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Obama and the Republican Naysayers in Congress

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There is much to be critical about President Obama and his policies. His expansion of the unnecessary war in Afghanistan, the increase of drone attacks in Pakistan, his mishandling of the health care debate and its final outcome, his refusal to hold to account those in the previous administration responsible for authorizing torture are just a few of the many issues and mistakes he and his administration are directly responsible for (in the eyes of this observer).

This writer has been unsparing in his criticism of this president when he believes he is in the wrong.

But the Republicans in Congress en masse have been uniformly resistant to everything this president has proposed, acting as if in a collective, knee jerk, hypnotized trance automatically saying no to any Obama initiative.

Lately with unemployment hovering close to 10% officially (but closer to 20% when counting those working part time [yet wanting full time work], those who have given up looking for work and those whose unemployment benefits have expired) Obama on Friday proposed stimulating "hiring by small businesses through tax credits and lending incentives."[1] To which John Boehner, R- Ohio, the House Minority Leader responded, "more government spending is not the answer to the nation's problems."[2] Instead, he and his Republican cohorts want to "cut spending and help create jobs".[3] How this idea will magically stimulate business, particularly small business (responsible for creating two thirds of all new jobs) to expand more hiring is left unsaid. As usual, the details of any Republican proposal are always scarce, largely because there is nothing in their empty proposals to warrant serious consideration.

Which leads directly to this writer's main complaint with this president? Why does he continually try to involve and engage Republicans in any legislative proposal in some naà ve hope and desire to get their bipartisan support? Republicans are not interested in working with a Democratic president or a Democratic led Congress on any proposal or on any issue. Their one and only interest is to defeat Democrats by employing any tactic and use any means necessary to achieve that end. They are not interested in the public's welfare giving only lip service to government's role to enact legislation that would benefit the people.

To Republicans, this "great recession" didn't begin under a clueless Republican President Bush; that his and their belief in unrestricted capitalism, deregulation and laissez faire practices didn't create the financial meltdown and subsequent economic calamity. To them it all began the day Obama took office.

This in no way is meant to exonerate Democrats, to find them faultless in helping to precipitate the economic malaise this country finds itself. For it was under Bill Clinton's watch that deregulation of the financial industry became enshrined and helped to unleash the financial "masters of the universe" to engage in their reckless and greedy excesses that brought this country and the world to the brink of mirroring the "great depression" of the 1930's.

Back then the country had an FDR who didn't shrink from taking on the job at hand, who had the courage to face down the financial behemoths of the time and get regulations enacted that controlled their greed and excess. And of course he did it without Republican support and resistance.

Unfortunately, Obama is no FDR. But he could benefit from a little more rereading of the 32nd president and the way he performed in office. It would be a helpful guide to more effectively leading this country.

[1] "Obama, Republicans spar over jobs plan", by Christi Parsons, "The Baltimore Sun", June 12, 2010.

[2] See footnote #1

[3] See footnote #1

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