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In Support of President ObamaRalph E. Stone Salem-News.com
Unfortunately, there is little media attention given to how much he has done in his first 17 months in office.
(SAN FRANCISCO) - I voted for Barack Obama for president because I saw him as left of center. Obama's record as an Illinois state senator (1997-2004) and his short time as a U.S. Senator (2005-2008) provided me with little or no evidence that he was a progressive or a far-left liberal. Perhaps, his "call for change," the fact that he is the first Balck-American U.S. president, and some wishful thinking, gave Obama a progressive look to some. Hilary Clinton or John McCain/Sarah Palin were not acceptable alternatives to me. For the most part, I am not disappointed in Obama's presidency so far.
Let's take a look at his record of accomplishments during his first 17 months in office.
Arguably, he has done more than FDR and LBJ -- the standard many use to measure accomplishments -- in the same amount of time in office.
Here are just a few of his major accomplishments:
And this is only a partial list.
Although the Democrats hold a majority in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, Obama had to deal with an obstructionist Republican party, the Congressional Blue Dog Democrats, and the lack of a filibuster-proof Senate much of the time. At the beginning of the 111 Congress, there were 435 Representatives with 257 Democrats and 178 Republicans. Of the 257, 54 are a coalition of fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats and without them, the Democrats do not have a majority in House.
At the start of the 111 Congress, there were 58 Democrat Senators with Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders officially listed as Independent, but who usually caucused with the Democrats, giving them 60 votes. Of these, there were about nine Blue Dog Democrats. Without them and Lieberman and Sanders, the Democrats did not have a majority, and certainly not a filibuster-proof Senate. At the time of the health care debate, Senator Joe Lieberman said he would join a Republican filibuster of any health care legislation that included a public option, leaving the Democrats at the time one short to defeat a filibuster. That's why the health care legislation does not include a public option.
Clearly, the Blue Dogs exercise considerable sway in both Houses of Congress and Obama's (and Nancy Pelosi's and Harry Reid's) accomplishments are that much more remarkable.
Unfortunately, there is little media attention given to how much he has done in his first 17 months in office. Rather, the media has focused almost exclusively on Obama’s critics, without holding them responsible for the uncivil, unconstructive tone of their disagreements or without holding the previous administration responsible for the mess Obama inherited.
I admire Obama for focusing on results that take time to come to fruition. When things go too slowly to suit the left or not in the direction that suits them, they become frustrated and blame the moral character of their leaders. Some day, the left (and progressives) might get around to blaming Republicans.
Of course, there is much to be done during the remaining half of Obama's first term in office. Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran's nuclear ambitions, immigration reform, global warming, an energy policy, eliminating the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, reduce unemployment, and reducing the $1.47 federal deficit, come quickly to mind. The very difficult takes a little bit longer. This means that liberals and progressives must keep Obama's feet to the fire during the remaining part of his first term in office.
Hopefully, the democrat and independent voters will wake up in time to punish Republican candidates at the mid-term elections. To do otherwise, would be a vote against there own self interests.
Salem-News.com writer Ralph E. Stone was born in Massachusetts. He is a graduate of both Middlebury College and Suffolk Law School. We are very fortunate to have this writer's talents in this troubling world; Ralph has an eye for detail that others miss. As is the case with many Salem-News.com writers, Ralph is an American Veteran who served in war. Ralph served his nation after college as a U.S. Army officer during the Vietnam war. After Vietnam, he went on to have a career with the Federal Trade Commission as an Attorney specializing in Consumer and Antitrust Law. Over the years, Ralph has traveled extensively with his wife Judi, taking in data from all over the world, which today adds to his collective knowledge about extremely important subjects like the economy and taxation. You can send Ralph an email at this address firstname.lastname@example.org
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