Well my friend Kathy said I was far too partisan and anti Mitt Romney. So I thought I would post one of our Top Tens on President Obama’s many failings:
- When he took office the President was actually far less experienced than the campaign had suggested, so he struggled with focus on his initial priorities.
- Specifically, while making in my view the right decision to bail out the auto industry (disclaimer this saved my pension), he failed to provide a big enough initial stimulus to get the economy back on track, and has struggled ever since as the deficit is ballooning, because tax receipts are way down as they are in recessions, and spending on things like social security is up.
- He also focused too much on health care, which has produced Obamacare, which is identical to Romneycare, but does nothing to reduce the ludicrous amount of spending on healthcare for so little return. Single payer is where most countries are and this gives some muscle to cost reduction efforts as Mitt Romney accidentally noticed in his speech on healthcare in Israel which spends less than half per capita what the US does for better health results. It has single payer like most of western Europe.
- Obamacare is little understood or liked and this reflects very badly on a President who was a strong campaigner in 2008 and seems to have lost the Reagan ability to connect with the electorate on economic matters
- I could criticize Obama for reneging on his promise to close Guantanamo but I doubt that was feasible and for me getting out of Iraq was more important. For better or worse, his foreign policy is identical to George W except for not invading anywhere fresh. And Hilary Clinton’s professionalism suggests she might have made a strong President.
- At a fundamental level, because he has never run what I call a real value add business (I don’t count consulting or banking as real value add businesses), and so doesn’t really understand what it would take to restore basic American competitiveness, especially in manufacturing and small business start ups.
- He has done nothing I know of to restore the standard of US education which is plummeting as best I can see and this is an economic killer for the long term. In this he may have been a bit afraid to take on the teachers’ unions, though of course statistically the worst education standards are in the South which don’t have the teachers’ union problems.
- He has totally disconnected himself from the old bed rock of the Democratic Party, white males with a job and no college degree. He doesn’t seem to understand them, the damage outsourcing to China has done to their self respect and how they feel marginalized in a more diverse, immigrant friendly America. Some of them may be bigoted in some ways, but no one puts themselves in their shoes and tries to find a way forward for that sector of society. The counter to bigotry is not bigotry in return.
- Obama failed to reform immigration. That might have been a bigger priority than healthcare and something John McCain was certainly willing to take risks on.
- Obama has done nothing to check the massive escalation of inequality in the US, with most of the growth in national income going to the wealthiest 1% since he took office. He might talk radically but he has found no levers to reverse this polarization.
Overall, I think Obama’s Presidency will be seen as very average, though faced with appalling inheritance, what really counts is that he didn’t act dramatically enough to fix it. And I think this reflected his early uncertainty, lack of experience and to be fair, maybe as the first African American President, a certain strategic caution. Anyway, I suppose the above reads a bit like an attack on Obama from the left; well as I like Bernie Sanders, it probably is.
The attack from the Right would be that he apologized to foreign countries for American past mistakes, that hen has some sort of socialist mentality (though I am hard pressed to see it in practice. Bailing out Wall Street is a long way from what socialism means to me), that he has jacked up spending (though most of the deficit is a result of the biggest recession since the 1930s and a carry over from Bush tax cuts, wars and debt), and that Obamacare is radically different from Romneycare (though no one seems able to tell me how) and in some way a fundamental violation of rights?
Anyway, all this suggests that I am subject to Confirmation Bias like the rest of the human race. I know it but can’t seem to fix it…..
Hope this helps Kathy