Obama's Leadership: DADT, EFCA, Etc.

Self-bumped and promoted. Originally posted 2009-12-10 15:40:12 -0500. Also available in orange. -- GH

Because of a thread that hit the flame folder here where the original poster was demonstrably uninterested in reality, I'm posting this -- feel free to add, amend, correct, elucidate, qualify or quantify.

  • DADT: Obama hasn't demonstrated any overt leadership on this, and appears to be dragging his heels. But he also has reaffirmed that he will get it repealed/replaced, and other promising signs of culture-shifts that recognize the importance of full equality and non-discrimination are emerging.

  • EFCA: (Employee Free Choice Act) Obama was an original co-sponsor of this while he was still in the Senate, and pledged to sign it into law upon becoming President. The qualifier, of course, was that Congress had to pass the legislation so it would appear on his desk for him to sign -- as it is with any law. The Obama WH had reiterated support for the legislation, but it has so far been stalled by the GOP and a group of wayward Democrats.

  • Economy, Wall Street and the Banks: This is a mess that Obama inherited from his predecessor -- a stinking, seething pile of sh!t festering throughout the economic and social infrastructure of the nation, with vast ties to the world economy. Made ever-more complicated by the expansive reduction in regulatory controls that the GOP's unfettered majorities of the preceding 12 years made possible, this is one of the biggest messes to clean up. Obama has made several unpopular decisions, some of which appear to be strategically necessary and others which appear unfathomable betrayals...yet, behind the scenes, other steps have been taken that have garnered less attention and move us further toward unraveling the twisted knots of red tape. (See House Committee votes to let regulators break up Too Big to Fail Banks, for example.)

  • Healthcare: Under Obama's initiative, a healthcare reform bill was taken up -- and subsequently ding'd repeatedly as Dems caved and capitulated to the GOP (and other screwheads) -- and yet, a better-we-have-had-to-date bill looks to be on the verge of passing. Behind the scenes, other actions are helping to lay and set a foundation for improvements that will also make further future reforms easier while reducing overhead cost and bureaucracy. One of the little-recognized big changes that looks like it may stay in the current form of the bill is the push to keep 90% of premium money focused on health care, not administrative costs. Wile this may result in hiked premiums (there's little regulatory strength to help ensure affordable premiums are raised beyond a fair limit), it does stand to significantly impact the insurer's bottom lines and fat margins.

    See CTMan's earlier front-page post for some in-depth perspective and more information.

So, yeah -- Obama's been making progress, not always in a popular way, but against insane opposition, increasing security threats and a huge mess.1, 2, 3 If you're having issues with his performance given the size and heft of the sh!t sandwich he was handed, and upon which the GOP, the teabaggers and recalcitrant politico Dems keep dolluping more crap, then grab a mop.

Are you buying this?

Like many other nations, we looking at a ballooning national debt and, like many of those other countries, we have many of the same issues with balancing international competitiveness against our generally higher wages. at a time where many of our largest government expenses, while exessive and sometimes wasteful, are justifiable for the longterm security of the nation. Via Bloomberg News:

As Spain sinks deeper into recession and the jobless rate heads for 20 percent, the highest in Europe, employers are telling workers to accept wage cuts if they want to stay competitive. That’s making it harder for households to tackle a debt load built up during the country’s economic boom and equivalent to 18,000 euros ($25,700) per person.

“There’s a Catch-22 problem for Spain,” said Dominic Bryant, an economist at BNP Paribas SA in London, referring to the 1961 novel by Joseph Heller that highlights a no-win situation faced by a World War II pilot trying to avoid duty. “The solution for the competitiveness problem makes their debt problem worse. By squeezing wages you weaken the domestic economy further.”

Annual growth of almost 4 percent over a decade turned Spain into an engine of Europe’s economy, boosting pay and prices as a building boom encouraged households to rack up 800 billion euros in debt. More than a year into a housing slump that helped spark the worst recession in six decades, the challenge is to trim labor costs and pay back loans without hobbling the country’s route to recovery.

Some people seem to want the economy to sink further. Instead of innovating our way out economic disaster - the green economy and increased scientific ventures to who knows where? - they want to drag America down further clawing back hard earned wages of the workers in order to satisfy the needs and luxurious lifestyles of the uber rich end of investing class, the very people that are the cause of this economic disaster.

"Bipartisanship" is not the Holy Grail

Harry Truman in a "bipartisan" moment with Lauren Bacall, a staunch liberal Democrat. This is about as "bipartisan as Harry got."

Last week was exhilarating for Democrats and, judging by the international media, for people all over the planet who have suffered for nearly a decade from the misguided and often criminal policies of George Bush and his terribly inept administration.

The swearing in of Barack Obama and the departure of the Connecticut Cowboy from our public affairs was something long anticipated, and, after our long dark winter, as welcome as the return of springtime and birdsong, at least in these quarters.

The Republican smear machine however, wasted no time in cranking up to its full powers of bloviation. Their program of attacking nearly every move Obama made and every statement he uttered, began seconds after his swearing in and I'm sure will continue unabated in the immediate future. Here's hoping that they are afforded every opportunity to quibble and obstruct, to grouse and whine, as a minority party for decades to come.

The moaning and squawking over the slightly bobbled recitation of the oath of office, a gaffe that was meaningless and easily ignored by people who have something other than chowder between their ears, was, in Republican circles, fanned into a twenty four hour cause celebre by the fulminating heads of Fox Noise and soon picked up on the other "open all night," "all the news that fits," networks.

The storm so roiled the calm in our national teapot that Obama's advisers encouraged him to retake the oath, which he did in a private and sparsely attended ceremony in the White House a day later.