‘Impressive achievements despite the implacable wall of refusal’

‘Impressive achievements despite the implacable wall of refusal’ November 1, 2012

We enthusiastically endorse President Barack Obama for a second term,” writes The New York Times, “and express the hope that his victory will be accompanied by a new Congress willing to work for policies that Americans need.”

This isn’t a big surprise — The Times has a thing for Illinois lawyers, endorsing Obama in 2008, and Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and 1864 — but it’s a forceful, lengthy and considered argument for why Obama’s re-election would be best for America.

President Obama has shown a firm commitment to using government to help foster growth. He has formed sensible budget policies that are not dedicated to protecting the powerful, and has worked to save the social safety net to protect the powerless. Mr. Obama has impressive achievements despite the implacable wall of refusal erected by Congressional Republicans so intent on stopping him that they risked pushing the nation into depression, held its credit rating hostage, and hobbled economic recovery.

Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, has gotten this far with a guile that allows him to say whatever he thinks an audience wants to hear. But he has tied himself to the ultraconservative forces that control the Republican Party and embraced their policies, including reckless budget cuts and 30-year-old, discredited trickle-down ideas. Voters may still be confused about Mr. Romney’s true identity, but they know the Republican Party, and a Romney administration would reflect its agenda. Mr. Romney’s choice of Representative Paul Ryan as his running mate says volumes about that.

…  In the poisonous atmosphere of this campaign, it may be easy to overlook Mr. Obama’s many important achievements, including carrying out the economic stimulus, saving the auto industry, improving fuel efficiency standards, and making two very fine Supreme Court appointments.

Health Care: Mr. Obama has achieved the most sweeping health care reforms since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. The reform law takes a big step toward universal health coverage, a final piece in the social contract.

… Republicans’ propagandistic distortions of the new law helped them wrest back control of the House, and they are determined now to repeal the law.

That would eliminate the many benefits the reform has already brought: allowing children under 26 to stay on their parents’ policies; lower drug costs for people on Medicare who are heavy users of prescription drugs; free immunizations, mammograms and contraceptives; a ban on lifetime limits on insurance payments. Insurance companies cannot deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Starting in 2014, insurers must accept all applicants. Once fully in effect, the new law would start to control health care costs.

The Economy: Mr. Obama prevented another Great Depression. The economy was cratering when he took office in January 2009. By that June it was growing, and it has been ever since (although at a rate that disappoints everyone), thanks in large part to interventions Mr. Obama championed, like the $840 billion stimulus bill. Republicans say it failed, but it created and preserved 2.5 million jobs and prevented unemployment from reaching 12 percent. Poverty would have been much worse without the billions spent on Medicaid, food stamps and jobless benefits.

Last year, Mr. Obama introduced a jobs plan that included spending on school renovations, repair projects for roads and bridges, aid to states, and more. It was stymied by Republicans. Contrary to Mr. Romney’s claims, Mr. Obama has done good things for small businesses — like pushing through more tax write-offs for new equipment and temporary tax cuts for hiring the unemployed.

The Dodd-Frank financial regulation was an important milestone. It is still a work in progress, but it established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, initiated reform of the derivatives market, and imposed higher capital requirements for banks. Mr. Romney wants to repeal it.

Foreign Affairs: Mr. Obama and his administration have been resolute in attacking al-Qaida’s leadership, including the killing of Osama bin Laden. He has ended the war in Iraq. Mr. Romney, however, has said he would have insisted on leaving thousands of American soldiers there. He has surrounded himself with Bush administration neocons who helped to engineer the Iraq war, and adopted their militaristic talk in a way that makes a Romney administration’s foreign policies a frightening prospect.

Mr. Obama negotiated a much tougher regime of multilateral economic sanctions on Iran. … Mr. Obama gathered international backing for airstrikes during the Libyan uprising, and kept American military forces in a background role. It was smart policy.

The Supreme Court: The future of the nation’s highest court hangs in the balance in this election — and along with it, reproductive freedom for American women and voting rights for all, to name just two issues. Whoever is president after the election will make at least one appointment to the court, and many more to federal appeals courts and district courts. …

Civil Rights: … The steady undercurrent of racism in national politics is truly disturbing. Mr. Obama, however, has reversed Bush administration policies that chipped away at minorities’ voting rights and has fought laws, like the ones in Arizona, that seek to turn undocumented immigrants into a class of criminals.

