‘Fairness and integrity’: The New Yorker endorses President Obama

“The choice is clear,” the editors of The New Yorker magazine write in their endorsement of President Barack Obama.

The Romney-Ryan ticket represents a constricted and backward-looking vision of America: the privatization of the public good. In contrast, the sort of public investment championed by Obama — and exemplified by both the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Affordable Care Act — takes to heart the old civil-rights motto “Lifting as we climb.” That effort cannot, by itself, reverse the rise of inequality that has been under way for at least three decades. But we’ve already seen the future that Romney represents, and it doesn’t work.

The re-election of Barack Obama is a matter of great urgency. Not only are we in broad agreement with his policy directions; we also see in him what is absent in Mitt Romney — a first-rate political temperament and a deep sense of fairness and integrity.

Actually, since this is The New Yorker, they’re not endorsing Obama’s re-election, but his reëlection.

I’m not inclined to co-operate with the magazine’s umlaut-happy style, but their summary of Obama’s accomplishments — even in the face of unprecedented obstruction — makes for much more informative and interesting reading than the breathless horse-race coverage of TV pundits.

The re-election of a President who has been progressive, competent, rational, decent, and, at times, visionary is a serious matter. The President has achieved a run of ambitious legislative, social, and foreign-policy successes that relieved a large measure of the human suffering and national shame inflicted by the Bush Administration. Obama has renewed the honor of the office he holds.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — the $787-billion stimulus package — was well short of what some economists, including Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, thought the crisis demanded. But it was larger in real dollars than any one of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal measures. It reversed the job-loss trend — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as many as 3.6 million private-sector jobs have been created since June, 2009—and helped reset the course of the economy. It also represented the largest public investment in infrastructure since President Eisenhower’s interstate-highway program. From the start, though, Obama recognized that it would reap only modest political gain. “It’s very hard to prove a counterfactual,” he told the journalist Jonathan Alter, “where you say, ‘You know, things really could have been a lot worse.’ ” He was speaking of the bank and auto-industry bailouts, but the problem applies more broadly to the stimulus: harm averted is benefit unseen.

As for systemic reform, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which Obama signed into law in July, 2010, tightened capital requirements on banks, restricted predatory lending, and, in general, sought to prevent abuses of the sort that led to the crash of 2008. Against the counsel of some Republicans, including Mitt Romney, the Obama Administration led the takeover, rescue, and revival of the automobile industry. The Administration transformed the country’s student-aid program, making it cheaper for students and saving the federal government sixty-two billion dollars — more than a third of which was put back into Pell grants. AmeriCorps, the country’s largest public-service program, has been tripled in size.

Obama’s most significant legislative achievement was a vast reform of the national health-care system. Five Presidents since the end of the Second World War have tried to pass legislation that would insure universal access to medical care, but all were defeated by deeply entrenched opposition. Obama — bolstered by the political cunning of the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi — succeeded. Some critics urged the President to press for a single-payer system — Medicare for all. Despite its ample merits, such a system had no chance of winning congressional backing. Obama achieved the achievable. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the single greatest expansion of the social safety net since the advent of Medicaid and Medicare, in 1965. Not one Republican voted in favor of it.

Obama has passed no truly ambitious legislation related to climate change, shying from battle in the face of relentless opposition from congressional Republicans. Yet his environmental record is not as barren as it may seem. The stimulus bill provided for extensive investment in green energy, biofuels, and electric cars. In August, the Administration instituted new fuel-efficiency standards that should nearly double gas mileage; by 2025, new cars will need to average 54.5 miles per gallon.

President Obama’s commitment to civil rights has gone beyond rhetoric. During his first week in office, he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which protects women, minorities, and the disabled against unfair wage discrimination. By ending the military’s ban on the service of those who are openly gay, and by endorsing marriage equality, Obama, more than any previous President, has been a strong advocate of the civil rights of gay men and lesbians. Finally, Obama appointed to the Supreme Court two highly competent women, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, the Court’s first Hispanic. Kagan and Sotomayor are skilled and liberal-minded Justices who, abjuring dogmatism, represent a sober and sensible set of jurisprudential values.

 

  • aunursa

    Just between us friends, I won’t make a decision until the New York Times tells me how to vote.

  • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

    Technically I think it’s a diaeresis rather than an umlaut. (Umlaut indicates a shift from one vowel sound to another, while diaeresis indicates that the vowel is dissyllabic with the adjacent vowel, rather than forming a dipthong or digraph.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You know, I’ve noticed that for the first time in probably 20 years, both candidates running for President culturally and linguistically are from the North, not the South.

