Time for governing, not bickering

It seems hard to believe, but it was only a couple months ago that celebrity Donald Trump was flirting with running for the GOP nomination for president when he was thoroughly humiliated by President Obama at the White House Correspondent's Dinner:

“For example – no seriously – recently, in an episode of The Celebrity Apprentice, at the steak house, the men’s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. There was a lot of blame to go around, but you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was the lack of leadership, so ultimately, you didn’t blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf.  You fired Gary Busey.”


“These are the kind of decisions that keep me up at night,” said Obama. 

The nation soon learned that the joke was all the more poignant because the president had spent the night before signing off on orders to kill Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani compound, a decision that certainly warrants missed sleep. With that information, the farcical Trump candidacy came to an end. Americans were reminded that politics and governing is actually serious business, not a reality show where the most obnoxious are rewarded with high standings in meaningless polls. 

This situation seems to be playing itself out again this week. On Wednesday night, the 8 men and women vying for the Republican nomination debated at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The next night, President Obama presented the American Jobs Act to Congress, exhorting them to pass legislation that would strengthen America's economy in the short and long term. 

The two events offer a vivid contrast between those who see governing as a legitimate and worthy endeavor, and those who engage in something less noble and almost a bit ridiculous. 

Rather than offer serious ideas, most of the candidates spent their time Wednesday night conjuring up as many synonyms for no as they could muster. Health insurance reform? No. Economic stimulus? No. Science? No. And perhaps most disturbing of all was the question directed to Texas Governor Rick Perry about whether his overseeing of more executions than any other governor in modern times caused him anxiety. No.

Aside from some moments of serious introspection, mostly from Govs. Mitt Romney and John Huntsman, and even a brief moment of clarity from the struggling Rep. Michele Bachmann, the candidates focused mostly on throwing more red meat to an increasingly right-wing GOP electorate. 

Why do 27% of Texans lack health care? Perry claims it's because they eschew government involvement in their lives. Should the US undertake comprehensive immigration reform? Only after building a gigantic fence, deploying troops, utilizing predator drones, and declaring English the official language. Accept a ridiculously off-balance deal that would see 10 dollars in cuts for every dollar in increased revenue? Nope. 

Any idea that even hinted at compromise with the president or the Democratic party was anathema to the individuals on the stage. 

Fast forward to Thursday evening when President Obama went to Congress and used his powerful oratory to urge an end to the childish bickering that was so prevalent this summer. Obama called on Congress to focus on the collective task at hand: providing for the welfare, safety, and prosperity of all citizens. 

The president offered clear policy ideas to move the economy forward, including a plan "written by a Texas Republican and a Massachusetts Democrat." He offers ideas that may not be completely palatable to his base on the left, but pragmatic enough in an attempt to lure in some votes on the right. 

Obama is not the savior that many in 2008 hoped he would be, but time and again he is willing to look for common ground with his recalcitrant opponents in order to enact policies to improve people's lives. He tries to govern while those on the far-right bicker and play. 

The Republican Party showed its unwillingness to embrace clowns when Trump's support withered earlier this year. Joblessness and the economy will remain prodigious challenges in the months ahead, and those who vote in upcoming primaries must decide whether or not they will nominate a candidate who views public service as a noble calling that demands hard work and ideas or someone who is completely unqualified to govern but perfectly able to agitate and rile up a boisterous base. Luckily the GOP has a candidates who fit into both camps. The party, the general election, and the nation as a whole will benefit should voters decide on the former. 

Michael J. O'Loughlin 

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C Walter Mattingly
7 years 4 months ago
There are few things that the majority of Republicans and Democrats agree upon. One is that, excepting his wisdom following and even accelerating his predecessor's defense policies, President Obama has done a poor job as our leader.
As Michael O'Loughlin points out above, the president has before him a "clear plan," written by a democrat and a republican, to move the country ahead. Where have we seen that before? He had a far more comprehensive and effective plan before him, overseen by a republican and a democrat, his own commission's proposal, for addressing the deficit and general economy over a year ago. By now, it could have induced confidence in the economy and sparked an uptrend. But lackiing the fortitude to move forward with it against the extremes of both left and right, he simply wilted before it. Now he belatedly presents a flawed fragment of that plan, more a reelection campaign tactic than anything else. It won't much matter whether all or part of his proposal passes. It is too little, too late.
President Obama has amply demonstrated that neither his integrity to his word, his wisdom, his experience, nor his leadership is adequate to the job. 
Time to move on.
John Barbieri
7 years 4 months ago
If the country is better off than it was four years ago, Obama deserves to be re-elected.
If the country is worse off than it was four years ago, Obama does not deserve to be re-elected.
It really is that simple. 
Tom Maher
7 years 4 months ago
As Mitt Romney said the other night at the Republican Presidential debates "President Obama is a nice guy but he is clueless on the economy.  We need a change in  leadership."

