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WE SHOULD HAVE LEARNED
July 18, 2010 - Ray Hall (Archive)
I voted for Senator Obama for President. He was not my first choice. I differ from those who believe President Obama’s election was a turning point for Americans; that voters consciously put aside historic prejudices and voted a black man the most powerful person in the world. I was looking for anyone competent to run the government.
Without disparaging Barack Obama’s character and qualities any reasonable Democrat would have been elected after eight years of repeated Republican train wrecks. Senator Obama didn’t get the Democratic nomination because he was the most qualified or experienced, he was the better candidate—elegant in posture and prose he was convincing in his arguments for change.
Presidents seldom live up to their campaign rhetoric—we still have “Don’t Ask—Don’t Tell” as the guiding principle for same sex preferences in our military. Despite billions of dollars spent on Wall Street bankers and General Motors millions of Americans are out of work. These are grim and distressing times, but we should have learned from the Great Depression.
“Dinner Bucket” Democrats—those Democrats who once carried sandwiches to work in a metal lunch bucket—are on the verge of extinction. Another group of Democrats derisively dubbed “Wal-Mart Democrats and Democrats metaphorically placed in that Alabama between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia during the last presidential campaign—those Democrats are still waiting for an FDR moment.
Philosophically I am a liberal Democrat that fits somewhere in that mix. I don’t understand the Wall Street bail out but I accept that it was necessary. I understand that much of the economic anguish we are suffering came as a result of wrong-headed neocon policies of the Bush Administration, but I wait.
I believe the President when he says the unemployment rate would be much higher, as much as 15%—but I wait. Many are waiting for a government created jobs programs—jobs that the private sector can’t, or won’t create. We all should be concerned with the national debt, but now is not the time to worry about repaying China.
We are waiting for every state in the Continental United States to be joined by high-speed trains running on steel tacks with concrete ties made in America. We waiting for every American to have a free and enabling education with foreign languages taught from Kindergarten.
Democrats have managed to create the framework for a national health care program but we are waiting for the time when every American will have the same remedy for congestive heart failure as former Vice President Cheney.
President Obama is politically savvy and he is smart. However, somewhere in the back of his mind—in a quiet moment—he must realize that he would have become an “also ran” if Senator Hillary Clinton had not voted for President Bush’s neocon designed war in Iraq.
President Obama will opt for a second term unless he has a Lyndon Johnson moment and realizes he doesn’t have a majority of Americans on board with his Afghanistan war. A war that sees a steady procession of flag draped caskets returning home together with the walking wounded and the able bodied who can’t find a meaningful job.
Despite Wall Street, the war, the BP oil spill and a grim economy I expect to vote for President Obama once more. The Republicans simply don’t have any skin in the game. They remain satisfied to stall and delay and postpone unemployment benefits—surely there are unemployed Republicans—they might even win the House and the Senate, but there is not a single Republican I could vote for. In my view the Republicans don’t need another Ronald Reagan, they desperately need another Richard Nixon.
I don’t expect economic or social equality—we should have learned from the Great Depression that the best we can hope for is parity and our only hope for achieving that is with President Obama.
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