Tag Archive | "Barack Obama"

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Stimulus: A missed opportunity for Obama

Posted on 31 March 2009 by Nick Preston

When Barack Obama signed into law the largest spending bill in United States history, and by default the history of the world, many heralded it a great political achievement for his fledgling administration.  Scarcely months into his presidency, Democrats, with Obama at the wheel, were able to drive through both the House and Senate, and ultimately back through the House again, the $789 billion stimulus with relative ease. However, those that applauded the President also failed to see what is painfully obvious: that this bill will go down in history as one of the most partisan pieces of legislation ever.

With large democratic majorities in both the House and Senate, Republicans never posed any real threat to the passage of the stimulus and thus the survival of the bill never depended on more than a few Republican senators for survival. Nevertheless, the fact that not one of the 178 Republican representatives was wooed over to the bandwagon could prove to be a big missed opportunity for the President.

Without a doubt, President Obama possesses an unprecedented amount of support and approval from the public and can seemingly do no wrong in the eyes of many.  If anyone could have reached out in the spirit of bipartisanship, it would have been the President. Unfortunately, rather than live up to his campaign promises, Mr. Obama chose idealism over pragmatism and caved to every ideological whim of the far left in congress.

What is even more unfortunate for the President is that even a few small concessions, such as more money devoted to infrastructure (which the President himself seemed to prioritize during his campaign) could have convinced a few Republican representatives to vote for the bill.

With all his hopeless rhetoric in the past few weeks, the President seemed to have made it his goal to convince the public that the economy is deeply entrenched in a horrible recession.  If this is the case, and I don’t doubt that it isn’t after listening to the President, it would not matter if the stimulus was passed this past week or next month, and more time could have been taken to modify the bill and make it more palatable to those on the other side of the isle (and more importantly, to more than 51 percent of Americans).  The President seemed to have put quantity over quality when he said “not to make the perfect the enemy of the good,” while possessing the time, power and support, to make this bill more perfect instead of just good.

This is a hard time for many Americans and no one doubts the need to do something about the economy.  Republicans are not just being obstructionists or sore losers, they don’t want to see this bill fail as recessions are apolitical and affect Republicans and Democrats alike. With so much at stake, it is in everyone’s interest that the stimulus works, and simply slowing down and hearing what others have to say can only ensure that the best measures are taken to restore the American economy. The fact is that should this bill fail absolutely, or even partially, Democrats will have no one to share the blame with or the “I told you so’s” from Republicans.

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Obama’s administration will have radical agenda

Posted on 29 January 2009 by Adam Ryback

About 75 years ago, Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised the American people a New Deal. He took advantage of the nation’s disgust for the Hoover administration and its handling of the Great Depression to bring about the most radical reform this nation has ever seen. The landslide which took place in the 1932 election was an authorization from the American people for Roosevelt to do whatever needed to be done to rescue our country from the Depression. President Barack Obama enters office under many of the same conditions: an unpopular president, a failing economy and a mandate for change.

Barack Obama will have the ability to get all of his legislation passed without any reasonable resistance from Congress, the same way Roosevelt was able to do whatever he wanted during his first hundred days. Obama can be as radical or as moderate as he chooses.

The Obama administration seems as if it will continue Bush’s policy of bailing out our nation’s major corporations. However, the amount of money given to the corporations and the number of corporations being bailed out will greatly increase. We also know that Obama plans to immediately implement an economic stimulus plan. During the next four years, Obama will be sending plenty of stimulus checks to American households.

Moreover, if the time was ever ripe for our country to finally give into socialized medicine, it is now. Just as Medicare and Medicaid were an expansion of Social Security, so will Medicare and Medicaid be expanded into a universal health care system, where all Americans can be confident that the government which destroyed our currency and funded the Taliban during the Carter and Reagan administrations can now monitor brain surgeries.

What’s worse is that Obama is poised to stick a dagger in the heart of the pro-life movement. With legislation such as the Freedom of Choice Act, abortion will have the stamp of approval by the federal government. Abortion will be made as accessible as humanly possible, demonstrated by the fact that Obama has shown support for infanticide.

President Obama is more than capable of being the most radical president ever. He will expand socialism so far that voters in Venezuela will think Chavez is ripping them off. More importantly, his unequivocal support for abortion will destroy any hope which pro-life conservatives have of restoring our nation’s respect for human life.

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“Atlas Shrugged” and the Obama Presidency

Posted on 21 November 2008 by Robert Christensen

Last year was the 50th anniversary of Ayn Rand’s greatest work “Atlas Shrugged.” An epic novel that differs from many other great works by making business owners the heroes of the story. It takes place in the United States at an unspecified future time. The country is in a downward economic spiral with businesses closing and men out of work.