Let's not kid ourselves.  President Obama's inept economic leadership and this lastest economic stimulus plan is the problem not the solution.

Presdient Obama and his economic advisors  have failed to recognize and deal with the fact that the nations has a long term structural economic and unemployment problem  that can not solved by ideologically driven Keyensian economic stimulus programs that grows the already bloated  public sector.   And the half trillion dollar of new spending only makes the hugh problem of the national debt worse.   37% of our the nations GDP now goes to the public sector up from 25% only a few years ago.  But the private sector is were real long-term jobs are created.  The Obama stimulus takes scarce resourse  out of the private sector were jobs are created and gives it to a bloated public sector.   The Obama's  first stimulus failed to create any jobs.  Why repeat the same mistake twice with a second stimulus that also largely grows the public sector that does not create real pernanent jobs that the country so urgently needs. 

Last month for the first time since 1945 no jobs were  created during a month - zero job creation,   Job creation is not hapepning at all.  This is a fundemental structural problem where too much economic resources going to the public sector.  But what does Obama do?  Obama's new plan his earlier failed plan gives even more economic resourses to the public sector.  Good presidential politics.  Disasterously bad economic policy.  His plan fials to create jobs in the private sector.  No wonder that Obama's job approval is failing like a rock      

So it is not bickering or childish to recognize an acute economic crisis that President Obama's economic policies have created.  This is a real crisis in our real national economy.  Obama economics is bogus and is doing great harm to the economy which is in sharp decline.      

Fundementally President Obama's leadership on the economy as Mitt Romney said publically is clueless.  Congress and the nation has a urgent need to prevent President Obama and his economic policies from doing more harm to the economy.  
Liam Richardson
7 years 4 months ago
Even if the current Administration does not merit re-election, an opponent will not necessarily merit election over it. Therein lies the rub. 

I have no reason to believe a McCain Palin administration would have been better for the nation in civic terms, or even substantively better for Catholics on moral terms.  In fact, quite the opposite. The frontrunners in the GOP right now do not hold out better promise. Maybe that will change.  A lot can change. 

I would be happier if the GOP were a more serious party right now; as things stand, it seems more about cheerleading than even the worst caricature of Obama-Messiah worship. 
7 years 4 months ago
Mr. O'Laughlin is typical of what is wrong with the America site.  Emotional rhetorical arguments instead of factual rhetorical arguments.  Bold assertions with little to back them up.
The opening quarter of his little essay was on Donald Trump.  He needed a buffoon to compare to the president in order to make the president look good.  This itself does more than anything to illustrate that there isn't anything to defend the president. 
''The next night, President Obama presented the American Jobs Act to Congress, exhorting them to pass legislation that would strengthen America's economy in the short and long term. ''  He presented already failed policies.  Nothing was new and had already been tried before without any success.  If Mr. O'Laughlin knew any economic history he would know that anything that has failed before, just two years ago as the latest exampe, would be the height of insanity to repeat again.  So by not supporting this program for failure are Republicans the party of ''no'' or the party of sanity.
 We have the frequent use of derogatives to describe Republicans such as ''something less than noble,''  ''ridiculous.'' ''Rather than offer serious ideas,'' ''conjuring up as many synonyms for no,'' ''struggling,'' ''throwing more red meat'' ''childish bickering''and more.  This compares to the president and his ''powerful oratory'' and ''focus on the collective task at hand: providing for the welfare, safety, and prosperity of all citizens.''  This comes from the man who planned and created the debt ceiling crisis last summer in order to make the Republicans look bad, who sat on the same stage as Hoffa and his infamous remarks about taking them out and recycled failed policies like old retreads.
He then distorts what the Republicans say in order to make the president look good by comparison.  He says that the Republicans are unqualified to govern and yet supports a man who had no credentials to govern anything when he was elected president and has shown no capacity since to do so either.  The person presently leading in the polls has governed the second largest state for the last 10 years quite successively.  My question is why does a site like America let such drivel appear under its name. 
7 years 4 months ago
I should qualify my previous remarks.  The continuance of the 2% reduction in the payroll tax is a good idea and so is the trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and Korea.  Now if he combined that with a reduction of the taxes on business and an implementation of the Ryan tax recommendations which are revenue neutral, it would be a good step.  And add to that the suspension of Obamacare, Dodd Frank and the EPA myriad of new regulations and that might make a bold plan.  Oh, I forgot those are Republican ideas and are not really ideas since they only say ''no.''


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