Sunday July 22, 2012

RICHMOND

In an interview with Charlie Rose on CBS, President Barack Obama claimed that he was having a tough re-election fight against Mitt Romney because in his first two years in office he focused more on policy rather than his administration's accomplishments. I beg to differ.

It is true that he didn't bother to list the changes that were being made to undo as much as possible the damage that had been inflicted on this country by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. It ranged from waging wars that were unjustified and that drained the nation of both material and spirit, to making the divide between the so-called elite and the average citizen so wide that it couldn't be bridged, to dividing us into polarized factions that no longer had anything in common.

To me, Obama's great fault was in believing that he could deal with the Republican Party, the new one that had little in common with the old one so far removed from such as Leverett Saltonstall, to fix the things that had gone wrong, to regulate banks and Wall Street, especially the ones that had become "too big to fail," to make it possible for the average citizen to regain both materially and in pride.

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During Bush's administration we had become a country that attacked and occupied foreign nations, that tortured its prisoners, that spilled billions of dollars without responsibility or even censure, that passed laws making the rich richer and the poor poorer, that stealthily removed protective regulations, that packed the courts with ideologues rather than jurists, that allowed racism to once more color us gray.


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Barack Obama won enough votes to become president of the United States, enough votes to repair some of the damage that had been done. The people who elected him expected great undoings were about to happen, and yet we seem stuck in the same old pattern as before.

The fault can only be attributed to Obama's thinking he could persuade the opposition into compromising on the major issues and make some of them go away and some do better. This indicates that there is the possibility that what we thought was self confidence was really egotism, that the positive reaction to his electioneering speeches had given him a false reading about what had happened to the Republican Party. They were not the party of old that hewed to conservative views of government and its responsibility to the country as a whole. They had knuckled under to the tea party despots who appealed to the basest of instincts in the public mass.

We have now reached the point where taxes are considered sinful and people don't want to pay for even the necessities of government. It has been necessary to cut teachers, firemen, policemen and scientific research while the military gets more than it even desires, where absurd weapons of the future are considered sacrosanct while the poor, the sick and the old of this nation are told to make do with what they can.

They consider it legal to insure your car but not your health. They want to continue giving insurance companies and expensive health organizations money that could be used to really help the people who really need it. The rich are being given free range to control our thoughts and our lives while they increase their fortunes to unbelievable heights. Mega corporations and individuals can now drop billions of dollars into putting Mitt Romney in the White House and giving Republicans a majority in the Senate and enlarge their majority in the House. If these people are given an opportunity to further exploit the masses, what little remains will be further depleted for some while others benefit mightily.

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Obama needs to stand up and spell out these differences in a way that the common man can understand. He is smart enough to know where he is missing the mark.

"I need to do a better job," he said, "of inspiring and communicating to Americans in a second term."

Mitt Romney is going around the country saying the same bland things to everybody. He even tried it with the NAACP and look what that got him. Right now it's between Obama and the billionaire Super-PACers with their false messages repeated until they are almost a drumbeat. And just as meaningful.

Milton Bass is a regular Eagle contributor.