This economic downturn has been as a result of economic restrictions placed by the government on businesses in order to limit the amount of wealth individuals can make in order to promote fairness throughout the country. As businesses begin to fail the government raises workers’ minimum wages while reducing the costs of the products they manufacture. This quickly causes the economy to go from bad to horrible and in response to these increasingly devastating conditions the government passes Directive 10-289 which requires all workers stay at their current jobs, all businesses to remain open, and all patents and inventions be voluntarily turned over to the government.

Because of these economic policies the great business owners and innovators flee the country which has stolen all of their hard work. They move to a hidden valley as riots and severe food shortages are taking place. In this valley all of the great entrepreneurs are free to invent and innovate without anyone stealing their hard work or their wealth they have toiled so hard to achieve. But as things in the outside world continues to get worse the government begs these individuals to come back to save the country. Eventually the “looter” government collapses allowing the “men and women of the mind” to return.

While this story is certainly fiction there are aspects of this “looter” society creeping into today’s world. With the election of Barack Obama, many wonder what effect his policies will have on both small and large business. Will his methods of redistributing wealth create a disincentive for individuals to innovate or will they actually improve our economy? Only time will tell but there are many who are worried that they will have to “run to the valley.”

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Barackumentary: 30 minutes of successful propaganda

Posted on 06 November 2008 by Remington Tonar

Note: this piece was prepared before November 4, and as such does not reflect the results of the 2008 presidential election.

On October 29 the Obama campaign unleashed a 30 minute documentary-style advertisement that aired during prime time on many of the major networks. The special was a huge success with an estimated 30 million people tuning in to watch it, scoring a Nielsen rating of 22 – meaning that 22 percent of all households with televisions in the nation watched the program.

The program itself begins with a short introduction by Obama, accompanied by a beautiful scene of golden wheat blowing in the wind and a soundtrack that is reminiscent of the score that Randy Edelman composed for the movie Gettysburg.

After the brief introduction Obama introduces the first of many families that are struggling to afford healthcare and pay their bills, desperately concerned about “making ends meet.” Following this touching characterization of the average American family, Mr. Obama blithely pins the blame for the current economic crisis on President Bush and “eight years of failed policies.” This point is used as a transition into a short segment on Barack Obama’s economic policies, none of which are actually enumerated, but simply alluded to in an amorphous way meant to appeal to the emotions of the viewer.

It isn’t until about 12 minutes into the program that the viewer is actually given specific numbers and information regarding Obama’s policy proposals. Occasionally, notable supporters appear on screen to share their fervor for these proposals, including Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google.

The program continues to profile American families and workers that bring forth numerous grievances, complaining about the economy, taxes, cost of living, of healthcare and unemployment. One cannot but help feeling sympathy for these families, which is precisely the reaction that the entire advertisement seeks to elicit.

The program touches on education, using Obama’s own modest childhood to help bolster his credibility. Following this, about 20 minutes into the program, Obama begins to talk about his personal life, as the show displays clips from the campaign trail that highlight Obama’s vision for America’s youth.

Michelle Obama makes an appearance and talks shortly about her husband, and is followed by a string of prominent Democratic politicians that similarly praise Obama’s credentials and political prowess. As the Obamamentary passes the 20 minute mark the tone shifts to convey Obama’s hopes for America, very broadly presenting the policies not previously mentioned in the program, like Obama’s plans for the military. Shortly after these remarks the program begins to conclude, as the inspirational music returns with Obama speaking passionately in the foreground.

From a cinematic perspective, the Obamamentary was well produced. The entire concept of having a half an hour primetime special is unique and is certainly a testament to the originality and ingenuity that the Obama campaign has brought to this election. However, from a political perspective, one must hope that an Obama presidency would be more concrete than the thirty minutes of emotional appeals that characterized this advertisement.

For some this program was undoubtedly inspirational, and for others most certainly entertaining in a sarcastic sort of way. Either way, millions of people tuned in last week and millions more have viewed the corresponding YouTube video. So, whether the program influenced votes or not, it has certainly earned the right to be called a success.

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Yes We Can…Move Forward As One Nation

Posted on 05 November 2008 by Emily Krueger

What a long and strange race it has been.

The past year we have watched a wide array of candidates vie for the chance to be our forty-fourth president until it finally came down to the two major contenders for the office, Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama. Both ran aggressive and well-funded campaigns, with the candidates together raising over $1 billion for the first time in history. Furthermore, a huge percentage of Obama’s funds were donated by individuals, with a significant number of small contributions coming from people who were giving to a political campaign for the first time.

Obama’s success overall can be to a great extent attributed to the huge number of first-time voters, contributors and volunteers that came out in support. Americans were inspired and moved to action more than ever before.

