Sunday, October 28, 2012

Obama, Republicans and Bipartisanship

Republicans have made a big deal about the lack of bipartisanship since President Obama took office. Of course, it takes two to be bipartisan. Let me remind you of one story from the early days of President Obama's term.

The Super Bowl was a week and a half after the inauguration. It just so happened that there were two republican senators from one team's state and two democratic senators from the other team's state -- so Obama invited all four senators to watch the game with him. To anyone who wanted to work together for the good of the country, this was a golden opportunity. Three plus hours with the new president in an informal setting. Plenty of time to get to know something about him, to present one's ideas and maybe make some deals.

You know how this story has to end: both republican senators turned the invitation down.

This set the pattern for the next four years. Time and again Obama adopted republican, conservative ideas -- only to have republicans immediately turn away from their own ideas, their own initiatives for the sole purpose of saying, in this election season, that Obama failed to get the bipartisanship he hoped for.

Do you want to reward this kind of behavior? Because if the Republicans win this election, it will validate their strategy and the next time they are in the opposition they will do exactly the same thing.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Difference Between Bush and Romney Policy

Some months ago I sent an email to all of you asking for the difference between Bush's policies and Romney's. The response was a deafening silence.

In the debate, when asked to differentiate himself from Bush, Romney's first item was energy policy. Romney wants to do a lot of drilling for oil. Bush was all for a lot of drilling for oil. I can't tell the difference either. I'm sure there are some somewhere, but I don't see any big ones. The similarities, however, are quite striking. Among other things, both favor:

  • Lower tax rates
  • Higher military expenditures
  • Reduced regulation
  • A bellicose, go-it-alone foreign policy

    The results of the Bush years are important to remember. They included:

  • Massive failure of the economy
  • Massive failure to control government finances (went from a balanced budget to a deficit of well over a trillion dollars)
  • Failure to win in Iraq
  • Failure to win in Afghanistan
  • Failure, in seven years of trying, to kill bin Laden
  • Failure to slow or stop Iran's nuclear program

    Romney advocates many, if not most, of the same policies as Bush. Why would you expect substantially different results from a Ronmey presidency?

  • Monday, October 8, 2012

    Islamic-Region Attacks on America, by President

    It is instructive to look at the history of terrorist attacks on Americans. Consider:

    Jimmy Carter -- Iranian students took American diplomats hostage. 52 were held for 444 days. Eight American servicemen died in a rescue attempt.

    Ronald Reagan -- Hezbollah killed 241 American servicemen, most of them Marines, with a single truck bomb. Pan Am Flight 103 was blown out of the sky by Libya killing 243 passengers and 16 crew.

    George H. W. Bush -- Iraq invaded Kuwait touching off a full scale war that killed 294 Americans.

    Bill Clinton -- al Qaeda blew up two US embassies in Africa killing over 200 people and wounding thousands. Al Qaeda attacked the U.S.S. Cole killing 17 American sailors. The Khobar Towers attack killed 19 American servicemen.

    George W. Bush -- al Qaeda destroyed the World Trade Center and severely damaged the Pentagon, killing almost 3,000, and a fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania. The Riyadh compound bombings in Saudi Arabia killed 35 people including nine Americans.

    Barack Obama -- Four diplomats were killed in a recent attack on the consulate in Libya.

    Thus, we see that Obama has, so far, the best record of protecting Americans from Islamic-region attacks of any recent president.

    Obama and the Taliban

    When Obama took office, the Taliban had the initiative in Afghanistan and were making major gains in Pakistan. They controlled large and growing swaths of territory in both and had just taken over Swat, which is only an hour or so from Islamabad, Pakistan's capital. Remember that Pakistan is nuclear armed.

    Today the Taliban are on the defensive.  They have lost control of Swat and much of the rest of Pakistan.  They have lost control of a great deal of territory in Afghanistan.  Their leadership is dying under a hail of drone attacks.  Osama bin Laden is dead and the personal commitments the Taliban leadership made to him are gone.

    That is about as good as it gets in that part of the world.