Should Progressives now fall in line behind President Obama just because an election is coming up?

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progressives against ObamaWe seemed to have entered an era where there is this group think of that no matter what you think of President Obama, in reality everybody needs to get in line and make sure that they follow whatever the President says because we are heading toward an election.  And I simply don’t agree with that.  

It seems like there is always an excuse of, it’s such a hard job, so progressives have to give President Obama all the breaks.  

Martin Sheen recently said, “It’s unrealistic.  I wonder how many of those progessives [meaning the ones that are criticizing him] are black?  How many of those progressives understand historically what happened?” 

So does that mean only Cornel West can criticize the President?  That you have to be black to be able to do a progressive criticism of the President?  I don’t think that that makes any sense at all, and that’s a needless injection of racism into this issue when it does not belong there. 

Here are some things that really concern me.  Recently I read in the news again about how they might be bringing back the “grand bargain”.   Do you remember what this is?  This is basically the Simpson-Bowles Commission that the President asked for and has been lobbying for and has wanted to do all along.  But do you remember the downsides of that? 

First of all, in this so-called grand bargain on the budget, they would do three times as many spending cuts as they would do so-called tax increases.  Now as a progressive, why in the world would I be in favor of that?  That’s a terrible ratio.  We already cut spending to the bone; he’s going to cut three times more than the tax increases.  I don’t agree with that.  I don’t care that we are heading toward an election.  That’s the wrong plan.  And in fact it doesn’t help his election chances at all; it would totally hurt him. 

Now here’s more downsides of the grand bargain.  It cuts social security.  It cuts medicaid.  It raises taxes for the poor.  It raises taxes for the middle class.  That’s where your tax raises are.  And it lowers corporate taxes.  To which I say, hell no. 

I am not going to get in line for that.  It doesn’t mean that I prefer Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich or any of the other clowns.  No one is saying that.  But I am not going to sign onto something because the President is running for re-election.  Hell no.  I hope to God that they don’t do the grand bargain. 

Now when you look at President Obama in his entirety, it’s a complicated picture.  There’s definitely been upsides.  Let’s talk about the upsides for a second.  

They did healthcare reform.  I have my concerns about it but it’s at least 50% good and it was a big, big effort.  

There’s some defense spending cuts.  I would love more but there is some. 

On women’s rights, I actually think that he has been terrific:  fair pay act; affordable care act.

He stopped torture.  He has been terrible on civil liberties otherwise.  But he did shut down the black sites that the CIA was running and that stopped torture.  

He saved the auto industry. 

There was a stimulus.  It could have been larger, but it had significant effects on unemployment in bringing it down. 

Obviously he killed Osama bin Laden which was terrific. 

And he finally got rid of don’t ask don’t tell.  Again, that’s very, very good. 

But you also have to look at the downsides.  And let me give you a quick list of that as well. 

He was very easy on the banks. 

At the same time he was hard on whistleblowers:  not just Bradley Manning but corporate whistleblowers and other security interests whistleblowers. 

On civil liberties, honestly, I thought that he was a disaster.  National Defense Authorization Act, that allows for arresting U.S. citizens and giving them indefinite detention, which is terrible.  Warrantless wiretapping continues.  Drones on U.S. citizens, where he killed them without any due process. 

Domestic spending cuts have been significant, dramatic. 

The war on drugs.  He started out great in the first few years and then he turned around and doubled down on the Bush administration policies, busting dispensers in the states for no reason. 

And on immigration reform he has been horrible.  He has deported more people than George W. Bush did.  

And then my main beef with him, nothing on campaign finance reform, nothing.  He was supposed to change the system.  

So don’t have people tell you that you got to bow your head and go along. 

So if you are a progressive, Obama supporters will tell you because we are heading into an election, you should not criticize the President.  But it’s maddening to me that President Obama constantly goes to the right and it doesn’t help him politically.

The Barefoot Accountant

About William Brighenti

William Brighenti is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified Business Valuation Analyst. Bill began his career in public accounting in 1979. Since then he has worked at various public accounting firms throughout Connecticut. Bill received a Master of Science in Professional Accounting degree from the University of Hartford, after attending the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University for his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. He subsequently attended Purdue University for doctoral studies in Accounting and Quantitative Methods in Business. Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals throughout the country as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission. In addition to the blog, Accounting and Taxes Simplified, Bill writes a blog, "The Barefoot Accountant", for the Accounting Web, a Sift Media publication.
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One Response to Should Progressives now fall in line behind President Obama just because an election is coming up?

  1. Elise Mattu says:

    I am not sure where you figure out that the Health Care Act is 50% good. Good for who? Maybe for parents who have corporate jobs and can keep Susie and Johnny on their policy till those kids are age 26. That is one perk. And it is good that people cannot be denied Health Insurance because of pre-existing situations.
    But for the majority of Americans, who’ re already living pay check to paycheck, it is going to be difficult to pay for it. As you get older, if you don’t work for a Big Corporation, you are simply priced out of health insurance. Ditto if you have pre-existing conditions. The insurers have to take you and your pre-existing conditions – but they charge you through the nose for the privilege.
    Have you had a loved one who is sick and who relies on you while they are sick? Do you understand that since no one near the WH cared enough about the public option to have it written in to the plan, that people are going to find that not only are they going to pay exorbitant amounts for health insurance, they are still going to spend hours on the phone discussing with insurers whether or not the loved one can have the treatment they need.
    Or not. And yes, there is supposed to be a way for the government to subsidize people to help them with insurance costs – but people also have to come up with the money for co-pays and often 20% of the cost of treatments & procedures.
    I have never figured out why this nation’s people are stuck with this utter mess. In France, half as much money per capita is spent on people – and the French are better taken care of. We spend more money and end up with very lousy care. Believe me on that one. I have spent nineteen years in the trenches doing private duty nursing assistant work – and although Big Insurers will allow a person to have quadruple by-pass heart surgery, they won’t sign off on paying $ 6,000 for the meds to keep the person free of infection after the operation.
    So a person endures all the stress and trauma that the operation entails; the surgeons and hospital get between 85K and 135 K – and the person ends up dying because they don’t have any infection fighting meds offered!! Or they get the meds, but end up losing their home, as they have to pay out of pocket costs on the medicines. That is just one out of fifty other horror scenarios I can describe for you.
    I am 59 yrs old, and have survived one medical bankruptcy. My spouse and I continually debate the wisodom of leaving this country and moving somewhere civilized.

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