Yes, We Must...But Can They?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by beretta304, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. beretta304

    beretta304 BANNED

    Aug 13, 2012
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    Disillusioned Obama supporters from 2008 must rally behind the President if they don't want a Romney victory


    SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2012, 4:00 AM


    President Obama has not inspired as much enthusiasm as during his first run for the White House.

    Those who want to reelect President Obama need to face a disappointing reality: The chances that Mitt Romney may win in November are real, and one of the reasons is that some of those who supported Obama in 2008 and still believe in him today are making noises that they may not come out to vote.

    Yes, this may only happen on the margins — but the margins matter in a close election that could well come down to base turnout.

    Demoralized Democrats need to snap out of it, starting at this week’s convention in Charlotte. They need to realize that Obama has been a very successful President, and the Republican alternative is as stark and dangerous as anything offered by President George W. Bush.

    Over the last three-and-a-half years, the GOP has become an extraordinarily narrow party. It’s incredibly homogenous — 87% white, 52% male and 53% older than 50, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s because its policies and rhetoric have alienated African Americans, Latinos, gays, young people, women and the well-educated.

    The party has taken extreme stands against reproductive rights, lesbian and gay equality and religious pluralism. And almost a year ago, during the debt ceiling stand-off, its congressional wing held the economy hostage to absurd demands for massive spending cuts, all while refusing to increase taxes even on the very top by a fraction of a percentage point.

    Given all this, a casual observer might look at the current Republican Party and conclude that it doesn’t stand a chance against Obama this November. But a quick glance at the polls shows otherwise. In every polling average, Romney is close behind Obama in the race for the presidency.

    In short, the Republican Party stands a chance in this election — and might even win it — because Republicans are incredibly enthusiastic about voting against Obama, and Democrats might not be quite as excited about the next four years of their guy.

    The President understands this; at a rally in Charlottesville, Va., last week, he asked the crowd to translate its attendance into votes. “Don’t just chant, vote!” Indeed, a large part of his speech was devoted to reminding students and other supporters of how important they are to the outcome of the election.

    He’ll have to repeat this message throughout the fall. According to the latest Gallup poll, 53% of registered voters say they are enthusiastic about voting this year, compared to just 46% of Democrats.

    And in the most recent survey from the Pew Research Center, 70% of Romney supporters say they have “given a lot of thought” to the election, compared to 57% of Obama supporters.

    This is a proxy for enthusiasm, and a sign that Romney voters are more likely to go to the polls than their Democratic counterparts.

    If that remains the case, there will be consequences. In 2004, for example, energized conservative evangelicals put Ohio into Bush’s column and gave him a narrow electoral win over John Kerry.

    And four years ago, energized African Americans were the driving force behind Obama’s win in North Carolina — which brought the state into the Democratic fold for the first time since 1976. Similar trends repeated in swing states across the country.

    This year, Republicans are salivating to take down Obama. Are Democrats ready to defend him?

    Not enough are. While the President is supported by the vast majority of Democrats and benefits from high intensity of support, it’s not hard to find those who are disappointed with Obama and the pace of change.

    “I want to be happy with him,” said Democrat Kristine Vaughan, a 45-year-old school psychologist from Canton, Oh., in an interview with CBS News.

    “But I am finding that he has succumbed to the corporate influence as much as everyone else. I think he has so much potential to break out of that, but overall he has been a disappointment.”

    Likewise, in Colorado, Greg Sargent of the Washington Post found Obama voters dissatisfied with his actions on the economy and unsure of their support for this election. For them, Obama was boxed in by conditions, and fell short of their expectations. “I think he did the best he could. It was a tough position to be in,” said one voter, “I think anybody would have had great difficulty.”

    Other laments come from the center — one voter I spoke to in Charlottesville last week said that she’s disappointed with the “partisanship” of Obama’s term. In a column for National Journal, Ron Brownstein quotes a 2008 supporter who still sympathizes with Obama, but isn’t sure that he should get another chance:

    “It’s just stagnation...It’s not getting worse, but you are not improving anything right now.”

