Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree
First, even if that were true, which it’s not, what alternative do Black people have? Let me answer that question. In a word, none. No Black person in his or her right mind should EVER consider giving any support whatsoever to the Republican Party, so the above argument is completely invalid. It makes no more sense to say that it’s in the Black community’s interest to use our vote as leverage to initiate competition between the Democratic and Republican Parties than to say that the Black community should leverage its support to stimulate competition between the Democratic Party and the Klan, or that Jewish people should divide their vote between ANY party and the Nazis. The argument is ridiculous on it’s face, and derived from an inane Republican talking point.
The fact is, the Black community HAS no option other than to work within the Democratic Party, because to hold our votes hostage in any way would work to the advantage of the GOP, whose primary reason for existence is to drag Black people back into Jim Crow, and the poor and middle class of every race, creed, and color back into a Great Depression type of existence.
The modern-day GOP is nothing less than the domestic enemy of the United States, and that’s not merely a partisan opinion (I’m not a Democrat), this is an easily researched fact. That’s what makes it so amazing that even a small minority of Black people buy into this ludicrous Republican talking point. The GOP’s behavior, and voting record, is a monument to conservative hostility toward the Black community. For that reason, whenever I’m confronted with this talking point by any Black person, I immediately write them off as either an idiot or a "bligot" (Black-on-Black bigot), and trying to educate people like these is like trying to teach a goldfish to ride a skateboard. It's a complete waste of time, Black people who hold this opinion either have a vested and self-serving interest in holding on to their position, or they lack the intellectual resources to be educated.
With respect to the latter group, they would first have to be educated in the English language just to reach a point where they are capable of absorbing a political education. Even trying to educate them would be like trying to teach calculus to a person who hasn't mastered addition and subtraction. When a Black person declares him or herself a conservative, what they are actually saying is they are politically predisposed to "conserving," or PRESERVING, the American traditions of the past - hypocrisy, brutality, and racism toward his or her own people - and from my point of view, any Black person who can't understand the glaring stupidity of such a ridiculous position lacks the intellectual capacity to be educated - period.
But as a direct result of the distorted view of reality of such people, after they declare their proud embrace of the conservative agenda, the very next sentence out of their mouths is invariably an attack on President Obama - that tends to be an obligatory salute to philosophical purity among conservatives. So let us set the record straight on that as well. President Obama is not only doing a tremendous job, but history is going to remember him as one of our greatest presidents - and no, I'm not just saying that because he's Black. I'm saying it because I'm lucid.
Much of the criticism against Obama is a result of the ignorance and disinformation that's being allowed to spread as a result of it being politically inadvisable for him to toot his own horn. If ANY Republican had either captured or killed Osama Bin Laden they would be chiseling his head on Mt. Rushmore at this point, but it's being treated as a mere footnote in the Obama saga. And how many Americans know that President Obama has cut the national deficit to its lowest point since the Eisenhower administration? Not many, because information such as that is being kept on the down-low by his critics.
"In 2009, the first year of Obama’s presidency, after tax cuts and new spending, the deficit was 10.1 percent of GDP. In 2012, the deficit declined to 7 percent of GDP. So that’s a decline of 3.1 percentage points. You have to go back 63 years to the period between 1946 and 1949 to find a bigger four-year drop than what the country saw between 2009 and 2012. Right after World War II ended, the U.S. deficit stood at 7.2 percent of GDP. By 1949, America had a surplus of 0.2 percent. So that’s a decline of 7.4 percentage points."
Many of these people are critical of Obama because he’s not willing to throw his fist in the air and say, "I’m doing this or that for my people." But what they're failing to realize - and what goes a long way toward betraying the depth of their ignorance - is when Obama makes a decision he has to take many things into account, and precedent is not the least of those. As president he’s smart enough to understand that if he did throw his fist in the air and said, "This is what I’m going to do for Black people, he’ll set a precedent for the next White president to say, "Here’s what I’m going to do for White people," and they’d call it the Obama Doctrine.
Thus, Obama has to make decisions that benefit Black people while addressing the concerns of the nation as a whole. He tried to send us a hint to that effect when he said, "I’m the president of ALL of the people," but some of us were too dim-witted to even understand what he was trying to tell us. In addition, his critics are also being hypocritical. Isn’t that what we fought for throughout the civil rights movement, a government that served ALL of the people equally?
Equality is a double-edged sword that doesn’t always work to everyone’s advantage. That's why it's called equality. People MUST be treated EQUALLY, regardless to any elaborately conjured up pretext for special consideration. If we hadn’t been so shortsighted with Affirmative Action, and had designed it to be based on need rather than race, it would have been a much more effective program. It would have also had a lot fewer challenges, and it wouldn’t have brought down the civil rights movement. It was the perceived unfairness of Affirmative Action that ushered in the Ronald Reagan era, and thus, led directly to where we find ourselves today.
