Failed presidency or failed Congress?

Apr 13 2012 - 11:53am

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Beauchamp
Beauchamp

I find it disingenuous at best when GOP presidential candidates claim "Obama's presidency is a failed presidency." What we have is a failed Congress!

Considering President Obama inherited: 1) an economy on the verge of a depression, 2) automotive, financial and banking industries about to collapse, 3) a housing market in free fall, 4) two ongoing wars, 5) a sinking global economy and 6) a hostile, obstructive opposition party, he has done a remarkable job. His policies reversed the economy's nose dive, saved the financial and banking industries, saved the automotive industry thereby saving 1 million jobs, created new jobs in each of the last 25 months, ended the war in Iraq, severely weakened al-Qaida and found and eliminated Osama bin Laden to name just a few of his successes. Think how much more could have been done if Congress worked with the president instead of against him.

No, it isn't our president who has failed us; it is our Congress! The very people we count on to solve our problems are doing more harm than good.

After signing their "no-tax-increases" pledge to Grover Norquist, Tea Party freshmen stormed Capitol Hill in 2011 with a "just-say-no; we-will-not-compromise-or-negotiate" strategy and brought the government to a halt. Their rigid stand was the reason Congress failed to resolve the alleged debt-ceiling crisis and the reason the rating agencies lowered our credit rating. That costly failure gave us the Super Committee, who was then tasked with finding a way to reduce our budget deficit by $1.2 trillion. Both parties agreed that if the "Supers" failed, triggers would automatically kick in and half the $1.2 trillion would come from wasteful defense spending. As predicted, the "Supers" failed and we're back to square one with yet another debt-ceiling crisis looming on the horizon. Talk about failure built on failure!

There is no question we still have severe problems; a slow recovering economy, still too much unemployment, an underwater housing/mortgage crisis, the continuing war in Afghanistan, potential confrontations with Iran and North Korea, immigration problems, growing debt and rising health care costs, etc. These critical issues should be addressed with all urgency. Why then isn't Congress tackling them? The answer is simple;

The GOP doesn't want the Obama administration to succeed!

The GOP party's de facto propaganda chief, Rush Limbaugh, said so when he proclaimed boastfully, "I hope Obama fails." Senate Minority leader, Mitch McConnell, essentially said the same when he announced to the world his party's most important priority was to "make Obama a one-term president." What a fine, patriotic goal!

Except for finally passing the recent JOBS Act, the GOP-led House has killed every other job-creation proposal and every deficit reduction plan put forth by President Obama because they refuse to consider tax increases in any form. Instead of working toward reasonable solutions, they are deliberately impeding economic recovery. By taking these purely partisan actions to try and make our president look bad, they are deliberately gambling the future of our nation. Just who are our "representatives" representing? The Koch brothers and Grover Norquist?

To make matters worse, the GOP isn't working on what they claim is their most critical issue; i.e., the economy. Before you point to Paul Ryan's "big-tax-cuts-for-the-rich-will-solve-all-our-problems" budget proposal, you have to admit it has no chance of success so he is only wasting Congress' time. Instead of reasonable, cooperative efforts to solve our problems, it seems they would rather take us back 50-60 years by slashing social programs, legislating personal-choice issues, legislating women's health issues and undoing existing legislation such as the Affordable Care Act.

Some religious groups object to a provision in the Affordable Care Act that makes contraceptives available to those whose beliefs don't permit it. That's understandable. But the GOP accuses President Obama of waging a "war on religion" and their only acceptable solution is to repeal the act totally. Seriously? A war on religion? Total repeal? Please! Any reasonable, success-driven Congress would work together to fix those parts they disagree with. Here's an idea; offer a plan with two options; option A with the contraceptive provision and option B without it at a lower cost. Employees can select the plan that best suits their belief. What's complicated about that?

All our problems could be fixed if Congress worked together with the president in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect and focused on solutions that benefit us all. Instead, they have entered into a battle of "winner-take-all" politics without regard for what is best for the nation. Their dangerous tug-of-war might satisfy their reelection objectives and their special interest groups but they don't serve the needs of all the citizens. So, if you're looking for the failed policies, look to Capitol Hill, not the White House.

Beauchamp is a retired aerospace marketing director and consultant and a member of the local Coffee Party living in North Ogden.

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