    Such frustrations are easy to understand. After three-and-a-half years, the unemployment rate is stuck stubbornly around 8%. Millions are underemployed, and economic growth has slowed to a crawl.

    According to a recent paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, just 24.6% of all jobs in 2010 qualified as “good jobs.” What makes a good job? It pays $37,000 a year — well below the median income — and provides decent health insurance.

    The joblessness rate for young people and minorities has ballooned, and there’s an overriding sense among most Americans — including many liberals and Democrats — that something has gone wrong.

    It’s one thing to be excited for a candidate who represents an unknown-but-hopeful future. It’s something else to do the same after you’ve seen the limits of his rhetoric and the limitations of his power.

    But just because it’s understandable that someone would want to dump Obama and choose a new President for the next four years, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

    Democratic-leaning voters must remember: Obama has had a truly momentous presidency, with policies that will pay dividends if they’re allowed to stand and grow.

    In addition to saving millions of jobs and preventing a second Great Depression, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — popularly known as the “stimulus,” and endlessly derided by Republicans — pumped billions of dollars into new infrastructure, alternative energy, technology research, education reform and a complete reconfiguration of our medical records system.

    As Time magazine journalist Michael Grunwald details in his book “The New New Deal,” the stimulus has funded countless innovations and helped create a high-tech industry — high-capacity batteries — from scratch.

    Likewise, the automobile bailout — controversial when it was proposed — is the chief reason for Detroit’s newfound success. More than 2 million people are employed because of the auto rescue, and economic conditions are on the upswing in states with the strongest ties to the auto industry.

    The Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, an unhappy compromise for many liberals, is nevertheless a vitally important piece of regulation, and a decent first step toward preventing a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.

    The Affordable Care Act — heavily demonized and widely unpopular — stands as the signature accomplishment of the Obama administration. If implemented in full, it will extend health insurance to more than 30 million Americans and ensure access for millions more.

    Its Medicare savings strengthen the program with preventative screenings and less expensive prescription drugs, and it contains a smorgasboard of other cost-saving measures.

    Together, they make the ACA an unprecedented attempt at controlling and reducing medical costs in the system as a whole. For ordinary Americans, this could eventually mean cheaper premiums and — because employers would spend less on providing health insurance — higher wages.

    It would be one thing if these were already enduring parts of the policy landscape, but they’re not. If Obama loses in November, there’s a good chance Republicans will wipe most of this from the slate. More importantly, they’ll replace his plans with one of the most radical agendas in recent memory.

    As House Budget Chairman, Paul Ryan crafted a “roadmap” that would slash income taxes on the wealthiest Americans, end taxes on investment and end the estate tax.

    In the short term, to pay for these massive tax cuts, Ryan would cut hundreds of billions from essential government services — food stamps, Pell Grants, environmental protections, financial regulations and law enforcement would lose out.

    In the longer term, Ryan would drastically cut Medicaid — depriving millions of health insurance — restructure Medicare, turning it into a voucher program, and possibly move Social Security to private accounts — an idea he pushed in 2005 and that was adopted, in modified form, by the Bush administration.

    If elected President, we have every reason to think that Mitt Romney will try to implement these promises, especially since he’ll be pushed in that direction by right-wing congressional Republicans, who will insist they’ve won a mandate for “reform.”

    And this is to say nothing of the GOP’s Draconian positions on abortion and immigration, which would find currency in a Romney White House and serve as litmus tests for future Supreme Court nominees and federal judges.

    No, Obama isn’t perfect. Democratic voters have some reason for disappointment or fatigue. But the simple fact is that for the vast majority of Americans, there’s nothing to gain from punishing the President.

    Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect and a Knobler Fellow for The Nation Institute.

    Read more: Yes, we must - NY Daily News
  2. Moonglow

    Moonglow Diamond Member

    Jun 27, 2011
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