Sunday, November 11, 2012

I'm Willing to Give Obama Another Try

With four years of gridlock and stagnant economic growth, Obama somehow pulled it off.  He won reelection, and now he will be our leader for another four years.

I stayed up late to listen to Romney's concession speech.  He gave a speech similar to John McCain's four years ago.  A few excerpts ...
The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work.
... We look to job creators of all kinds. We’re counting on you to invest, to hire, to step forward.
And we look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put the people before the politics.
I believe in America. I believe in the people of America.
It's basically a call to support the elected leader.  Work together to form mutual solutions to benefit the people.

And then Obama gave his acceptance speech.  The words he read are good and full of promises that would lead our country in the right direction.  Especially promising are his ideas of working together.  A few excerpts ...
I just spoke with Governor Romney and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign.
We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service and that is the legacy that we honor and applaud tonight.
In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.
... Now, we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It’s not always a straight line. It’s not always a smooth path.
By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock or solve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward.
But that common bond is where we must begin. Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over.
And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you’ve made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead. 
I really hope that Obama has become that "better president," as if he remains the same, the predictions I spelled out earlier will play out.  If instead, Obama reaches out across the aisle as he promises, then some of those losses can be mitigated.

Since Obama seems sincere, I'm willing to have hope that he will do what it takes.  Perhaps we'll all survive these next four years.  But then again ...

Four years ago, Obama gave a similar acceptance speech.  A few excerpts ...
I just received a very gracious call from Sen. McCain.  He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he’s fought even longer and harder for the country he loves.  He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Gov. Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead.
... Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House –- a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. 
Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.  As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, “We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.” And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn -– I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your president too.
These are great, yet very familiar words.  If anything, I sense a little more passion in his 2008 speech.  At first, I liked Obama, and I believed him when he said he was going to usher in a new age of bipartisanship.  I had hope. 

And yet, I'm scratching my head as to why Obama seemed to do the exact opposite over the last four years.  As soon as he got in office, he told the Republicans, "I won, you lost."  He continued blaming Bush with everything under the sun, and attempted to discredit Republican-leaning establishments, and needlessly vilified several parties (including the US Supreme Court during his first State of the Union address). 

Was Obama lying about bipartisanship in his 2008 speech?

Then there was hope again in early 2010 when a special election gave us Scott Brown, the 41st Republican Senator.  With this election, Health Care Reform appeared to be dead in the water because of the likelihood of a filibuster in the Senate.  For a brief instant, Obama looked sincerely humbled as he announced that he was going to have to work with the Republicans to get Health Care passed.

But that's not what happened.  Nancy Pelosi and others convinced Obama to allow them to take a different path and to bypass Republicans entirely through the reconciliation process.  Again, it appears Obama was lying about wanting to reach across the aisle.

After the fact, Obama "listened" to Republicans and vowed to pursue health care tort reform.  And last I heard, we're still waiting for anything to come of it.  I guess that's what you call "listen and ignore."

So, how does the saying go?  Once burned, twice shy?  I hear the words coming out of Obama's mouth in his 2012 acceptance speech, and again I'm hoping that he'll really follow those words this time, but I'm not so optimistic as before.  This time, words alone won't cut it.  I'd like to see some real action this time.  Show us some real bipartisanship.

For example, if Obama is listening to the public, he'd notice that in the CNN exit polls, 49% of those polled believe that the 2010 Health Care Reform Law should be repealed either in part or in its entirety; while 44% believe it should stay the same or be expanded.  If Obama is truly listening to his constituents, then he'd realize that the Law at least needs to be revisited.  If Obama and Congress would do this, then that would show me that Obama really means what he says about bipartisanship.

But let's see how Obama's doing so far after winning the election (talking about wanting to raise taxes on the rich)...
"On Tuesday night, we found out that the majority of Americans agree with my approach and that includes Democrats, independents and a lot of Republicans across the country..."
Ouch!  I really hope we're not in for four more years.  Obama--prove me wrong!

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