The military’s odious “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule was finally legislated out of existence, under the Obama administration’s leadership. There are still big hurdles to equality to be brought down, including the Defense of Marriage Act, the outrageous federal law that undermines the rights of gay men and lesbians, even in states that recognize those rights.

Though it took Mr. Obama some time to do it, he overcame his hesitation about same-sex marriage and declared his support. That support has helped spur marriage-equality movements around the country.

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  • aunursa

    This isn’t a big surprise — The Times has… 

    endorsed a Democrat for president 14 consecutive times since 1960.

  • I urge all Christians who have not taken the time to research Mitt Romney to do so.   Anything that is of God should be able to stand in the Light of Truth.  If you can’t vote for President Obama, then vote for Ron Paul, or write-in Ron Paul. God would never want us to choose “The Lesser of two evils.” Do not be deceived.   No man is like unto God.
    Mitt Romney must NOT Be elected!


  • P J Evans

     Ron Paul is not an improvement over Mitt Romney.

  • P J Evans

    Did you notice how many of their endorsees lost?
    (BTW, the New York Times doesn’t have that much influence in most of the country. People look at their local papers first.)

  • So…ever since the GOP became a bunch of racist Southern Strategy using mutha…(SHUT YO’ MOUTH!)?

  •  Do you have a point?

  • Morilore

    I dunno, he mentioned it in an earlier thread and I found it kind of funny.

  • Given the overall job performance and legacy of Republican presidents versus Democratic presidents since 1960, I’d have to assume aunursa’s point is that the NYT has an established history of endorsing the better candidate.

  • Claude

    Might as well consider Eisenhower a Democrat as well, by today’s standards.

  • Dorium’s Head

    No man is like unto God, except for Righteous Ron Paul who can do no evil?

    Not buying the religious appeal, sorry. And honestly, you should do a closer read on a commenting community before making such appeals.

    You’re pretty much preaching to the choir concerning Mitt; y’ought to know that there’s not exactly a surplus of Romney voters around these parts.

  • Dorium’s Head

    And not to cast further aspersions on your rhetorical skills, but the link you provided showed Romney endorsing integration and praising the long overdue moves that his church made toward casting out the stain of racist ideology in their teaching.

    You’re implying an apparent problem with that?

    There are an abundance of ready criticisms on the two-faced android that Mitt Romney is. But his family history in the civil rights movement isn’t exactly at the top of my list.

  • The problem is that Mitt Romney, for all that he has committed the Republican heresy of admitting that equality of opportunity is not an accomplished fact, he endorses policies that would have the effect of worsening the lot of people of color.

  • Dorium’s Head

    Yep. Absolutely true. He’s better than Rep. Paul on that count, but not by a wide margin.

    In no way did I mean to come across as a Romney apologist. Far, far from it.

  • Pat

    Obama has faced nothing but obstructionism and spite from the Republicans since the second they got into office, even when implementing things they proposed. They blocked disaster reliefs for the drought, Hurrican Irene, and Joplin in exchange for budget cuts. Many of them flat-out said, out loud, to nodding news anchors, that a credit default would be good, because it would “wake people up.” The second the Democrats lost their supermajority, Mitch McConnell said he would devote the Senate Republicans’ efforts into making him a “one-term president.” And then they turn around and blame Obama for the credit downgrade they said they wanted to happen!

    What horrifies me is that it kind of worked.

  •  http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/2012/10/13/republicans-not-your-friendly-neighborhood-party/

    Not your Friendly Neighborhood Party!

  • Diez

    I cannot fathom a person who looks at Barack Obama and Mitt Romney and would rather call the latter their President.  Such a thought process is literally alien to me.  One doesn’t even need to look at how much good Obama has done– the sheer incompetence, complete duality, and utter lack of morals that Mitt Romney has displayed should have completely sunk him by now.  That he stands even a ghost of a chance at winning this election makes me physically sick to my stomach.

    I can think of only one reason that Mitt Romney would win this election; the majority of Americans, consciously or unconsciously, decided that anyone would be better than the black guy.