Election Day itself seemed to go smoothly, certainly more so than the tempestuous races of recent years. Across the entire country voters cast their ballots yesterday, electing Barack Obama by margins unseen by a Democratic candidate in decades.

Jason Rae, Chair of Wisconsin College Democrats, remarked, “I think we saw Americans wanting change, wanting to believe again in their government and in their country. Tonight’s result showed that the American people believe Senator Obama and his vision for America.”

But what does this vision entail? President-Elect Barack Obama has laid out extensive plans for his administration, which include tackling the current economic crisis as well as taking on key issues which require widespread reform. Addressing the present state of the economy will clearly be top priority for the president elect. Obama has stated he will attend to the housing crisis as one of his first acts, providing incentives for banks to refinance or buy outstanding mortgages. He also plans to change bankruptcy laws to empower judges to modify families’ mortgages, allowing more Americans to remain in their homes.

To jumpstart the economy overall, Obama has pledged to pursue another goal of his, creating a large number of new jobs in the alternative energy sector. Additionally, he has proposed a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions, which will allow Congress to sell permits for burning fossil fuels. The money from this endeavor will then go to tax credits for green companies, energy research grants, and loans for improving the efficiency of plaguing industries such as car manufacturing.

Other major goals for the Obama administration include the improvement of our health care and education systems. As often discussed throughout the campaign, Obama plans to require employers to cover their employees’ health insurance and will lower costs to each family by $2500. He further will work to require health insurance for all children, with the eventual goal of universal coverage.

Great importance has also been placed on education reform and retooling No Child Left Behind to reduce its emphasis on testing and the penalizing of underperforming schools. Opposed to school vouchers, Obama instead supports increased funding allocated to charter schools and an expansion of early-childhood programs. Ultimately, Obama’s goal is to make a college education a realistic possibility for all.

Another main point laid out in Obama’s plan for America addresses the current military situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Long holding the position that a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq is necessary, Obama hopes to have half of all U.S. troops out of the country by May of 2010. He further believes that our focus and resources should presently be switching toward Afghanistan to fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

In addition to simply increasing troop levels, Obama believes in the necessity of better training Afghan forces and providing assistance to Afghan civilians, giving them alternative means of making a living apart from poppy-farming. Finally, his administration will pursue means of securing Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan and reducing corruption in the area. With a solid Democratic majority, these challenging goals can viably be achieved in the years to come.

While Barack Obama has accomplished a number of impressive feats in the past months, he most notably has managed to inspire a feeling of faith in the direction our country is now headed. He has pledged to make every effort to bring Americans together, no matter their party affiliation, with the goal of improving the quality of life for everyone.

Marecca Vertin, a member of the Marquette Obama team and poll monitor, agreed that “decent health care, a decent education, and general accountability from government are not actually divisive issues for most Americans.” She added, “The huge increase in voter turnout for Obama proves that this campaign made it clear that we can get real work done together without being radically left- or right-wing but by… acting in the generally moderate interests of the American people.”

After a long and hard-hitting campaign from both candidates, cooperation will now be the key to moving forward to achieve the change Americans desire.

Matt Dambach, chair of Students for McCain at Marquette, is of the same opinion. “At the end of the day both Republicans and Democrats have the same goal of doing what is best for our nation,” he says.

Both sides can further agree that with voter turnout at incredible highs this year, the increased political dialogue among American citizens can only have positive results. Dambach commented that “one of the great positives from this election cycle is the involvement of millions of new voters; involvement which will only make our country better in years to come.” Barack Obama, now the face of our country and representative of millions of Americans, will lead this country in a new direction.

That direction is one which will bring supporters of both parties together, moving forward and making this great nation even stronger as we work together for change.

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Obama fails to deliver at the DNC

Posted on 10 September 2008 by Carl Mueller

A few weeks back Barack Obama gave his speech accepting the Democratic Presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. After he outlined a vast array of goals and aspirations to improve America Obama articulated how Americans have repeatedly had their hopes dashed by the broken promises of politicians.

While the majority of Obama’s goals and ideals are inarguably beneficial to America, there are certain parts of his politics and his policies that beg for more explanation. In economics and foreign policy, Obama has laid out plans that have little chance in becoming anything more than another politician’s broken promises. Perhaps as the election draws closer Obama will explain his plans in greater detail and demonstrate that his plans are more believable than hopeful. However in his DNC speech Obama’s plans made little political or economic sense.
Obama’s proposed economic policies presented various problems for those who listened with a critical ear. After saying that John McCain’s policies were designed only to help the privileged few, Obama mentioned one of McCain’s chief economic advisors calling Americans “whiners” in terms of dealing with their economic hardships. This is quite bold coming from a Democratic nominee who said that the citizens of Pennsylvania were bitter and holding onto their guns and religion.

