Town Square

There You Go Again, Obama ...

Original post made by Anon., Crescent Park, on Nov 8, 2012

First, I voted again for Barack Obama for President as I did in the last election, even though I did have a great but perverse curiosity about exactly which Mitt Romney we would have elected and what he might actually have done since he never bothered to tell us in all his confusing man of a thousand faces schtick!

But today we started to hear echoes of the same unproductive patterns from Obama taking shape, as four years ago. In his first term he ignored the economy and was going to tackle health care - mistake according to almost everyone ... "bipartisanly". Now this term it is immigration that is the wild goose chase. Instead of taking on the economy with some kind of vision and making an effort to do "something".

The sad part is while Obamacare took up so much of all of our time talking about, and the government's time doing nothing about, the plan itself is only slightly better than nothing for most people. It's very good for those people who can make use of it, and for that I am glad, but it does not solve the problem of health care costs or coverage. And the greatest irony is that it came from his opponent ... it's really Romneycare!

But even weirder, or maybe not, Romney who purported to care about small business never mentioned once that one of the biggest problems of small business is not being able to afford to give health care coverage to their employees and the whole linkage of health care to employment in the first place. Extending Medicare while allowing the health insurance companies to compete on supplemental basis that might spur research and innovation while covering everyone would solve that. But I digress....

I'd like it to be different but Obama's pattern seems set pretty well. He gives speeches, and his election night speech was more or less warmed over nothing, the same speech he gave four years ago, no red states, not blue states, United States. Not really United States, in fact less United States than four years ago, nevertheless a country that elected him President in order to lead. Not a red President, not a blue President, not even a purple President, a President that is threading to be clear and just sit his job out.

What Obama seems to do most is to fritter around, talk, attend media events until whatever crisis is overcome by events and he then the mess all crashes down wherever it is going to and the wreckage is what he calls compromise or spins as reaching across the aisle.

Does anyone agree with this, and better yet, is there a way to prevent "nothing" from happening again by sending the President emails urging him to lead and take the "bully pulpit" instead of timidly hiding behind hit? I realize he had virtually the same issues with Congress that he did last time, but we all know last time did not work, so he should have the guts and diligence to try something different. What can he do?


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Posted by non- anon
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 8, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I question the first claim, as well as the factless rhetoric that follows.

"seems" "started to hear echoes" "unproductive patterns" "taking shape" and more "seems" and more "seems"

What on earth are you using as evidence to back up your (well hidden) point?

If you want Obama to be more progressive or liberal, or not, call your rep, your senator and the White House. And donate time and/or money to oust the opposition in two years.


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Posted by bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 8, 2012 at 4:20 pm

bru is a registered user.

HEY EDITOR ... now what was uncivil about any of this that you have to push the button and force people to log in. I just lost the whole comment I was going to post, and I see no unkind, nasty or uncivil comments here at all. You are way pre-emptive in my opinion.

> I question the first claim, as well as the factless rhetoric that follows.

OK, you're allowed to do that. But if what was posted was what you recognized as facts you might just question them as well, and how can the word "seems" give you such a problem. It's just my perceptions and opinion, and hopes.

I did not think the point was hidden at all, I want Obama to be more focused and more hands on. Is it your "well hidden" contention that he was both in the last term?

What I was specifically trying to avoid was ticking off Obama supporters who I consider myself one of, but any even hint of negativity or criticism seems to provoke, even if it is hidden or not even there. We are so not united it's practically impossible to say anything anymore - even with a big brother editor looking over our shoulders.

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Posted by Bill Johnson
publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly
on Nov 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Bill Johnson is a registered user.


You're correct, there was nothing uncivil about the post or comment. We have been pretty routinely limiting national political topics to registered users, because when we don't they become contaminated with disrespectful comments or personal attacks. So it's precautionary, and tends to discourage those who are merely trying to inflame others. I'm sorry your comment apparently got caught up in this when the registered users limitation was invoked.

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Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Nov 8, 2012 at 4:53 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.


I am also confused about what you want Obama to do--hands on in what direction and for what issues/purpose. But I do agree your post was civil and interesting.

Town Square asks posters to use their real name and encourages registration. Moreover, Bill's psoition has been clear both by observation and his repeated patient explanations.

You even have a registered name. What is your complaint if you don't honor the wishes of your host?

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Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Nov 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

As far as my feelings about Obama, I am pleased with the election and pleased with his acceptancr speech.

I wish he had pushed harder for immigration reform and I hope he does that now asap.

Most of my other diappointments fall under the category of he couldn't reasonably expect to get them passedby an "out to get him" Congress.

There was a clear choice about values and except for immigration Obama gets a good grade from me in his first term for values and I expect even more progress now.

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Posted by bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm

bru is a registered user.

I guess I'm assuming that when people post nasty comments you just delete them and it's not so complicated.


Stephen, immigration reform means different things to different people. What forces are at play in this taking so amazingly long and what part does control of the border play in this.

