Tag Archives: Obama

And yet … still I am voting Obama.

And yet … still I am voting Obama.

I wrote a piece the other day about the need for paying attention to the national debt, deficits, and paring expenses while balancing the budget.

Someone challenged me: how can I be concerned about these things ‘and yet’ vote Obama?

It is simple really.

I don’t see Obama as a great master of change. And no, I don’t believe that he has any grand plan for 2012-2016. He has disappointed me at times over the last four years — but I started out with lowered expectations since I’m a traditional Republican voter (70-80% of the time, maybe higher at local level).

So what do I see in Obama? Obama has lived up to his reputation of being ‘no drama Obama’ … which is good considering that the GOP has been after his ass since almost Day One with no intent of cooperating and working together for meaningful change and reform in any way on almost any issue. Obama has been a voice of stability working to bring most things to the center for resolution.

As for the incredible debt etc., every president develops each year a five year outlook into the future as to where budgets and debt are probably going. President Bush’s prediction for growth of our national debt has been Obama’s reality. Debt under Obama has barely differed from Bush’s prediction by 10% or less during his first two years in office.

—- As for Year 3 (2011) and Year 4 (2012), President Bush’s budget projection assumed that the war would be over in Afghanistan by 2011 and so no funds were programmed. Add the war expenses back in and accrued debt during Obama’s entire term is almost a straight line from where it was on Day One of his presidency, and in line with Bush FY2009’s Five Year Presidential Budget projection.

As for Obama’s legacy of debt to programs that started under his presidency: less new debt created by any president since Truman.

If you are a social conservative sure there are lots of reasons not to like Obama. If you are a fiscal conservative that understands basic math and understands the difference between ‘incurred obligated debt’ and debt due to new programs then Obama has been pretty good with a dollar.

My second reason for supporting Obama and essentially defecting from my GOP roots of almost 30 years: I really don’t think that the GOP gets it. They are not really so pissed off about Obama’s policies as they are that they lost in 2008. All this talk about ‘taking our country back’ is usually just empty, angry rhetoric that translates to ‘sure the country melted down on our watch but that was just a fluke. We like things the way they were’.

And so with just days to go until the election I do remain very concerned about America’s future, that damned fiscal cliff will be a much deeper drop than many suspect, and runaway debt seems endless. And yet … and yet I am voting for someone that I believe really has no plan, or any objective, that is any bigger or more grandiose than keeping America’s economy stable and just buying time to heal on its own. That is a classical conservative approach.

My choice may not be a brilliant choice. But for me it is a far better choice than voting for a return to what got us here to begin with.

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Election 2012 … Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

It is all what it is. Since 1800 we have come to routinely expect lies, deceit and heavily filtered info by candidates, their campaigns, and their supporters.

We have a choice. Some of us vote for the lesser of two evils. Some vote for the supposed philosophy espoused by a candidate in the hope that it will prevail.

Yet we all must be responsible for seeking out the facts on our own and being skeptical of everyone.

We should consider perhaps that the more the flag is waved, or our hearts are appealed to, then the higher the chance that a smokescreen is being created for something else.

ELECTION 2012

… and the WINNER is (so far):

Politifact has judged Obama public statements of fact to flunk the truthfulness test 31% of the time. Obama is also the recipient of 6 ‘Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire’ judgements … http://www.politifact.com/personalities/barack-obama/

HOWEVER, Romney WINS the untruthfulness contest easily with 43% of his statement of facts flunking the truthfulness test … Romney also beats out Obama badly in the ‘Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire’ judgements against him … http://www.politifact.com/personalities/mitt-romney/

So should we trust someone more that misleads us 31% of the time, rather than 43% of the time?

Or is it what it is and we should just vote A) the lesser of two evils, or B) vote for the philosophy, hoping it prevails, and consider lying an All-American election normality? Election 2012 is not a contest of angels.

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President Obama – the most Frugal Government Spender in 60 years?

Politifact.com recently examined an extraordinary claim that President Obama has had the lowest spending record of any recent president.

Can that be right?

Politifact says that such a claim is ‘mostly true’.

I encourage you to read the Politifact numbers analysis for yourself: read it here.

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The Politifact story is a good read for many reasons.

One good reason being that much of what people believe that they know is often without basis.

It is always good to have around a calculator and some real numbers. Politifact tries to provide the numbers and calculations for you.

Secondly, another good reason to read the article is that if you argue to replace something with something ‘better’ then better should be better. Better should have a metric that we can calculate.

I am not always so happy with President Obama but as compared with whom? Certainly not I know how to create jobs Romney, whose state dropped from #37 in jobs growth to #47 during his term as governor.

If you wish to argue that Romney had to deal with a Democratic legislature then so be it. However, please accept that since 2010 President Obama has had to work with a Republican House; yes, Democrats demurred from proposing their own budget so that the Republican budgets could be judged on its own merits (and also true that Democrat are not so hot at using calculators either so it saved them a lot of time and effort.)

