Category: bush adminsitration


As President Obama prepares for his re-election bid for 2012, his job performance numbers are slipping and sagging. This is the worst period for his job performance numbers, since he has been in office. In the Gallup polls his numbers for August are 42%, and in other polls there is a range from 40% to 45%.

U.S. Congress

The American citizens are extremely frustrated with all of the representatives in Congress and they are pointing their finger at every one of them as the problem. Many people in the country think that integrity and credibility no longer exist in politics. The people want to see a change and difference, and something they can believe in.

With the president’s numbers taking a nose dive and sliding, it is important that he starts to change the direction that his numbers are going. Based on history most incumbents win re-elections, because their job performance ratings are in the 50% or higher range. President George Bush was able to win with a 48% approval rating, but that is an exception, as opposed to the rule.

Polls show that voters hold both parties to blame for the fiasco with the political fight over raising the limit on U.S. borrowing, and the unprecedented downgrade of the country’s credit rating. They also are angry over the stunted economic recovery, and an unemployment rate stuck above 9%.

In President Obama’s weekly address he said, “You’ve got a right to be frustrated. I am, because you deserve better. I don’t think it’s too much for you to expect that the people you send to this town to start delivering. Some Republicans in Congress would rather see their opponents lose than see America win.”

There is a major divide in Congress and everyone is trying to figure out what is going on. The bickering and name calling is very disrespectful, but the Republican’s goal to make Obama a one term president is good politics. The Democrats and the president must expect the Republican candidates to go after their policies every chance they get.

former governor Jeb Bush

At this point the election is 15 months away, and the Republicans do not have a candidate that

Texas governor & GOP hopeful Rick Perry

they feel can beat the president. With Governor Rick Perry of Texas entering the race, and Ex-Governor Jeb Bush of Florida doing more talking to the media, the Republican candidates are improving.

It is time for the Democrats and the president to begin to mobilize the college, African American, Hispanic, Youth, and independent voters. In 2008, President Obama revolutionized campaigning with the use of social networking, and online organizing. With celebrities’ endorsements and specifically the use of Oprah Winfrey, the president was able to draw record crowds.

After two and a half years in Washington, it appears that the president has lost his magic, and the power in his belief of change. The first year in office, the president was a whirlwind of activity, and getting unprecedented bills passed in universal healthcare, appointing two Supreme Court Justices, reforming the financial industry, preventing the economy from collapsing, and bringing the war in Iraq to an end.

It is essential that progressives, independents, Democrats, and minorities began to have a legitimate discourse on President Obama’s record. Americans generally want immediate gratification, because we live in a microwave society. But in American political change is slow and there are major bureaucracies to transform, and reorganize.

Instead of spending so much time discussing what the president has not done, it is time to start talking about what he has accomplished. In order for the president to complete what he has started, he needs more vocal and print support. It is time to get behind the president and stand on his record.

U.S. Senate leadership

On the evening of July 31, 2011, the Senate and The House of Representatives have reached a tentative agreement. Ending a perilous stalemate, President Obama announced an agreement on Sunday night on a compromise that would avoid the nation’s first-ever financial default. The deal would cut more than $2 trillion from federal spending over a decade.

This agreement is tentative and the Congress must ratify the deal with a vote. No votes were expected in either house of Congress until Monday, to give rank and file lawmakers time to review the package. The framework of the deal would give the President a debt ceiling increase of up to $2.4 trillion, and guarantee an equal amount of deficit reduction over the next 10 years.

“Default would have had a devastating effect on our economy,” Obama said at the White House, relaying the news to the American people and financial market around the world. He thanked both the leaders of each party.  

After a tough week of meetings and negotiations, the House of Representatives, Senate leadership, and the president are able to feel good about their accomplishment. According to Democrats and Republican sources, here are the key elements of the deal. There is still work to be done and the leaders of both parties are rounding up votes for the deal.

The debt ceiling increase tentatively would be around $2.1 trillion and the spending cuts would be equal to increase over 10 years. The formation of a special Congressional committee to recommend further deficit reductions that may take the form of spending cuts or tax increases. The special committee must make recommendations by late November, before the Thanksgiving recess.

Congress must also approve those cuts by December 23, or automotive cuts across the board go into effect, including cuts to federal defense programs and Medicare. This trigger is designed to force action on the deficit reduction committee’s recommendations to both Democrats and Republicans. There would also be a vote in both houses on a balanced budget amendment.

As the Congress gets down to the 11th hour, the two houses are close to a deal. During President Bush’s eight years the debt limit was raised 19 times, without the fuss and fight of this Congress. When Bush took office the debt limit was $5.95 trillion, and when he left it was $9.81 trillion.