    Before that you had Dubya Bush with that Texas twang – and even Al Gore is from Tennessee. Before that you had that good ole boy Clinton from Arkansas. You pretty much have to go back to Bush I vs Dukakis in 1988 to find two Northern opponents!

    Especially now that the cultural attitudes of the South are writing themselves large across the political scene in the USA (the tendency to an ‘honor culture’ response to international threats, the tendency to favor ‘complementarian’ gender roles, and the tendency to oppose labor rights especially if such rights help people of color),  it’s of interest to note that even Romney must needs carry a background that is essentially Northern, not Southern, in nature into his job as President.

    Maybe one day a book will get written about that, heh.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    That’s good. I relate umlauts primarily with Heavy Metal, and the idea of the New Yorker staff in leather and spikes caused me mental whiplash. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

     You beat me to it, but I’ll just confirm, since you indicated at least some uncertainty: Yes, that’s diaeresis, not umlaut.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    Yeah, of course, once you know whom they’re endorsing (which, given, was pretty much a given), there can’t possibly be anything of interest in their explanations of their reasons why, right?  All that matters is who gets it; nothing else to see here, folks.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    But Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s.
    – President Obama, Third Presidential Debate

    I thought that was the best zinger of them all :D

  • Jurgan

    Your shtick is getting really tedious.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Oh please. Like you care about the opinion of anything but the latest random poll.

    Also, stop talking to us as if the liberals your right-wing buddies made
    up actually exist and we are them. Besides the fact that it’s a ridiculous strawman, it makes you look really, really, really stupid.

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

    Only look stupid?

  • Chuggins

    Thank you David Renwick for remaining professional up against bully Joe Scarborough this morning on Morning Joe. Joe couldn’t resist his tantrum at your constructive criticism of the Bush-Cheney shameful war policies…….very sad because he couldn’t and wouldn’t listen (as usual) to the “left”!!!!!!!!…….thank you for your excellent adult handling!

  • JustoneK

    Good faith contributions to the conversation from aunursa, ladies and gentlementlemen.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Well, the important thing is that nobody made a joke about aunursa posting something insulting or irrelevant before he did it, because that is just wrong.

  • JustoneK

    Wouldn’t want to be glib now.

  • Beroli

    You know, I believe in statues of limitations on Internet posts–as long as one doesn’t try to run for office on the basis of always having proclaimed the opposite of what s/he can be documented as having proclaimed. I believe in second chances and the possibility of change.

    What I don’t get, is why SisterCoyote seems to believe we should feel some obligation to forget aunursa’s history whenever a new thread comes out and he doesn’t make sure the very first comment on it by anyone is a reminder of what kind of person he is.

  • aunursa

    Also, stop talking to us as if the liberals your right-wing buddies made up actually exist and we are them.

    Which imaginary liberals?  The ones who love to chant that all Republicans are stupid, evil, or both?  The ones who impulsively regard any opposition to their political views as based on racism, sexism, or insatiable greed?  Nope — those imaginary liberals never show up here.

  • aunursa

    we should feel some obligation to forget aunursa’s history whenever a new thread comes out and he doesn’t make sure the very first comment on it by anyone is a reminder of what kind of person he is.

    I wish that Disqus allowed signature lines.  Mine would remind everyone — just so that no one forgets — that I am a monster.

  • Beroli

    I wish that Disqus allowed signature lines.  Mine would remind everyone — just so that no one forgets — that I am a monster.

    I believe you’re not thinking it through. That would make actually posting, except on Left Behind threads, redundant. After a few Left Behind threads of no polls, no “so’s your old man,” and no passive-aggressive whining, the sig would just seem incongruous and people would start thinking it wasn’t meant seriously.

  • JustoneK

    I really can’t tell if you enjoy the attention deliberately or not but you always always have to make a passive aggressive comment about being criticized.  

  • Lori

     

    Which imaginary liberals?  The ones who love to chant that all
    Republicans are stupid, evil, or both?  The ones who impulsively regard
    opposition to their political views as based on racism, sexism,
    or insatiable greed?  Nope — those imaginary liberals never show up here.   

    If you actually cared about this it would seem logical for you to try to provide a counter-example instead of being passive-aggressive, misusing polls and generally being as annoying as possible.

    Strange that you don’t do that.

  • Lori

    The reason no one forgets your history is that it’s not history, it’s current events. Stop acting like an ass and over time people will stop thinking of you as an ass.

