Victim Of Demonization, Obama Will Rebound Hugely

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By the latter half of 2011, President Obama will once again be able to mobilize the coalition that helped him win his historic victory in 2008; these are Black voters; Latinos; Asians; and, educated Whites and those young voters between the ages 19 to 29. He would also be able to crown it all, winning women and White working class voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas, by pairing up with Hillary Clinton as his running mate.

Victim Of Demonization, Obama Will Rebound Hugely

By Milton Allimadi

[Commentary: Allimadi Versus Michaels]


Cash Michaels has written a contrarian opinion article. After reading Allimadi's please read Michael's http://www.blackstarnews.com/news/135/ARTICLE/6902/2010-11-07.html  and then vote on which article whose argument you agree with and also post your comments online about each or both articles.

My journalistic colleague, Cash Michaels, editor of The Carolinian Newspaper in Raleigh, NC, and a native New Yorker,  believes that President Obama made a critical mistake last year when he prioritized health care reform over improving the economy, positing that the president could have held onto the US House in the recent midterms, still successfully delivered healthcare going into 2012, and assured his re-election if Americans had seen him work harder for job creation a year ago.

I disagree with Michaels' position for several reasons.

The incumbent party has always fared poorly in the midterms. President Bill Clinton in 1994 lost both houses of Congress. Moreover, not many people believe that Obama didn't "work harder for job creation a year ago." He secured the maximum funding he could usher over a hostile Congress where Republicans made the decision very early in his administration not to work with him.

Given the vitriolic attacks against the president, I am convinced that he would not have been able to achieve major legislation such as healthcare reform after midterm elections.

The recent midterm elections had little to do with issues. Many voters who supported Republicans in the midterm responding to the demonization of the president--using racist rhetoric and religious bigotry, especially Islamophobia, as evidenced by the ugly debate about the proposed cultural center and mosque in New York. The incitement began before President Obama was sworn into office, when Rush Limbaugh declared, "I hope he fails."

Given the ugly attacks against the president --Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity echoed Limbaugh's onslaught-- it's surprising that the Democrats even held on to the Senate.

President Obama had campaigned on healthcare reform. He delivered this signature legislation while working hard to avert economic collapse. The President was able to get Congress to approve a $788 billion stimulus package for economic recovery. In retrospect, the amount was insufficient. Even then, Republicans had opposed the package and were it not for a handful of Republicans supporting the measure it would have been defeated; it's likely unemployment, now at 9.6% would have been at 12% or more without this stimulus that the president fought tooth and nail for.

So how could anyone argue that the president focused on healthcare reform at the expense of the economy? Prominent economists such as Paul Krugman, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics last year have concluded that the stimulus helped avert a possible depression.

At the time president Obama came into office, the country was shedding almost 800,000 jobs a month; the stock market was on a free fall; bank shares were collapsing rapidly and there was fear that there would be a run on the banks by panicky families, as was the case during the 1930s; and, the auto companies were near collapse, taking tens of thousands of jobs with them.

Compare these stark conditions with where we find ourselves today.

Economic free fall has been arrested, and only last month there was a net gain of 150,000 jobs, something unimaginable a year ago. What's more, stimulus money in addition to creating jobs, helped save hundreds of thousands of jobs --teachers, firemen, policemen, and other public sector employees-- throughout the country.

Today, the stock market is soaring once again, and the auto industry is on solid footing --so much so that auto companies have resumed rehiring and GM is about to make a public offering of shares. What President Obama has accomplished is actually an economic miracle. Yet, rather than offering congratulations to the president, where credit it due, Republicans, for political reasons continue to demonize him and are unwilling to vote for more stimulus spending to speed up recovery.

The reason why recovery has not been as rapid as the president had hoped for is due to Republican recalcitrant, not the successful passage of healthcare reform. No funds were diverted from stimulus money into healthcare reform. In fact, healthcare reform, by controlling the out-of-control increases in rates by insurance companies will end up saving the economy tens of billions of dollars.

To accept Michaels argument is tantamount to saying that the President and his administration could only work on one major issue at a time. Michaels should recall that during the 2008 election, John McCain was unversally ridiculed when he suggested that the presidential campaign be suspended so that the candidates could work on the economy. That suggestion, by McCain --in addition to his selection of an unqualified running mate, Sarah Palin-- is widely believed to have cost him the White House.

Americans expect their chief executive to be able to focus on multiple crises.

Those of us with acccess to healthcare may not see lack of coverage as an emergency; the 40 million Americans without coverage will probably beg to differ. In fact most bankruptcies filed by American families are based on catastrophic healthcare bills that they are unable to meet. We're also familiar with stories about people being turned away from major surgery due to lack of coverage.

The president had no choice but to focus on both healthcare reform and ending the economic slide.

The president has scored several other major achievements:  financial reform to stop the Wall Street abuses that caused the economic crises; a consumer economic protection agency; equal pay for women and men; a tax break to middle class Americans as part of the stimulus package; the student loans reform program, which has made it relatively cheaper for educational financing; and, credit card reform curbing abuses including excessive interest rates by the industry, to name a few.

Had the president not been demonized by the Tea Party movement --financed by the multibillionaire Koch brothers-- and Republicans, his poll ratings would be much higher. And had the debates focused on the issues, the Democrats would not have fared as poorly in the midterms. The racist rhetoric was so effective that a candidate such as Rand Paul --who has justified discrimination in private establishments-- was able to be elected a U.S. Senator.

Even in New York State, a patently racist gubernatorial candidate, Carl Paladino, was able to earn more than 1.5 million votes, though he still lost to Andrew Cuomo, who had more than 2.5 million. Paladino had famously e-mailed images depicting President Obama a a pimp and his wife Michelle as a prostitute.

The best thing that happened was that resurgance by Republicans and their Tea Party allies peaked this year. They have disagreements; the Tea Party movement is too extreme. It is doubtful that they will be able to agree on any major legislation, such as immigration reform, for example. What's more, Republicans will once again be exposed as the party that favors only the rich, as they push for tax cuts for the wealthy.

By the latter half of 2011, President Obama will once again be able to mobilize the coalition that helped him win his historic victory in 2008; these are Black voters; Latinos; Asians; and, educated Whites and those young voters between the ages 19 to 29. He would also be able to crown it all, winning women and White working class voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas, by pairing up with Hillary Clinton as his running mate.



"Speaking Truth To Empower."



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