Top Aide to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett

President Obama has been deeply involved in trying to win a debt deal that both parties find agreeable and can work with. “He’s getting absolutely no sleep. He’s working tirelessly, meeting with his economic team, doing a lot of outreach, exploring all kinds of possibilities for compromise,” top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett told Reuters Insider. This has translated into even longer days than normal at the White House, which already begins with a senior staff meeting at 7:30 am in the morning.

It appears that all the hard work has paid off for President Obama, and his administration. It is still too early to relax, but all the leaders are announcing that a deal has been struck. Democrats won’t like the fact that Medicare could be exposed to automatic cuts, but the sizes of the Medicare cuts are limited. They are designed to be taken from Medicare providers, and not beneficiaries.

Finally, the House of Representatives and the Senate are starting to compromise, and do what is best for the citizens of the country. Somehow President Obama must make bipartisan a reality in Washington, and get the two parties to cooperate, and work together. Making decisions together that improve and enhance the country is the job of our representatives.   

On Monday, March 28, 2011, President Obama held a nationallytelevised speech where he

President Obama

attempted to give his plan, strategy, and reason for bombing and intervention into Libya. Based on his explanation, the bombing of Libya was necessary to save lives and promote freedom. It is a limited invasion in terms of time and scope and the international coalition has prevented massacre.

Without America leading this global coalition, Gadhafi would have showed no mercy on his people, and he had already compared the rebels and demonstrators to “rats.” In certain parts of the country, Gadhafi had turned tanks, bombs, and soldiers on innocent citizens, and the people need food and medical supplies.

As a result of the conditions, the United Nations initiated a “No-Fly” zone, an arms embargo, and put a global freeze on Libya’s billions of assets. There are certain Arab countries that are also supporting the “No-Fly” zone, but there are others that do not support the bombing of a sovereign country.

Libya has Africa’s largest oil reserves, and certain countries believe that the “vital interest” in Libya. There are other countries in that region in the world where citizens are being murdered and not allowed to demonstrate and protest, but the existing government is still supported by the United States.

Last week there was a London Conference where 36 countries and the UN Secretary General Bar Ki-moon, which was hosted by Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron.

British Prime Minister David Cameron

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

This conference tried to work out a plan to get rid of Gadhafi. The media gave the impression that all the major countries are supporting this NATO coalition, but only two African countries: Tunisia and Morocco, attended the conference. The entire African Union refused to attend the London Conference, along with China, Russia, India, and Pakistan.

As the Libyan conflict continues to intensify, it is obvious that the strategy and plan must be continually made “up on the fly”. During President Obama’s speech on the Libyan conflict, he was adamant that there will be no ground troops, and the leadership of the military operation is no longer under the control of the United States.

But many American citizens do not believe President Obama when he says that his administration will not attempt to overthrow Gadhafi by force. “To be blunt,” said Obama, “we went down that road in Iraq.” Nevertheless, it appears that President Obama is following in President Bush’s footsteps and the Libyan strategy is starting to get messy.

Dr. Boyce Watkins from Syracuse University has surveyed over 650 African Americans and 27% are against President Obama’s decision to intervene in Libya. There were 24% who supported the action, and 49% who were undecided. As this conflict drags on, it is a recipe for confusion and spending money that we don’t have.

Many African Americans are starting to not trust President Obama, and skeptical of our military and government. Many believe that we should stop trying to police the world and concentrate on the problems at home.

Minister Farrakhan and many African American leaders are criticizing the United States government for launching military action against Libya without justification. They have accused America of just wanting Gadhafi out of the picture to secure oil interest and set up a puppet government. They are asking for a ceasefire on all sides in Libya, and let the people vote on whether Gadhafi should remain in power.

This is a good idea, but in Libya there will be no peaceful transfer of power. Gadhafi has demonstrated that he will murder to stay in power, and President Obama has stated that he desires a regime change.

In the final analysis, whether we agree or disagree with President Obama, history is not on the side with Gadhafi. He will probably leave and live in a friendly country with his billions, or he will die in his country trying to stop the movement of freedom.

The leaders of the 111th session of Congress are working at a feverish pace to complete unfinished business and bills. Many of the lawmakers are well aware that they will not be back, so they are leaving their legacy: be it bad or good. The Democrats have from the beginning had an agenda and a strategy, and time is running out.

Senator Harry Reid, Democratic Senate Majority leader

Senator Harry Reid has threatened the Republicans that he is willing to work until December 30, and get the work completed. Many Republicans and Democrats know that is not realistic, but Reid knows that the tables will be switched in 2011. With the Republicans with more power in the Senate and a majority in the House, Reid wants major bills passed now and not later.

Reid wants to complete an approval of ratification of a nuclear arms treaty with Russia, legislation to repeal the military’s “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy, a “package of land, water, and wildlife” bill, the passage of the Dream Act, as well as the confirmation of several presidential nominees. It is obvious that Reid will not get all this done in the next 10 days.