As a direct result of our shortsightedness in establishing Affirmative Action, there are a lot of people who marched with, or supported, Martin Luther King who became staunch Republicans - and Richard Nixon, who signed off on much of Affirmative Action, knew exactly what was coming. He most probably had tongue in cheek as he signed off on it - "Okay, White folks, you want to march with Martin, let’s see how you feel after this." The bottom line is, we let him out-think us, and we've paid dearly for it for the past forty years. President Obama is not going to let that happen again.
So the fact is, if you’re a Black Obama critic, the chances are overwhelming that it's because you don't understand his approach to governing, and that, in turn, is because Obama is much smarter than you. That’s undoubtedly why he’s president, and you’re not - do you hear me, Tavis Smiley, Cornel West, and others? Now let’s take a look at some of the things that Obama has actually done, as oppose to basing our opinion on urban legends and nitpicking:
Returned The Executive Branch To Fiscal Responsibility. Within his first week, he signed an Executive Order ordering an audit of government contracts, and combating waste and abuse. http://1.usa.gov/dUvbu5
2. Created the post of Chief Performance Officer, whose job it is to make operations more efficient to save the federal government money. http://n.pr/hcgBn1
3. On his first full day, he froze White House salaries. http://on.msnbc.com/ewJUIx
4. He appointed the first Federal Chief Information Officer to oversee federal IT spending.http://www.cio.gov
5. He committed to phasing out unnecessary and outdated weapons systems. To that end, he also signed the Democratic-sponsored Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act, which attempted to put a stop to waste, fraud and abuse in the defense procurement and contracting system. http://bit.ly/hOw1t1 http://bit.ly/fz8GAd
6. Through an executive order, he created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. http://bit.ly/hwKhKa
Prevented a Bush Depression and Improved the Economy7. Pushed through and signed the Democratic-sponsored American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, otherwise known as "the stimulus package." The bill passed, even though only three Republicans voted for it. In a major departure from the previous administration, he launched recovery.gov, a website that allows taxpayers to track spending from the Act. http://1.usa.gov/ibiFSs http://1.usa.gov/e3BJMk
8. The Bush-led Great Recession was costing the economy nearly 800,000 jobs per month by the time President Obama took office. But by the end of his first year, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created and sustained 2.1 million jobs and stimulated the economy by 3.5%. http://reut.rs/i46CEE
9. Not only did he completed the massive TARP financial and banking rescue plan, he also leaned on the banks and others, and recovered virtually all of the bail-out money. http://1.usa.gov/eA5jVS
10. He created the Making Home Affordable home refinancing plan. http://1.usa.gov/goy6zl
11. Oversaw the creation of more jobs in 2010 alone than Bush did in eight years. http://bit.ly/hrrnjY
12. Along with Democrats, and almost no Republicans, implemented an auto industry rescue plan, and saved as many as 1 million jobs. http://bit.ly/ibhpxr Many are of the opinion that he saved the entire auto industry, and even the economy of the entire Midwest. http://bit.ly/gj7mt5 This resulted in GM returning to its place as the top car company in the world. http://lat.ms/zIJuQx
13. Doubled funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which is designed to improve manufacturing efficiency. http://bit.ly/eYD4nf
14. Signed the Democratic-sponsored Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act giving the federal government more tools to investigate and prosecute fraud in every corner of the financial system, and create a bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to investigate the financial fraud that led to the economic meltdown. http://abcn.ws/g18Fe7
15. Signed the Democratic-sponsored Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, which was designed to to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive credit card practices. http://1.usa.gov/gIaNcS
16. Increased infrastructure spending after years of neglect. http://bit.ly/f77aOw
17. Signed the Democratic-sponsored and passed Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, expanding on the Making Home Affordable Program to help millions of Americans avoid preventable foreclosures. The bill also provided $2.2 billion to help combat homelessness, and to stabilize the housing market. http://bit.ly/eEpLFn
18. Through the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, he and Congressional Democrats provided tax credits to first-time home buyers, which helped the U.S. housing market recovery. http://bit.ly/dZgXXw a99 http://bit.ly/gORYfL
19. Initiated a $15 billion plan designed to encourage increased lending to small businesses. http://1.usa.gov/eu0u0b
20. Created business.gov, which allows for online collaboration between small businesses and experts re managing a business. (The program has since merged with SBA.gov.) http://www.business.gov
21. Played a lead role in getting the G-20 Summit to commit to a $1.1 trillion deal to combat the global financial crisis. http://nyti.ms/gHlgp5
