October 25, 2012 By Jack Jodell
Below are excerpts taken from my blogpost dated October 25, 2008, over at my old blogspot.com site, wherein I first endorsed Barack Obama for President. While the past 4 years have shown that Obama did not, or was unable to, keep many of the promises he made in 2008, this was, of course, long before we knew how a group of cynical, undemocratic, racationary Republicans (including such notables as PAUL RYAN, Mitch McConnell, eventual House Speaker John Boehmer, eventual House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and numerous others) would all meet secretly on the very night of his inauguration to plot ways they could thwart his aims and sabotage his presidency in a deliberate and predetermined effort to make him an unsuccessful one-term President. To call these actions both unprecedented and dastardly would be far too kind, and would definitely be understated! For these bitterly partisan and hateful acts were also un-American! Below, then, is my slightly abridged 2008 post. I think you will be struck by the similarities between what we faced in that election and we have before us today. It should also serve to remind you how and why Obama won the 2008 election. The horrors we went through during the Bush / Cheney years will come springing back to life for you. My own preference for this year’s election will follow this 2008 endorsement, at the very bottom of this post.
“SATURDAY, October 25, 2008
There is never a perfect candidate for President. No one candidate has all the correct answers. Once in office, he or she will invariably make mistakes. That is inevitable human nature. However, this year, there is a clear difference and choice between candidates for a number of compelling reasons, and I have made mine.
After 8 years of unrestricted free trade, economic policies brazenly favoring the wealthy and big business (including disastrous deregulation and much corporate welfare through numerous unquestioned, non-bid military contracts); a political and domestic policy based on fear, blatant partisanship, the curtailment of rights granted under our Constitution, and overreaching expansion of the powers of the Executive Branch; a foreign policy predicated on pre-emptive military strikes and non-communication with hostile powers, plus a very expensive, unnecessary, and unpopular war in Iraq, more than 80% of us correctly feel our country has been on the wrong track. We crave and are in desperate need of real change, not just the cosmetic type some would offer.
Unrestricted free trade has caused entire plants and millions of good paying American jobs to leave this country for China, India, Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, and other countries. It has led to wages in this country becoming stagnant or even declining. Productivity here has risen steadily in the past 8 years, but wages have not kept pace. The costs of energy, health care, pharmaceuticals, food, and education have skyrocketed, with no relief in sight. Huge tax breaks given to the wealthy and to large corporations have not resulted in the creation of millions of high paying new jobs here, as President Bush and his neoconservative Republican allies promised early in his first term. Instead, corporate excesses and greed have become rampant. Our overall standard of living has fallen, not risen. We are NOT better off today than we were 8 years ago! The ;Bush doctrine’ of pre-emptive military strikes (that we have the right to attack other countries without provocation if we consider them to be a threat) has isolated us from the rest of the world and damaged our relations with them. As applied in Iraq, it has all but destroyed any moderate Arab or Muslim support we may have once had in the Middle East. It is shameful behavior more analogous to Napoleon, Hitler, or Stalin than to that of Washington, Jefferson, or Wilson. It has proven to be economically unsustainable. Worse yet, it may encourage similar future action from countries like Russia or China.
John McCain is a passionate man who tremendously loves this country. He is a true-life hero, having suffered greatly but having stood firm during years of torture and captivity in North Vietnam as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam conflict. He is a staunch supporter of the right to life for the innocent unborn. Yet he is also very militaristic and an avowed advocate of the Bush doctrine… On QUALITY OF LIFE issues, he usually sides with the wealthy and big business, whose policies and practices the past 8 years have diminished the quality of life for the majority of us, who are in the categories of middle class or poor. He advocates more huge tax cuts for the rich and large corporations. His tax plan gives only very, very minimal tax cuts for those earning less than $111,646 per year (which is where the overwhelming majority of us in the country are)… He has shown an impulsive erraticness in his approach toward dealing with the recent mortgage banking collapse, first ‘suspending’ his campaign to fly to Washington for a meaningless conference with Bush, and then resuming it. His campaign has not been managed well…His campaign has been mainly a series of negative attacks and misstatements about his opponent. He has done liitle to sell himself or his policies other than manufacture numerous silly distractions, like “‘ipstick on a pig’ and ‘Joe the (fake) Plumber.’. McCain’s choice of a running mate showed very poor judgment on his part. It has been roundly criticized… Sarah Palin is nowhere near educated enough for the job of Vice President. She is far too partisan, impulsive, provincial, divisive and undignified for the job, and doesn’t even understand its constitutional role. She is naive and recklessly ambitious. She lacks vitally important foreign policy background… The thought of Sarah Palin running our economy, our military, conducting negotiations with seasoned adversaries like Putin, Ahmedinijad, Chavez or Kim Jong Il, and having her fingers on our nuclear trigger, is absolutely terrifying. For advice and guidance, she would be relying on the same neocon economic, domestic, and foreign policy staff who have driven our country into the ditch over the past 8 years…With that in mind, it is doubtful he would enact the real change this country so badly needs. For this and for all the other reasons I have already listed above, I CANNOT support John McCain’s candidacy for the presidency.