Usually the main reason that the lame duck sessions are so important is to complete its work on the spending or appropriation bills that form the basis of the annual federal budget. President Obama was personally involved in this lame duck session, because if the Bush tax cuts deal was not finalized, all Americans taxes would have increased by at least $2,500.

2010 bill signing ceremony

President Obama at a bill signing ceremony

The Senate passed the Bush tax cuts on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 by a vote of 81-19, and the House approved the measure by a vote of 277-148 on Thursday, December 16, 2010. Without the president getting involved the tax cut bill, it would not have passed so rapidly.

President Obama and congressional Democrats agreed to compromise in their opposition to extending the lower tax rates to the wealthy Americans, and also agreed to a lower estate tax than had been scheduled to take effect. In return, Republicans agreed to extend unemployment benefits with payroll tax cuts and other tax breaks, which conservatives generally opposed as government stimulus measures.

Many political experts believe that this is an indicator of how President Obama will operate with a split Congress, during 112th session. Instead of change, President Obama is talking about compromise, and he is ready to make deals to initiate a bi-partisan conversation and a sharing of power.

At President Obama’s 29th bill signing ceremony for the Bush tax cut legislature, there were representatives from both parties at the event. At the signing ceremony President Obama said, “The final product proves when we can put aside the partisanship and political gains, we can get a lot done. If we can keep doing it, if we can keep that spirit, I’m hopeful that we won’t just reinvigorate this economy and restore the American dream, I’m also hopeful that we might refresh the American people’s faith in the capability of their leaders to govern in challenging times.”

Obama with Dems at bill signing ceremony

Obama signs at another 2010 bill signing ceremony

The president has acknowledged that he was not completely satisfied with the tax cut deal, but his goal was to get the work done before the deadline. It is obvious that the “to do list” for the 111th Congress will not be completed this year.
With 29 bill signing ceremonies completed, there was unprecedented work done, and the implementation of the groundbreaking legislatures will take years. But now there is a different Congressional session getting ready to start, with different representatives, and with a different set of priorities.

The work of the 111th Congress will never be completed, because one session carries to the next session and it takes months and years to get new bills operating and implemented.

Check out Roger’s other blogs on PRESIDENT OBAMA WATCH at http://www.presidentobamawatch.wordpress.com

As Congress concludes its business for the 111th session, the “Bush Tax Cuts” will determine if taxes are raised, and hundreds of thousands of people are impacted by the loss of unemployment insurance. The Republicans and President Obama have made a deal that the Obama administration can work with, and they believe it is good for the country and our depressed economy.

President Obama is aware that the new Congress will have a majority of Republicans in the House, and it will be necessary to negotiate and compromise. As a pragmatic statesman, President Obama is reaching out an olive branch to let the Republicans know that he is listening, and he is their friend.

He is aware that there are ideological and core differences in their philosophies, but the goal is to make America better for all Americans. The president is ready to make concessions to move forward the committee meetings and debates. There are going to be intense discussions on the direction the new Congress will take, and the Republicans in the House possess the votes to have their policies accepted.

Nevertheless this week in closed-door meetings, the Democrats made it clear to President Obama that they are not in support of the tax deal he made with Republicans. The words “Just say no” were the new mantra being espoused by many of the Democrats. They felt that President Obama was changing boats in the middle of the stream, and they were angry and upset.

Many Democrats believe that the wealthy are in a position to pay higher taxes to help improve the economy. If the tax cuts are extended for two years, it will cost the economy $120 billion that it will be missing in tax revenue, and over 10 years it will impact tax revenue by $800 billion.

I have no idea how the Joint Tax Committee comes up with its numbers, but it was my understanding that extending the tax cuts were only for two years. President Obama’s plan according to most economists, is supposed to boost the economy. At the end of the two years, the administration and the Congress would sit down again and make an assessment of the economy and determine what direction to take.

At this point by extending the tax cuts, the administration would increase the money supply, reduce consumer uncertainty about raising taxes, and continue keeping the consumers spending money. In order for the economy to grow, it is necessary for the consumer to spend more money, and help put more Americans back to work.

President Obama understands that in politics, there are no permanent friends and there are no permanent enemies. In order to arrive at a compromise, everyone must be willing to give up something. Everyone has a wish list, but they understand at the end of the day they will only get a portion of their demands and wishes.

The tax cuts end on December 31, 2010, and the Democrats can be stubborn and refuse to compromise, or allow the wealthiest two percent of Americans keep their tax breaks. By letting the wealthy have their tax breaks, millions of Americans will continue to have unemployment insurance, and millions of Americans will not have to worry about their taxes increasing.

The Democrats need to get on board and support the “Obama Tax Cut Deal.” The Senate Democrats are on board but the House Democrats are angry and grand-standing. Many of these Democrats will not be back in the new session of Congress, because they lost their election.

It is my hope that the House Democrats support President Obama’s Tax Cut Deal, so everyone can go home and have a wonderful and healthy holiday.

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