In an era of over spending, increasingly over-burdened state budgets and large amounts of government waste, Obama’s economic plan calls for cutting the taxes for 95 percent of America’s working families. He also plans to increase education spending and cut the capital gains taxes for small businesses. While these initiatives will do much to help increase America’s efficiency and innovation, it is unclear how the nation’s debt will fail to be increased by these policies. Obama says that he will be able to go through the federal budget, eliminating programs that are failing and bettering the programs that are effective in order to face our century with a “21st century bureaucracy”.
While this is a noble effort, Obama is ignoring the inherent problem in all bureaucracies: capture theory. How will Obama know which programs are working without massive amounts of wasteful investigation that is at best suspect in a time when the government has made a habit out of duping the public on both sides of the aisle?

The most obvious way to cut spending in our government and thereby the deficit would be to eliminate, or perhaps only limit, our nation’s participation in armed conflicts overseas. Obama pointed out in his speech that America has continued pouring large amounts of money into Iraq in spite of an Iraqi government surplus and that we should concentrate more resources in Afghanistan. Obama then went on to contradict his own position to say that he will stay in Iraq until we reach a “responsible” end to the war. Obama continued to say that you should not occupy one nation while trying to fight a terrorist organization that operates in over 80, insinuating that he will continue or perhaps expand our “war on terror”. He also claimed that America needed to be able to respond more strongly to international aggression such as Russia’s recent incursion in Georgia, but a stronger stance towards the largest foreign holder of nuclear weapons may be a little audacious even for Obama to hope to get away with.

Hopefully Obama’s promises are more than empty political words meant to garner votes, but until he lays out his plans in more detail, his politics and policies are not feasible. While hope and change are very important parts for whomever becomes America’s next President’s policies, succinct policy knowledge should be important to every informed voter who believes that there are some things that should be learned from the Bush administration.

Obama’s speech inspired many, but it should inspire more questions than anything else. Although Obama challenged McCain to a debate on national television, it is America that should be challenging Obama to prove that he is not creating a false image for us to believe in.

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Change you can’t afford to believe in

Posted on 13 March 2008 by Robert Fafinski

Wanna know the biggest secret on college campuses? It’s how easily duped college students are. Don’t believe me? Just ask your mom and dad. Most of the Marquette student body comes from very conservative households in Wisconsin or the suburbs of Chicago. We come from families that work hard, pray and don’t like paying taxes. And despite this conservative upbringing, many Marquette students are getting caught up in this Obama–craze, ignoring the fact that he stands against what most of our families stand for. These students are discarding their beliefs and principles in lieu of Obama’s supposed “change.” And it’s pathetic and disheartening. But, in twenty or thirty years, most these students will look back and laugh to think they bought into Obama’s “politics of hope.”

Don’t believe me? Call up that straight-laced, conservative father and mother of yours and ask them how they voted in the 1976 Presidential election. I’ll bet you’ll be surprised to hear that they voted for the Democrat, Jimmy Carter. Didn’t think Rush-Limbaugh-listening Pops had it in him? Well, chances are that you’ll end up just like him, semi-embarrassed that you voted for a man who, according to columnist Ronald Kessler, “skipped 17 percent of the votes and sponsored only one bill that became law. That bill was to promote ‘relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo.’”

Recently, I was drinking beers with a bunch of like-minded (see: conservative) friends and Barack Obama came up in our conversation. My friends were angry with young people around the country for being so easily tricked into believing in Obama’s simple-minded message and not seeing him for the liberal that he is. I assured them that it was just a phase that kids our age go though- thinking they can change the world- and that eventually they’d grimace at the thought of voting for such a liberal in the same manner that our parents laugh at the fact they voted for Jimmy Carter.

And you know what? Every kid there confessed that their ultra-conservative parents had voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976. So, my point is this… Go ahead and believe in Obama’s message, fight for “change,” but don’t kid yourself about what we’ll be getting. Obama’s an unabashed liberal.

Last week, Mr. Obama said, “We need to move in a new direction. We’re here because we still believe that change is possible. And so the question I have for you…is, are you really ready for change? The size of our challenges has outstripped the capacity of a broken and divided politics to solve.”

That’s pretty lofty stuff coming from the most partisan Senator- someone who has always towed the line for the Democrats. With the most liberal voting record in the Senate, Barack Obama claiming that he can fix a “broken and divided politics” is tantamount to Barry Bonds saying that steroids have tainted baseball and that he would be the man to end corruption and restore dignity to the game. Let’s be serious.

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