Barack Obama is a man of unproven quantity. He has a limited track record in national politics…Obama was born in Hawaii (www.factcheck.org/), run by the conservative Republican Annenberg Foundation, has seen and verified the birth certificate as authentic), and was named after his father, including his middle name of Hussein. During his early youth, he briefly attended both Muslim and Catholic schools in Indonesia. He was partly raised in Kansas by his white grandparents, and was raised as a Christian. His name and unique background, plus his limited national track record, have caused some cynical and ignorant conservatives angst. They wrongly believe he is a Muslim and would compromise our national values or sell us out. These fearful, suspicion-laden types ignore the fact that he has done almost everything RIGHT in his life and his story embodies the American dream. He should be applauded rather than condemned for his life style and choices. He went through college, attended Harvard Law School, and was even President of the Harvard Law Review. Instead of grabbing an easily-obtainable cushy corporate law job after college, he decided instead to unselfishly help poor and minority victims of plant closings on Chicago’s south side by becoming a community organizer. This was for very low pay, but it helped these people find other work and showed them ways to take part in and get the system to work for them. In the mid ’90s, he ran for Illinois state office, was elected, and in 2004 was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he has continued his fight for ‘the little guy,’ a fight he is now attempting to wage from the White House. He married and fathered two young girls… no one can question Obama’s devotion to help those without a real voice. Like JFK in the 1960s, Obama has reached out to the young and disenfranchised and has inspired a huge wave of them to become involved in our political process. He is tremendously reasoned, articulate, and an inspirational and charismatic speaker. His economic policies aim to provide opportunity from the bottom up and stand in stark contrast to the neocon Republican preference for aiding the wealthy while basically ignoring everyone else. With roughly 1 in 7 of us uninsured or underinsured and health costs steadily rising, he has developed a national health insurance plan to get EVERYBODY insured. He has demonstrated broad vision amd tremendous understanding of economic, military, and world affairs strategy. He prefers to build consensus and be inclusive rather than resorting to divisiveness and exclusion. His economic plan provides much-needed tax relief for the middle class and poor, the backbone of our economy, and his health care plan aims at universality and cost control, much like the rest of the industrialized world has enjoyed for many years. He was absolutely correct in his initial opposition to the Iraq war, and for all the right reasons. He draws advice from a wide array of superb, proven sources like Warren Buffett, Robert Reich, Joe Biden, Robert Rubin, and many others. Republican military and foreign affairs expert COLIN POWELL HAS EVEN ENDORSED HIM, as have Republicans like Susan Eisenhower, Scott McClellan, and a number of others. All cite his intellect and steady, composed manner of studying and dealing with problems as an important reason for their support. Were OBAMA to die in office, he would, unlike McCain, leave the country in very good hands. Experienced and competent Joe Biden would become President, and the cabinet would be filled with able and proven producers not of the disastrous neocon realm.
Obama has expressed the strong desire to revamp our federal government, cut out inefficient programs, and greatly reduce the power and influence of special interests lobbyists. He has pledged to return the Judicial branch to its pre-Bush nonpartisan status. Obama is pro-choice, which concerns me because I view abortion on demand as a form of murder for convenience. But I am encouraged greatly by the fact that he is pledged to provide much better sex education and will push strongly for other alternatives to abortion. He is devoted to important quality of life issues like higher wages, better educational opportunities, and health care for all, not just the privileged few. I find that, for all of these reasons, Barack Obama is the better choice for President, and so I hereby endorse BARACK OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT… This is why I say ‘ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT ON NOVEMBER 4!’ Thank you.”
