Obama Poster

31 Aug

I have to agree with the other pundits, the most powerful line from the Republic National Convention came from Paul Ryan:

“College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.” (Quotes from Paul Ryan’s VP Speech to the RNC 2012)

It is true that some, maybe most, people who voted for Obama are a little disappointed with his presidency.  If you really look at the last 3 1/2 years, you can either blame Obama for everything or blame the anti-Obama forces instead.  It is really hard to determine what Obama is really responsible for, but you definitely cannot blame him for everything, or maybe anything, if you’re trying to at least appear to be fair.

If you want to know why your streets are in disrepair or the city lights in your neighborhood are out, that is the problem of your city officials.  If your taxes are high, that is something you have to discuss with your state representative, state assemblyman, state senator, state delegate, U.S. representative, or U.S. Senator.  If you want to know why your water or electricity bill is high, talk to your local utility company (who are actually under regulation from your city, state, or federal officials).  If you want to know why it took the US so many years to actually have more fuel-efficient cars (like Toyota did a few years before), look at Detroit and the Big 3 (Ford, General Motors, Chrysler).  If you want to know why global warming is happening at such a fast pace, observe the massive amounts of pollution coming from China and India (who hold more than a 1/3 of the world’s population).  If you want to know why the weather is so bad and seems to be ruining your life, it’s called the weather.  If you want to know why laws are upheld or stricken down, the entire judicial system takes care of that.  If you want to know why gas prices are so high, look at the biggest factors (e.g. OPEC, cartel-like oil companies, supply-and-demand).

I can be sarcastic and say, “Yea, the President did everything bad in your life.”  I can be real and say, “Blame those who deserve that blame and not the President for everything.”

Yes, I do believe in President Obama.  As someone who did not vote for either party, I wish I voted for Obama in 2008, but I plan to this upcoming November.  I am a registered Democrat, but I am not liberal or progressive by any measure.  I have voted for Republicans, and I will continue to do so.  I have never voted the party-line, and don’t think I will in the near future.  However, to reiterate, I do believe that President Obama is the best hope for the country.

What actually have been his failures?  Is the economy all his fault? (In such an interconnected global network of trade and finances, the delinquencies of Europe hampered US economic growth, which Republicans should know.) Does he lack leadership? (And then when he asserts it, he’s labeled a socialist, communist, or fascist.)  Did he not do enough? (Yet couldn’t get anything passed because of a GOP-controlled House and a Senate minority whose leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), stated their only goal was to make Obama a one-term president.)

I think he has done a lot that will impact me in the future, because the mark of a good leader is not instantaneous results but long-term foresight.

1. Passed Health Care Reform: After five presidents over a century failed to create universal health insurance, signed the Affordable Care Act (2010). It will cover 32 million uninsured Americans beginning in 2014 and mandates a suite of experimental measures to cut health care cost growth, the number one cause of America’s long-term fiscal problems.

2. Passed the Stimulus: Signed $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 to spur economic growth amid greatest recession since the Great Depression. Weeks after stimulus went into effect, unemployment claims began to subside. Twelve months later, the private sector began producing more jobs than it was losing, and it has continued to do so for twenty-three straight months, creating a total of nearly 3.7 million new private-sector jobs.

3. Passed Wall Street Reform: Signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2010) to re-regulate the financial sector after its practices caused the Great Recession. The new law tightens capital requirements on large banks and other financial institutions, requires derivatives to be sold on clearinghouses and exchanges, mandates that large banks provide “living wills” to avoid chaotic bankruptcies, limits their ability to trade with customers’ money for their own profit, and creates the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (now headed by Richard Cordray) to crack down on abusive lending products and companies.

Obama’s Top 50 Accomplishments

In the short-term, I am so thankful beyond belief that I have until age 26 until I have to get health insurance because now I can stay on my parent’s.  I am less worried that if I get sick, I’m less likely to be riddled with debt because (of) “Obamacare”s.  Even though I disagreed with giving billions of dollars to the stimulus, it actually had an effect and I wish that this time they went big.  To the public, banks suck a lot, and even though we should have the Glass-Steagall Act reinstated, the Wall Street Reform is a step (back) in the right direction to protect our own money to those that we should be able to trust with our (financial) lives.

Yes, that poster of Obama may be fading on that 20-something year old’s bedroom.  But I wonder why Obama’s poster has never been taken down?

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Boris Shor, PhD

Associate Professor, Dep't of Political Science, U. of Houston

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