    If Romney wins, I will be able to say, for the first time in my entire life, that I am disgusted with my own country.

  • Carstonio

     I know a few voters whose chief criterion in presidential elections is how well the economy is doing. These folks lean Democrat and while they are horrified by Romney, they’re very disappointed with Obama because the economy is still in the doldrums. Myself, I have plenty of reasons to favor Obama (Ledbetter Act, repeal of DOMA, health care reform, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) even if he were running against someone like Chris Christie.

  • AnonymousSam

    In other news, Michael Brown, the director of FEMA during Hurricane Katrina, is criticizing Obama for responding to Hurricane Sandy so quickly. This is apparently a bad thing in his book.

    (Attached link for e-mail followers: http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/10/30/1110901/bush-fema-director-katrina-hits-obama-sandy/?mobile=nc )

  • Magic_Cracker

    His point, unstated as always, is that he’s going to vote for the other guy — despite the other guy’s craven opportunism; his lying*; his outmoded and thoroughly disproved economics; his “career” as a job-destroying, rent-seeking bust-out artist**; his complete disregard for anyone who isn’t white, male, wealthy, and hetero; his lying; his complete and utter lack of compassion, empathy, or decency; his barely and not always successfully concealed rage at being questioned or challenged; his lying; his thin-skinned sense of entitlement; his four-more wars foreign policy; his budget, which is equal parts bad math and magical thinking; his lying; his bullying; his crypto-feudalistic worldview; and his lying — because, FREEDUM!

    *Anyone who claims multiple positions — sometimes opposite positions — on an issue is, by definition, lying about some of them.

    ** When Micks, Spics, Shys, Spooks, and Dagos do it, it’s a “bust out.” When WASPs do it, it’s a “leveraged-buy out.”

  • MaryKaye

    Brown’s statements are an amazing display of the Right’s tendency to shoot itself in the foot.  I mean, you’re forced to resign as FEMA chief because you responded too slowly to Katrina; now you criticize someone else for responding faster?  The Left couldn’t *buy* an endorsement like that.

    I told this story to my husband, and he quoted Mark Twain to me:   “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”

    He also quoted a study measuring effectiveness of campaign ads:  it found that the Obama campaign’s most effective negative ad simply ran the tape of Romney’s 47% comments.  Apparently there is nothing the Democrats can say about their opponents more damning than *what they say about themselves.*

    (But for the person upthread who said “for the first time, I’d be disgusted with my country”–where were you in 2000 and 2004?  Maybe in 2000 we didn’t know what Bush was like, but in 2004 there was no such excuse.)

  • If Romney wins, I will be able to say, for the first time in my entire life, that I am disgusted with my own country.

    Would not be my first time…

  • http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/02/opinion/krugman-the-blackmail-caucus.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20121102&_r=3&

    During the first two years of Mr. Obama’s presidency, when Democrats
    controlled both houses of Congress, Republicans offered scorched-earth
    opposition to anything and everything he proposed. Among other things,
    they engaged in an unprecedented number of filibusters, turning the
    Senate — for the first time — into a chamber in which nothing can pass
    without 60 votes.

    And on top of that,  there’s always one or two Dems in the Senate who are Zell Miller-esque DINOs who the Repubs can usually count on to peel off from the Dem ranks more often than not. So a certain commenter’s claims to the contrary, the Dems do not and cannot act as monolithically as Republicans do.

  • reynard61

    “God would never want us to choose ‘The Lesser of two evils.'”

    That’s why I’m voting for C’thulu this year!

    Um…seriously, did you *really* mean that? Do you really want us to vote for the *greater* of two evils?!

  • The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man!

    The most harmless dude I could think of…


  • TheFaithfulStone

    To my mind, Romney is considerably worse than Bush.  Bush was an idiot, and largely controlled by Dick Cheney or his advisers, but he never seemed to have quite the same level of total disregard for reality that Romney seems to have.  (That, and while I didn’t like him, I never thought that George Bush would have personally shivved me in the kidneys for $1.50.)

    Take Katrina for instance, even George W. Bush could look at that and go “we should do better than that” (eventually) – Mitt Romney would be ‘heckuva jobbing’ Brownie until the entire Gulf Coast was engulfed in flames, because that’s what he WANTED to be true.