It is now 4 years later, and much pf the Obama legacy has regrettably NOT yet been realized. His is a mixed record of good and not-so-good. On the positive side, we have extricated ourselves from the bloody and very costly war in Iraq (and are drawing down on the one in Afghanistan); Osama bin Laden and Moammar Qaddafi have been captured and killed (with al Qaeda having been all but decimated); relations with most of our allies have been restored and improved; unemployment has dropped from a high of 10% in 2009 to 7.8% now; many millions of previously-excluded Americans will now be health-insured; Wall Street has largely recovered and is profitable again; the American automobile industry has been rescued, restrucurted, and has once more emerged as a profitable world leader, saving many millions of other jobs as a result. On the less-than-desirable side, unemployment is still far too high; we remain involved in Afghanistan at a very costly rate; Wall Street is back to reckless speculation again as if nothing bad had ever occurred between the crash of 2007 and the “recovery” of 2010; Guantanamo is still open; our civil liberties, taken away by reckless and paranoid neocons in the years following 9/11, are still not fully restored (including the writ of habeas corpus); rendition remains as an option; NONE of the perpetrators of the Great Recession have gone to jail; war criminals from the previous administration remain unpunished and free (with some of them even advising the 2012 Romney campaign!); illegal assassinations of foreign nationals have been stepped up through the increased use of drones; wealth disparity is on the rise due to Obama’s failure to end the ridiculous Bush tax cuts for the rich; the Gulf of Mexico remains poisonously polluted with oil slicks and tarballs, with the administration ignoring pleas from affected individuals to DO something about it; unhealthy nuclear plants are once again on the rise (even in the face of the deadly Fukishima incident); health care and student tuition costs continue to climb unrestrainedly; the Middle East remains a volatile region; a huge number of “shovel-ready” worthwhile and greatly needed infrastructure projects remain unstarted, having been bottled up in the House by shortsighted, reactionary Republicans; and our national debt is rising to an unsustainable level. There is, CLEARLY, a very great deal to do! And THIS year, just like in 2008, voters are faced with a clear choice. We can either add to our already far-too-high wealth disparity and national debt by again failing to tax the rich a fairer, higher share of their income – in which case, one would vote for the Romney/Ryan ticket and continue sending Grover Norquist-contaminated, Tea Party-infested Republicans back to office, or we can re-elect the Obama/Biden ticket and make a committed and sustained effort to send newer and fairer-thinking PROGRESSIVES to Congress to right the economic injustices of the past 30+ conservative Republican-dominated years! Doing this would check the unhealthy trend toward coproratism which has plagued and sapped this country for the past three decades. Greater taxation on the very rich coupled with great increases in the incomes of the poor and middle class would get our economy back on track again. Greater spending on our horribly-neglected infrastructure would increase jobs and create demand for more, newer, and better goods. All of this is PRO-GROWTH and will jump-start our sluggish economy, create greater tax revenue, reduce our debt, and lead to near-universal prosperity LONG before bigger tax cuts for the rich or reduced regulation (as proposed by the Republicans) would ever do! WE SIMPLY CANNOT RETURN TO THE DISASTROUS ECONOMIC POLICIES OF THE BUSH YEARS, AMERICA! That is why I am stating here and now my endorsement of President Obama for a SECOND TERM, beginning with YOUR vote for him and progressive Senators and Representatives on November 6! The President has yet to show he is totally deserving of such support, but the Romney/Ryan method of favoring the very wealthiest 1% at the expense of all of the rest of us MAJORITY 99% is simply NOT an option! Likewise, we CANNOT allow these extremists to appoint even one more corporatist Supreme Court justice if justice for working people is to prevail as it should! Lastly, we can ill-afford to send such a woefully inexperienced and world-affairs ignorant team as the Romney/Ryan squad, loaded with irresponsible neocons as it is, to run and shape the intricacies of our foreign policy or to run our armed forces! Please, therefore, re-elect the President, and equip him with a friendly, people-oriented, PROGRESSIVE/LIBERAL/ DEMOCRATIC Congress! Then hold all of their feet to the fire and get them to actually DO the job they were elected to do!