  • Boidster

    Which imaginary liberals?  The ones who love to chant that all Republicans are stupid, evil, or both?  The ones who impulsively regard opposition to their political views as based on racism, sexism, or insatiable greed?

    Um…yes. Those imaginary liberals. However with Halloween coming soon, perhaps a few straw men will give this place a seasonal atmosphere. So carry on.

  • Vermic

    AmeriCorps, the country’s largest public-service program, has been tripled in size.

    Man, remember 2009 when Glenn Beck and his followers said that Obama was raising an AmeriCorps brownshirt army?  Good times, good times.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You’re joking, surely. O_O

    How is it that these conservative commentators have absolutely no sense of shame when it comes to the most baseless accusations they can come up with against liberals?

    This has shades of Vince Foster all over it. I can’t count the number of times right-wing buttheads with an ax to grind came up with some new half-assed smear job against the Clintons.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You’re not. I’ll give you that.

    What you are is completely out of touch with anything except the life experience of a suburban white middle class male.

    So you blithely style yourself the resident expert on everything under the sun because you have an opinion poll for everything under the sun, or failing that, you’ve downloaded the ebooks for everything under the sun and believe your abiity to copy-paste any URL, any swath of text, substitutes for a real and vital understanding of, gee, QUILTBAG people maybe, and their lived experiences which add texture and understanding to the talking points you throw out like some kind of respondo-bot.

  • Vermic

    Google “americorps brownshirt” for a sample of what the wingnuts were saying back then.

    I have a friend who spent two years in AmeriCorps.  Her team’s job was to help a tiny remote Alaskan town improve their infrastructure and jump-start their economy.  Obviously a well-placed sleeper cell for a communofascist takeover of our great nation.

  • Beroli

    His posts that aren’t sniping generally get friendly responses now, even.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    He’s praised George Bush as a good economic steward and Dick Cheney as somebody who’s — who shows great wisdom and judgment.

    *sprays coffee all over, sporfling*

    I’m not sure that’s the reaction Romney wanted when he praised those guys. :P

    EDIT: After this segment, Romney basically recycled like, ALL of his talking points! “Five key steps” blah blah blah blah.

    Every time he says “North American energy independent” I get worried. (>_<)

  • Madhabmatics

    People forgive the occasional bad posting if you write entertaining later. Endless whining about how ~no one on the board agrees with you~ is never entertaining, it’s just dull.

    Tl;dr only post cool + neat posts.

  • Madhabmatics

    If someone asks “Madhabmatics, how do I become a Cool Post Writer like you (I like your clever name b t dubbs)” I will answer them with the great advice from Apocalypse World author Vincent Baker in the introduction to Apocalypse World:

    “The rule for moves is to do it, do it.”

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Considering the content of your posts, a signature would be entirely unnecessary. It would be like flashing DARTH VADER IS A BAD GUY on the screen while the Death Star blows up Alderaan. 

  • ASeriesOfWords

    Am I the only one that doesn’t hate aunursa?

  • Joshua

    Well, I’m glad you’ve cleared that up.

  • phranckeaufile

    Obviously a well-placed sleeper cell for a communofascist islamunistofascist takeover of our great nation.

    You’re livin’ in the past, son.

  • Joshua

    islamunistofascist

    If this keeps up much longer, the word for “our enemies” is going to be an interminable torrent of nonsense syllables.

    Oh, wait.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    George Orwell put it rather aptly when he coined the term “duckspeak” to represent the essentially mindless construction of speech designed only to communicate ‘approved’ concepts and circumscribe thought about what the words actually mean.

  • Turcano

    Though I will vote for him – largely because it turns out that the NDAA wasn’t quite as horrible as I had been led to believe – it takes drinking some pretty delicious Kool-Aid to call him a progressive.

  • JustoneK

    I don’t hate aunursa.  They’ve made some cogent points before.
    But they’ve been extra snippy lately here too and I am very tired.

  • Rowthyme

    Joe Scarbough is a whinny right figure head how a person can defend the bush -Cheney years beats me! these morons took us to war based on a lie! and their latest surogate Mitt Romney  is a person without principles nor integrity if he says good morning you better look  check becase it could be 6 pm he is the flipfloper in cheif and a disgrace  to the standard that Americans and American politics  is viewed by  other countries. he is a baltant liar that would say and do any thing to score a vote.  it would be a sad day in America if he wins this election

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Who on Earth is Joe Scarbough?


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