22. Took steps to improve minority access to capital. http://bit.ly/f9xVE723. Signed an Executive Order instructing federal agencies to review all federal regulations and remove any unnecessary and/or burdensome regulations from the books. http://1.usa.gov/Lpo5bd
24. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, saved at least 300,000 education jobs, such as teachers, principals, librarians, and counselors that would have otherwise been lost. http://1.usa.gov/ez30D
25. Dismantled the Minerals Management Service, thereby cutting ties between energy companies and the government. http://nyti.ms/bw1MLu
26. Along with Congressional Democrats, provided funding to states and the Department of Homeland Security to save thousands of police and firefighter jobs from being cut during the recession. http://bit.ly/g0IKWR
27. Used recovered TARP money to fund programs at local housing finance agencies in California, Florida, Nevada, Arizona and Michigan. http://on.msnbc.com/i1i8eV
28. Crafted and signed an executive order establishing the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability to assist in financial education for all Americans. http://bit.ly/eyqsNE
29. China’s largest manufacturer, Foxconn, is building a large plant in Pennsylvania http://cnnmon.ie/1k7LT4S
30. Worked with Apple Computer to get them to build more product here, and thecompany is building two large plants to manufacture products here; one in Texas http://zd.net/1nkpt2O and one in Arizona http://bit.ly/1mXY5Vg
31. Oversaw increase of manufacturing jobs by more than 500,000 since 2010, and created an institute to invest in more manufacturing jobs in the technology fields of the future. http://nyti.ms/1egyXrV
32. Ordering all federal contractors to pay a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour, leading the way to a national increase. http://wapo.st/1iaU5kd
Brought Much-Improved Transparency and Better Government
33. Signed an order banning gifts from lobbyists to anyone in the Executive Branch. http://bit.ly/fsBACN
34. Signed an order banning anyone from working in an agency they had lobbied in previous years, and put strict limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House. http://nyti.ms/gOrznV
35. Held the first-ever first online town hall from the White House, and took questions from the public. http://bit.ly/gVNSgX
36. Became the first to stream every White House event, live. http://1.usa.gov/kAgOP5
37. Established a central portal for Americans to find service opportunities. http://www.serve.gov
38. Provided the first voluntary disclosure of the White House Visitors Log in history. http://1.usa.gov/hQ7ttV
39. Issued an Executive Order on Presidential Records, which restored the 30-day time frame for former presidents to review records, and eliminated the right for the vice president or family members of former presidents to do the reviews. Provides the public with greater access to historic White House documents, and severely curtails the ability to use executive privilege to shield them. http://1.usa.gov/gUetLb
40. Improved aspects of the Freedom of Information Act, and issued new guidelines to make FOIA more open and transparent when processing FOIA requests. http://1.usa.gov/gjrnp2
Wall Street Reforms and Consumer Protection41. Ordered 65 executives who took bailout money to cut their own pay until they paid back all bailout money. http://huff.to/eAi9Qq
42. Along with Congressional Democrats, pushed through and got passed Dodd-Frank, one of the largest and most comprehensive Wall Street reforms since the Great Depression. http://bit.ly/hWCPg0 http://bit.ly/geHpcD
43. Through Dodd-Frank legislation, created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau http://1.usa.gov/j5onG
44. Through Dodd-Frank, the Executive Branch fashioned rules that reduce the influence of speculators in the oil market. http://bit.ly/MDnA1t
45. Fashioned rules so that banks can no longer use YOUR money to invest in high-risk financial instruments that work against their own customers’ interests. http://bit.ly/fnTayj
46. Supported the concept of allowing stockholders to vote on executive compensation. http://bit.ly/fnTayj
47. Endorsed and supported the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2009 that would close offshore tax avoidance loopholes. http://bit.ly/esOdfB http://bit.ly/eG4DPM
48. Negotiated a deal with Swiss banks that now permits the US government to gain access to the records of criminals and tax evaders. http://bit.ly/htfDgw
49. Signed the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, which closed many of the loopholes that allowed companies to send jobs overseas, and avoid paying US taxes by moving money offshore. http://1.usa.gov/bd1RTq
50. Established a Consumer Protection Financial Bureau designed to protect consumers from financial sector excesses. http://bit.ly/fnTayj
51. Oversaw and then signed a Democratic bill constituting the most sweeping food safety legislation since the Great Depression. http://thedc.com/gxkCtP
52. Through the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act, extended the False Claims Act to combat fraud by companies and individuals using money from the TARP and Stimulus programs. http://bit.ly/SLTcSa———————–
A Complete List of Obama Accomplishments
Eric L. Wattree
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