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Steps in the Right Direction

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Headlined to H3 3/27/09

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Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin

                               --Bob Dylan (The Times They Are a Changin’), 1963

     Last November, the American people voted for change, and we’re starting to see results:

     The most visible change at the White House has to be the smiles. Both President Obama and Vice President Biden look like toothpaste commercials--a pleasant change from George W. Bush’s “I’m President and you’re not” smirk and Vice President Cheney’s grimace that looks like he got a baby’s bone stuck in his throat.

******

     President Obama’s first photo op in the Oval Office revealed a drastic change in White House decorum. It shows him working at his desk without his suit coat. This never happened during the Bush Administration.

     President Bush adhered to a strict presidential dress code. He may have allowed the most deadly terrorist attack in the nation’s history to occur on his watch. He may have started two unnecessary wars. He may have authorized torture and other war crimes, and brought the economy to the brink of depression; but no one can ever accuse George W. Bush of removing his coat in the Oval Office.

******

     But Seriously:

     President Obama ended the budgetary tricks the Bush Administration used to make the deficit seem smaller. Even after years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, George W. Bush refused to include their costs in his annual budget. He also ignored the $60-70 billion the government lost each year from not collecting the alternative minimum tax, Medicare reimbursement payments and the cost of disaster response. Obama includes all these things in his budget. Of course, this makes the deficit appear bigger (because it is).

·        “The message to taxpayers and Capitol Hill? Quit the magical thinking. These things won't pay for themselves. And we can't just continue to borrow and spend and pass the bill to our kids.”--Newsday, 3/1/09

******

     Nowhere are the differences between the Bush and Obama Administrations more profound than in the area of foreign relations. Where the Bush Administration insisted “You’re with us or you’re with the terrorists” and favored Shock and Awe bombings over diplomacy, President Obama prefers to heed George Washington’s advice:

·        Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all.

     This may not always be possible, but it should always be our goal.

·        My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the United States, Iran and the international community. This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect.

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Mick Youther is an American citizen, an independent voter, a veteran, a parent, a Christian, a scientist, a writer, and all-around nice guy who has been aroused from a comfortable apathy by the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush Administration.
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