Thirdly, the last good reason to read the Politifact article is that we have many tough choices ahead and not a lot of folks want to do critical thinking.

2013 will be a very tough year. The CBO has effectively said that whatever course we take we will cause us to fall back into official recession during 2013. The CBO analysis says that 2013 represents a fiscal cliff that we are about to run off.

For those that say we need austerity and no new increase in the debt limit, you can’t get there from here. You certainly cannot get to there (balanced budgets, decreased national debt, and economic growth) by protecting current levels of defense spending or increasing it.

Just to maintain current spending levels will require an increase in our national debt level. Soon. Even if you were to cancel out almost all social spending you still could not cover defense spending without borrowing more money. Quixotic to me that that the ‘more defense spending’ crowd is quite often the same choir as the ‘no new debt’ crowd and the ‘no new taxes’ crowd. Those same folks recently proposed in the House draft budget an 8% increase in defense spending.

For those that want to pay down the national debt, there appears to be three groups with a view and a following.

—- Group #1 wants to let all tax cuts expire (except for folks that vote for them). The CBO says that letting the tax cuts expire would indeed dramatically decrease our national debt … and do so in as little as the first 12 months. BUT that would also suck so much money out of the economy that it would probably dry up consumer spending and … great ungood would happen.  As for those that would let the tax cuts expire, except for those that vote for them — grab a calculator. How is that a balanced plan. Some, primarily Democrats, are arguing to protect tax cuts for the first $1 million of income and to protect the social security pay day tax cut.

—– Group #2: Keep the tax cuts, create more tax cuts or breaks + increase defense spending. This will supposedly cause the economy to grow. This is a revisit of rhetorical Reaganomics: just ain’t happening. Buy a calculator. Hire a consulting firm. Your numbers are on drugs. I am a fan of President Reagan (no one is perfect) but his administration didn’t grow the economy so much from tax breaks as growing the economy from a  massive infusion of government cash that left massive debt in its spending wake.

—– Group #3: Target ALL government programs for decreased spending over time (mandate an agency-neutral percentage-based budget cut each year for 10 years), pay as you go congressional budget spending — even if that requires some tax increase (but sunset the tax increase), flatten taxes and remove most exceptions, limit the dollar or percentage value of exemptions, don’t rob from the rich but don’t penalize the working poor either.

So about this article, it offers some good points for thought and debate. One interpretation can also be that much of the fiscal rancor against Obama is hot air. Yes, President Obama has failed to use the leadership power of his office to describe and to outline a path towards fiscal stablity for our country. Yet neither has President Obama been the tax and spend ogre that many have made him out to be.

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Which Political Party Knows How to Create Jobs?

Mitt Romney recently criticized President Obama saying that we should be growing jobs at the rate of 500,000 per month

That sounds a lot like Newt Gingrich’s promise of $2.50 per gallon of gasoline if we elected him.

Only once — in 1978 — has the economy topped 500,000 jobs two months in a row and that was when Jimmy Carter was president … Obama had one such month in May of 2010 with 516,000 jobs. Reagan had one such month in 8 years of his presidency, and neither Bush ever hit this level. Clinton also got just one 500,000+ month.

Paper or plastic? Private Jobs Increase More With Democrats in White HouseBloomberg.

Since President Kennedy, private industry jobs growth has been much greater under Democratic presidents. Government growth records go to the Republicans.

Isn’t that the opposite of what we constantly hear?

While I remain a Reagan fan — his legend should be that he was a generally inspirational figure that was the right person at the right time — jobs creation under Reagan was strong but not any kind of record setter.

Jobs growth under the different presidents — although I am not sure that they all deserve credit/discredit for the jobs created — am not a political partisan:

Kennedy/Johnson 3.12%
Johnson 3.63%
Nixon 2.17%
Nixon/Ford 1.96%
Carter 2.3%
Reagan 81-84: 1.75%
Reagan 85-88: 2.53%
Bush 41: .69%
Clinton 93-96: 2.6%
Clinton 96-2000: 1.6%
Bush 43 ’01-04: .51%
Bush 43 05-08: .84%
Obama: .75%

Noting that jobs growth has slowed significantly since Clinton’s second term, what can we do to create jobs?

What can we really do?

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Dear NRA – Your ‘Defeat Obama Fact Sheet’ bothers me. Where are the facts?

NRA – this bothers me.

Am an NRA member and a gun owner; owner of guns.

It bothers that the NRA is actively targeting President Obama for election defeat by distributing its ‘Defeat Obama Fact Sheet‘ (PDF).

In this factsheet the NRA provides 10 talkingpoints. This is just a collection of innuendo, half-truths (barely truthful is more accurate), and some facts charitably best described as lies.