To me, the main issues are getting control of the border and managing immigration reasonably, as well as preventing illegals from the South becoming an abused slave class who work for less than sustainable wages and get criminalized or deported if they complain or try to organize.

I'd admit as much I see the value in the melting pot, I am also reticent about the cultural flood and losing our traditional culture. My feeling, without evidence is that we have diluted American culture too much and that less immigration is called for, but I'd be hard pressed to put actual numbers to that. On the other hand I'd be quite alright with Mexico and the US having relatively reciprocal agreements in terms of crossing the border and owning land.

In terms of skilled labor from abroad we need to keep the best people here, especially entrepreneurs, but what I have seen is that in that rush a lot of mediocrity and worse tags alongs and causing friction.

That said I do not think any of it trumps the importance of the economy and the budget debt/deficit.

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Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 8, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Ducatigirl is a registered user.

Obama is, after all, a lawyer and thereby a smooth talker. He can always give a convincing speech.

In conversations with a former CEO of Intel, who has talked with Obama about the importance of affordable higher education in this country, my husband has found out that Obama does not really have a handle on the issues as well as he would have you believe. And it is actually more than a little scary, I have been told. Not that the opposition had a better handle on things, but Obama has always been a convincing debater. And he excels at getting people to believe what he wants them to believe.

I think he was merely the lesser of two evils.

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Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm

maguro_01 is a registered user.

In response to the original poster - Maybe we need more parties if only to expand the debate space. Special interests in Washington due to our bipartisan Pay-To-Play politics financing system foreclose real debate on many subjects. Pay-To-Play is a Founding Flaw.

For example medical care - Look at Canada's system. It costs 2/3 the percent GDP as our system. They get a longer life expectancy, no employer involvement, and Universal Care. So no one's pulling the plug on Granny as Paul Ryan wants to do here. Their care delivery system is mixed as ours is but they are Single Payer - like Medicare for everyone. If we had the Canadian system we would live a little longer and save around $800 billion per year. Those are the numbers, you can figure them out. $800 billion is actually a little over the entire US military budget, itself unsustainable.

It's hard to say if US life expectancy would actually increase. Around here life expectancy is probably similar to France. The US number is dragged down in particular by the Confederate culture area where many states have lower income populations with a life expectancy well down into the 60's. These areas are expected to be especially be hard hit by an oncoming wave of diabetes 2 and Alzheimer's. They are still well behind in social and economic development though it's been 145 years since the Civil War with Mississippi as the best example.

We read that diabetes 2 is mostly preventable, cancer as much as 1/3 presently preventable, and so is most early cardiac disease. So Washington lobbying is giving us lobbyists for diabetes 2, for cancer, and for heart attacks, along with lobbyists for treating them all. This isn't sustainable but the Republican/Libertarian idea of cutting US life expectancy and having people ideally die in net worth order is unacceptable.

US GDP is around $15 trillion. US medical care overall is about 17.4% US GDP by far the highest in the world. That includes 4+% GDP to insurance companies. US life expectancy is 78.2 years.

Canada spends 11.3% GDP on medical care, life expectancy is 80.7 years
France spends 11.8% GDP on medical care, life expectancy is 81.5 years

Switzerland has largely private insurance that costs a bit more but nothing like the US system. Apparently they have the essential corruption of Pay-To-Play under much better control. Pay-To-Play can only be fixed with an unlikely Constitutional Amendment, though after Mr Romney's recent defeat perhaps I'm too pessimistic about that.

US medical care is an unsustainable bubble, so is the financial sector which is also a creation of the P-To-P system. Between them they eat 1/4 US GDP, a huge drag on the economy and recovery. Indeed, the Crash of '08 can be seen as a consequence of P-To-P - finance spent hundreds of millions in lobbying over years to not update, but get rid of all the hard-won Depression era banking regulations, especially ending Glass-Steagal.

Hopefully Obamacare is a milestone on the way to a better, but sustainable and less expensive, system and that may be its real intention anyway. Obamacare and the impossibly long finance bill are just the only things that could pass the Congress/Lobbyists.

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Posted by bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 14, 2012 at 9:42 pm

bru is a registered user.

Ducatigirl ....

> but Obama has always been a convincing debater.

Always? How about at best 66% of the time. After everyone told him what to say and what they expected.

maguro_01 ...

I doubt any big changes like third parties, Constitutional amendments, end the fed, going back to the gold standard are going to happen. Major change is going to have to happen because a majority of people who are willing to work for some issue are willing to work for it and have major backing and minor opposition.

I guess the point was that whatever, we are not going to be able to count on Obama to push much. His Obamacare program, without a public option is a joke, and all it has really succeeded in doing according to a nursing home manage friend of mine is to cap expenses for older people ... did anyone understand this or vote on it?

Democracy - direct or representative ... what a joke. Informed patriotic citizenry ... what another joke.

If the US did not have the massive propaganda media it does we'd be a lot more like China and we would know it. Not sure what is better, to know it or to imagine it is different? Perhaps I'm too cynical?