How Republican Lies, Created Fear Against Obama's Policies

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In the build up to the mid-term elections, Republicans accused President Obama of being out of touch with the American people. John B Boehner, the presumptive Speaker of the House, told Diane Sawyer during an interview that, “the American people have clearly repudiated the policies they’ve put forward in the last two years”.

Republicans and the conservative media have also done an effective job in portraying President Obama as arrogant. As evidence of this, they point to his determination to pass healthcare reform despite their very vocal objections, as well as objections from the The Tea Party. Even worse, conservative pundits like Rush and David Limbaugh have scared parts of white America into believing that Obama is threatening their individual liberties, while favoring people of color. Hence, the cries of, “We want our country back!”

I agree that the President is arrogant. However, my reasons differ from the conservative’s reasons. The far-right compares President Obama with Hitler. I see a President that has an unwavering belief in his vision for the country in much the same way that a father believes that he knows what’s best for his children.

President Obama has passed legislation that expands loan programs for small businesses, establishes a “bill of rights” for credit card consumers, closes the “doughnut hole” in Medicare resulting in 4 million seniors not having to pay full price for their drug prescriptions, requires insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, fully funds the Veterans Administration and adds more mental health specialists, began moving combat troops out of Iraq, increased Pell Grants for low-income families, increases funding for the conservation of national parks while also expanding access for places to hunt and fish and raises fuel economy standards…and those are just a few of his accomplishments.

Let’s see, there’s something for consumers, seniors, veterans, hunters (No, Obama doesn’t want to take your guns), low-income families and small businesses. Yet, the President seems to believe that he doesn’t have to speak to the American people about his legislative accomplishments. It’s as if he thinks that the country will just figure it out eventually.

By not touting his accomplishments and allowing the Republicans to define his first two years in office, President Obama has done a disservice to the people that elected him. I am always more amazed at what is not said than what is when I watch politicians debate on political shows. Part of that amazement comes from watching Democrats allow Republicans to distort, misrepresent and outright lie about legislation that if properly administered, could be in the best interest of all or most Americans.

Republican leaders misrepresented healthcare as having death panels –as Sarah Palin put it--  insuring illegal aliens --remember S. Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson infamously shouting, “You lie” during the President’s State of the Union Address-- and rationing care (HMOs already ration care).

Most news agencies now report polling that indicates that Americans are either split over health insurance or reject it all together. However, President Obama made healthcare reform a major part of his campaign and most Americans voted for him. So why do we now see the inconsistency in voter’s attitudes towards healthcare reform? I believe it’s because the President failed to challenge Republicans every time they used scare tactics to shape the debate about healthcare reform. If healthcare was worth all of the political capital that Obama spent to get it passed, shouldn’t it also have been worth his time to fight the public perception battle also? The result is that even Obama supporters are confused about the merits of “Obamacare.”

The story is the same when talking about the stimulus package, taxes, spending and jobs. The Republicans characterize the stimulus as a failure. They point to statements made by the administration that if the Stimulus Bill passed, unemployment would fall below 8%. Sarah Palin, as usual, took the offensive with a series of lies including the purchase of wind turbines in China and that no new jobs have been created by the stimulus. Newt Gingrich said that inside the stimulus is, “Anti-Christian legislation that will stop churches from using public schools for meeting on Sundays, as well as Boy Scouts and student Bible study groups.” That is, of course, another lie in a series of lies told by Republican lawmakers and conservative activists.

I wonder how many people know that the stimulus provided 25 tax cuts aimed mostly at small business and the middle-class. By the way, those tax cuts went to real small businesses, not the small businesses that Republicans claim will be impacted by repealing the Bush tax cuts to couples that earn over $250,000 per year. In fact, one-third of the stimulus was comprised of tax cuts and 95% of working families received the benefit of tax cuts. According to the Tax Policy Center, in the highest income tax bracket, the average income of filers who report having some income from business is $718,827. Why are lower and middle-class Americans fighting over a 3% tax increase to these people?

Remember the buzz created when President Bush announced that he was sending out checks to stimulate the economy? Bush and the Republicans talked about it for weeks. Obama cut taxes and nobody knew it. We still had Tea Party rallies with people screaming about the increase in taxes they were in fear receiving under Obama. Could it be that President Obama feels that it’s his job to pass legislation, but not to explain it? Did he look at Tea Part protests being broadcast into our living rooms every night and think that they were not having an impact on the rest of the country? Was it the arrogance of a man that sees his vision for the country as the only way to get things done?

Regarding jobs, the big issue, most of the jobs that have been lost, were lost prior to the stimulus act taking place. That didn’t stop Republicans from blaming Obama’s policies.

The same can be said for spending. Even though history shows us that since Nixon, it’s the Republicans that have run up the deficit, not Democrats, Americans perceive the Democrats and particularly this Administration as being responsible for government waste. The reality is that the idea of a balanced budget is more of a political dagger that Republicans use when they are out of power than it is a core belief.

I’m not advocating for all of the President’s policies so far. Perhaps, the election results would have been the same regardless of whether the President debunked all the lies about his policies. However, the American people deserve to know the truth about important legislation that impacts every American. When we allow politicians on either side to get away with misrepresenting the facts, we all lose. President Obama owes all Americans clarity. By allowing Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and John Boehner to misrepresent his agenda, President Obama has ensured that the people who put him into office will not have theirs views properly represented in the House and Senate.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."


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