The tricky task of defending Obama

Defending President Barack Obama has become a tricky game of late. Word of fellow Democrats, Asian and European leaders, and even (gasp!) some in the media have begun criticizing him. It has become increasingly more difficult for Obama and his followers to defend the out of control spending, the lack of leadership (however symbolic this sense may be in the best administrations), the idea that he’s failing to lead overseas, and the idea that Obama doesn’t accept the basis for traditional Capitalism.

The first defense most talking heads, colleagues, and Obama himself float on the domestic, economic front is that Obama’s ideas have not had enough time to gestate through economic cycles. President Ronald Reagan, they rightly say, didn’t achieve sound economic ground in his first two years. Reagan had low poll numbers and discontent in his first few years, they say. We gave Reagan time for his policies to succeed, and the same luxury should be afforded to Obama. The difference with Reagan’s policies is that they were less vain in nature.

On the whole, politicians are a vain bunch. They believe that with their higher educations, their experiences, and their platforms in life that they can create jobs, spur growth and fix the economy. They believe, in other words, that they can fix the economy far better than the unwashed masses. It takes a bold person, and a true student of economics, to realize that they cannot do it. Fixing an economy, or running a smooth economy, must be done from the bottom up in the sense of the American individual–or corporation–versus the government. It takes this lack of vanity to realize that you have to free up the American people—and American industry–from your government regulation and your government taxes to gain prosperity in an individual manner and thus on a national scale. To typify this mentality, Reagan said: “You can get some great things done, when you’re not concerned who gets the credit.” Reagan also said that he wants to be remembered as the president who gave the government back to the people. If the current trends continue to slide on the trajectory they are currently headed in, I think Obama could rightly brag that he’ll be remembered as the president who took it back.

As evidence of this, Obama sought to have small businesses pay for the health care plan through a punishing 1099 tax on any transactions that exceed $600.00.

“But Obama has talked about ending this tax,” say his defenders.

Fair enough, but how are we going to pay for this monstrosity? In the “compromise” statement, Obama admitted that the 1099 provision was a tax that may have been too punishing to small businesses. He said that the only reason it was in the health care plan was that they had to find a way to pay for it. The question becomes if he’s willing to compromise on that punishing tax, what’s going to be the alternative punishing tax? If these small business holders are granted a reprieve from the punishing 1099 tax, who is going to get hammered instead?

This leads us to their next defense: Romney did it. Obama and his followers have been quick to state that government health care has been tried before in Massachusetts and under a Republican Governor. They don’t mention that by many calculations, state run health care has failed in Massachusetts, and they don’t tell you that the difference between covering the population of Massachusetts and the entire U.S. almost makes this argument moot.

You’re a racist. This is the next in the “chain of defense” defenders use when their backs are against the wall. Obama, if you didn’t know it, is part African-American, and I think this is one of the reasons Obama was such an attractive candidate to the Democrat leadership. I think that they knew that under an African-American’s stewardship, they could finally implement their dreams of liberalism. They knew that they would have someone who was impossible to criticize if he was of another race or gender in the case of Hillary Clinton. It bothers them then that people proceed to criticize the man. Most level-headed people laugh the racism charge off when it comes to benign criticisms of the administration’s actions, because they rightly see it as a desperate attempt by some to say something when they have nothing else to say. It must be effective to someone somewhere, or why would they continue to do it? Because they know that it affects you the audience. If they can damage the messenger in an ad hominem attack, they hope to obfuscate the message of the messenger.

When one speaks of Obama’s failed stimulus packages, the defenders say Bush did it too. They don’t say whether or not they were good bills, under Obama or Bush, they just say Bush did it too. They also claim that Republican Governors used the stimulus money. They don’t say whether it was used effectively, or if that money spurred growth, they just say that Republican Governors used it. Most experts have stated that the stimulus packages have failed to spur the economy in an effective manner, but ‘the Bush did it too’ defense seems to continue to be their most effective defense for the lack of Obama’s stimulus packages’ success. So, is it a correct analogy to assert that if you see someone push a guy down a hill then you should run down and push the guy harder and further down the hill? Has the ‘he did it too’, kindergarten defense ever worked on anyone? It must, because they keep using it.

A recent assessment of Obama’s travels to India estimated the cost to be at $200 million a day. Among the defenses were, he cannot tell you how much it cost for security reasons. He can’t give us an estimate? Does a rough estimate give away security details? Does the “security” answer make the issue go away entirely? What about transparency and accountability?

“Where were you when Bush did it?” asked one person. I was all over Bush on his out of control spending. His prescription drug plan, his spending on his ‘no child left behind’ education spending, and his out of control defense spending, but I didn’t blog back then. The question is are these defenders attempting to cloud the issues before you, or are they genuinely concerned about the messenger’s credibility? In other words, if I had a paper trail that showed I criticized Bush too for igniting this current spending trail that Obama has increased exponentially, would that mean that criticism of Obama is warranted?

Newsweek has recently run a rather creative excuse for their man in a piece titled: “Is the office of president too big for one man?” Before anyone panics about the structure of our republic, you should know that the media runs articles such as these whenever a Democrat gets in trouble. The media ran articles similar to this when James Earl Carter was in office, they ran articles about adultery when Bill Clinton was in office, they ran articles on how we all lie when Clinton was in office, and they wrote about Sarah Palin’s inexperience when Barack Obama was running for office against the more experienced John McCain. A better title for the article might be: Is the office of president too big for an inexperienced person? Perhaps, the media is displaying some remorse for not properly vetting Barack Obama with an article such as this one. Perhaps, they don’t want you to focus on how overwhelmed Obama has been by the daily machinations of the office of the president. Perhaps, they don’t want you to know want you to focus on the fact that the centralized government Obama has been creating focuses all the power on the president, and that’s the reason he’s overwhelmed. Carter got in similar trouble when he attempted to be a hands on president with more centralized power concentrated in the office of the president. Reagan, it is said, knew enough to know what he didn’t know. Reagan, it is said, was a great delegator of power to those who knew their specific areas of expertise. Perhaps, they don’t want you to focus on how Obama and Carter’s ideas about governing from the position have failed, while Reagan’s proved to be a success.

“You are spreading Rush, Beck, Fox, and O’Reilly propaganda.” The question that must be asked of the defenders is is it true? Is what Rush, Beck, Fox, and O’Reilly are saying about Obama and his administration and Congress true? If their proclamations are found to be false tell us about it. It’s not enough for me to hear someone say Rush said to nullify a statement, just as it isn’t enough for me to hear that Olbermann or Maher said it. I don’t fall on such kindergarten defenses. I look stuff up. I try to defeat reasonable charges and attacks. I try to give a point by point refutation of their proclamations. I don’t fall back on ad hominem attacks and mockery with no foundation of truth or factual refutation. I don’t think that defeats a point or an assertion in a credible manner.

If I were a liberal, I would confront my people and say that these Bush, Romney, racism, Reagan, and Fox News defenses aren’t working. Look what happened in the 2010 elections, I would say. Conservatives are laughing at us, I would say, because we all have the same excuses and responses. We need to defeat these people, and to do so we need factual refutation that sets them back. If I said all this, I have a feeling that they would turn to me and say: “Hey, Obama’s doing it too.”


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