Dear NRA, advocate for Second Amendment Rights and gun safety and … but please leave attack politics out. Or someone is going to think that you are a gun nut. And since I am an NRA member then I really don’t want to be called a gun nut.

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Is Fox News following a script? Fox News on Energy Prices – Then and Now

Then and now … flip and flop … Politics 101: blame the other guy whenever possible and obfuscate when your guy is in office.

Often heard is that gas was something like gas was $1.84 on the day Obama became president and now … OMG.

Sure it was lower for that short period of time, but it had just fallen late in the 2008 election year from a high in the spring of 2008 that wasn’t much different than the current cost.

Beware of politicians … and fear their cheering sections even more. Truth often is irrelevant and YOU are trusted to have a short attention span.

So what does the energy industry itself say about high prices? Check it out at this link.


Thanks to Travis Johnson for sharing.

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Pragmatic Conservatives Exist? How I see 2012.

Question – a reader in a discussion group on Facebook asked: “William – just for a matter of perspective, my understanding is that you consider yourself a conservative, is that correct?”

Hmmm… could be a trap.

The author had not really identified their own perspective. Earlier in the day I had gotten a broadside from another Facebooker when I posted the picture below.

Election 2012 - Republicans for Obama

The broadside writer wanted to know: “Why do you post crap like this? There are no real “Republicans for Obama” – only pretend Republicans trying to give an extremist legitimacy.”

Maybe. Maybe not.

My purpose wasn’t to support either Obama or to support these Republicans.

There seems to be no discussion these days that isn’t a bit dangerous to one’s reputation.

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Back to the question:

“William – just for a matter of perspective, my understanding is that you consider yourself a conservative, is that correct?”

Yes. I do consider myself a conservative.

What passes for conservatism these days is mostly a reactionary push back against a world that has changed and some folks know that their days are numbered. Their days are numbered because they have chosen to embrace a political ideology that is at the same time just as much exclusionary as it is generational. Except for Ron Paul’s fans, the Republican Party is older, overwhelmingly a party of caucasian America, and seemingly tone deaf as to how others see America.

I myself am a caucasian so the issue is not with that as a cause. The cause of the numbering of the GOP’s days is that Republicans have played so long to themes embraced by those that have enjoyed white privilege that its tone deafness just feels normal for it. What? Problems? No, the average GOPer sees the rest of the world as having problems but not it. Maybe not. Except for RINOs. RINOs see things in a multitude of colors – ergo they have got to go too. They are a cancer in the Republican Party. You either see things as black and white, good or bad, evil or our way.

Election 2012 - "The Plan"

Election 2012 - "The Plan"

Until 2009 I considered myself a Republican. I considered myself a conservative Republican.

I was active in the Tea Party at the very beginning. Met many fine people. Met many strange ones, too. Most of the strange ones are still there but the pragmatic conservatives have moved on.

The Tea Party very quickly attracted a different sort of conservative: those full of anger. There are those that say such a depiction is full of bull droppings. But it is not. Perhaps they were mad at themselves — hopefully they were because they had won almost total control of U.S. national government and they botched it. They did such  a poor job that conservatives like myself no longer wanted to be associated with the party.

Reality is that you don’t have to be Republican to be a conservative. It is a good thing too as many conservatives in the Republican Party are what I consider wingers: they’ll do and say whatever they believe it takes to get the party back into power.

There is no real home for pragmatic conservatives at this time. Most still cling to calling themselves ‘Republicans’ but I don’t think that such will survive the election of 2012.

In 2010 it appeared that the conservatives surged back to power. What I saw was that our country was still very much in the depths of economic downturn. There was no good news with Obama’s name on it, and a very angry 24/7 campaign to attack Obama and to demonize Democrats paid off. (It didn’t hurt that most Democrats jumped at seeing their own shadow. That was extremely helpful to the 2010 GOP election efforts).

However, a recent study of policy positions rated Obama THE most moderate president of any Democrat since FDR’s day. His positions (except for health care) are scarcely different that President Bush’s. There are conservatives and libertarians that realize that. (Outside of the party we conservatives don’t think in talking points.) Add in just a tad of good economic news and people will come to  stop and to think about that. People think much clearer when their homes aren’t being repossessed.

So as a pragmatic conservative I spend much of my time battling to save what little good remains of the ‘conservative’ bumper sticker.

Liberals aren’t evil. Neither are philosophical conservatives that believe that we are all in this together.

My prediction for 2012 — although it is still early in the game: Obama wins reelection courtesy of the GOP and many of the angry nutters that have the loudest voices. Democrats retain the Senate. And as for the House of Representatives … the Dems get it back by 10 seats.

Yes, I am conservative. But that doesn’t make me blind and tone deaf. Although, you just never know.

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