towards the end of 2008 and into 2009, unemployment started to rise. From April of 2008 to January of 2009 (10 months), the unemployment rate increased by more than 2 percentage points. Obama took over a runaway freight train, and the conservative argument is that he didn’t do a good job stopping it even though it has clearly slowed down.  Really?  In my opinion, there was nothing ANY ONE could do – well...short of Superman…oh…and Denzel – to stop this out of control train. By the end of 2009, the unemployment rate blew up to over 10 percent. Since 2010, the unemployment rate has been on a slow decline. It dropped from above 10 percent to the just over 9.5 percent. In 2011, the unemployment rate dropped to a hair over 9 percent; the year ended with the unemployment rate below 9 percent. Again, I may be in the tank, but this isn’t a sign of bad economic policies or even bad leadership. To me, the numbers paint a completely different picture. I see an economy that was completely compromised at the end of the Bush administration, and an Obama administration doing all it can to successfully get it back under control. The administration should be praised, not criticized. But again, I may be in the tank!  Am I?
Source: CBO report - click to enlarge

As for the deficit, I’m STILL trying to figure out what the hell is going on with THIS argument. WTF!!! This is nothing but a byproduct of the powerful right wing propaganda machine. Seriously, they give Gingrich credit for the Surplus in the 90s, but blame Obama for the current deficit!! Isn’t that a tad bit inconsistent! Either Clinton deserves the credit for the Surplus in the 90s, or congress is to blame for the current down turn….

But I digress…

All you hear today is how Obama’s policies are SO terrible that they’ve created this huge deficit that culminated in the country's credit down grade. Again, I’m either in the tank, or this is complete bullshit! We have the numbers. Don’t get me wrong; I’m under no delusion that President Obama’s policies didn’t add to the deficit, but to say it is all Obama’s fault means you are willfully ignorant, or just an outright liar.

The CBO has already PROVEN that the Bush tax cuts blew a huge hole in our economy. We know the tax cuts – which Obama continued – took $1 trillion out of the government. We also know that while the government's revenues went down, spending went UP under the Bush administration: Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Medicare Drug program, and stimulus programs (I actually agree with the Medicare and Stimulus plans). We can argue all day about whether or not Obama should have continued with some of these things – I would argue he had to in the cases of Iraq and the stimulus plans – but to say it is ALL his fault is a flat out lie. Unless, of course, I only believe that because I'm in the tank.  Am I?

Next: International Policies and Republican obstruction.

Is it me?  Or is Obama terrible when it comes to the economy?  Are his economic policies making it worse? 
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