Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Open Letter to My Friend Les Rosen

That is a fascinating piece of history, Les. And we agree but for difference reasons. Obama is very weak as a negotiator, and his leadership skills can be justifiably questioned by extension, but basically he is a very smart, decent guy who tried to hit the ground running unlike Bush 43 whose presidency was simply disastrous. The other piece you're missing is racism. Many people do not like Obama because he is black. Their criticism is couched in coded terms like "incompetent," though. Conventional wisdom likens him to Jimmy Carter, an equally smart peanut farmer from Georgia with an engineering degree from Annapolis, whose single term was marred by crises after crises. Your assessment of how Obama came out of nowhere upsetting the proverbial [powerful Clinton political machine] apple cart is point on. They repaid him in kind by lending loyal Clinton staffers to his administration without any of the bonds that typically characterize such high level, critical even, appointments. The mixed messages, in-fighting, and lack of focus became apparent early on to anyone paying attention. But to his credit he has passed more legislation whether you like or hate it than any other president in these United States. The policies proposed by the Republican Party would absolutely destroy any remnant of a middle class left standing in America, however. It is a party that wants to dismantle FDR's New Deal, and take us back to 1929, when the Great Stock Market crash augured in The Great Depression and there were no social safety nets. It was every man to fend for him or herself. The elderly, poor, children, women, minorities and other vulnerable folks literally starved to death. You cannot remember that, but your father certainly would have. I do not want to return to those times. And though the concept of a Welfare state is also loaded from a sociological perspective, it actually means to provide assistance to the most vulnerable among us. But compassion has not been an attribute evident in the Republican party as of late driven as it is by a populist fervor fueled in equal parts by blatant racism, flagrant ignorance; a yearning for unfettered capitalism, military expansionism, and continued imperialistic world dominance. Listen to what Romney said on the campaign trail... "The United States should always retain military supremacy to deter would-be aggressors and to defend our allies and ourselves. If America is the undisputed leader of the world, it reduces our need to police a more chaotic world. I will reverse the hollowing of our Navy and announce an initiative to increase the shipbuilding rate from 9 per year to 15. I will begin reversing Obama-era cuts to national missile defense and prioritize the full deployment of a multilayered national ballistic missile defense system. I will order the formulation of a national cyber security strategy, to deter and defend against the growing threats of militarized cyber-attacks, cyber-terrorism, and cyber-espionage." Absent in this patriotic saber rattling is any indication of how Romney plans to pay for this "big military," which is one we simply cannot afford any longer and arguably one that has contributed mightily to our current economic woes. At this point personally and professionally, I need money, and plenty of it, not empty platitudes; or, a return to American imperialism that does nothing to line my pocket. The hustles I used to rely on to supplement my now meager income have evaporated. This economy is still set up for self-employment, though, which is why I have always loved trucking. It is an unambiguous barometer of the country's economic climate. Right now there is evidence that the economy is no longer gasping for life but sputtering along trying to gain steam. We do not need tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. If tax cuts were stimulative, Bush 43's ones enacted in the wake of two wars, would not have left us with a 554 billion dollar deficit. . . We need massive public works projects financed by "Rebuild America" bonds that would not only rebuild crumbling infrastructure; but put thousands, millions of people to work in relatively good paying jobs for years while these projects are being completed. What could be more stimulative?