This essay is intended to point out how much has actually been accomplished in the first 3 years of President Obamas’ presidency. For many reasons, we progressives tend to look for saviors rather than real people. I hope to illustrate why your vote in 2008 was not wasted, your inactivity in 2010 was extremely detrimental to our cause and how it is imperative that we work to reelect this man for a second term.
Reason #1 – The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. This legislation was a direct answer to the Ledbetter v. Goodyear US Supreme Court decision. The new law holds that equal pay lawsuits begin on the date that the employer makes the initial discriminatory wage decision, not at the date of the most recent paycheck. Lilly Lebetter was screwed by the Supreme Court, your vote overturned that.
Reason #2 – Families can meet their fallen sons and daughters at Dover AFP. As a matter of fact, the Pentagon will help with the cost of travel. Your vote put compassion back into how we deal with our war dead.
Reason #3 – The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Let the right wing howl all they want, this bill saved the economy. It also gave a much need boost to all “green” technology. Before Obama, business people laughed when you talked about green technology – they are not laughing anymore. Your vote ended the supremacy of the oil interests in energy policy.
Reason #4 – Scientific Integrity. On March 9th, 2009, a memo went out from the White House stating, “the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my Administration…” If you don’t think this is a big thing, I will remind you of the Republican debates where Creationism and Global Warming denial have been pervasive. You could also ask a researcher who is working on stem cells how important he thinks this issue is. Obama overturned a Bush executive order banning stem cell research funds. Your vote brought science back into public policy.
Reason #5 – Reauthorization of SCHIP – 4.5 more years and a 32.8 billion increase in funds spent to provide coverage for children of families who are too poor to purchase private health insurance, but not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. You vote has saved many children from sickness and death.
Reason #6 – The Credit Card Act of 2009. This saved Americans billions of dollars by banning unfair or deceptive practices. Just two of these practices, retroactive rate increases and “hair-trigger” penalty interest rates, were costing U.S. consumers $10 billion per year. That money was saved by your vote.
Reason #7 – Sonia Sotomayor. Supremes may die or quit in the next four years. Your vote kept the 5-4 decisions going the right way.
Reason #8 – Universal Health Care! Come on folks! This is a huge accomplishment. I will list just a few benefits. Health plans cannot deny coverage to people for any reason including health status. No more lifetime limits on coverage. No rescinding of coverage, except in cases of fraud. Kids stay on the parents plan till age 26. Waiting periods for coverage are limited to 90 days. States can create health insurance exchanges.
Your vote will reduce the number of uninsured Americans by 32 million. This has done more for poor, working class Americans than any government program since LBJ! The reason why Republicans want to kill this bill while it’s not yet fully implemented is they know that once voters start receiving universal health care, they will never give it up.
Reason #9 – Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Hypocrisy has been overturned by your vote. Now gays and lesbian service members can serve their country without having to hide their identities.
Reason #10 – Dodd Frank. Barack Obama signed into law the biggest shakeup in regulation of U.S. banks since the Great Depression. He placed new fees and limits on the nation's biggest banks, imposed new restrictions on the $450 trillion derivatives market, and crafted a major new consumer-protection division for mortgage and credit-card products. Flawed as it is, your vote put a check on the thieves on Wall Street.
Reason #11 – Student Loan Reform. Republicans apposed this bill because the banks made money off these loans. Now, the government will be the originator of the loan rather than simply guaranteeing the loan. The US government will save 68 billion over the next 11 years, and your vote made it happen.
Reason #12 – Obama has ended war in Iraq.
Reason #13 – Osama Bin Laden is dead.
Reason #14 – The Arab Spring. I ask you to imagine what would have happened if McCain was president during this upraising. My guess is Mubarak would still be in office and thousands of idealistic Arabs would be dead or in jail.
Reason #15 – Lybia. IF we are going to own the biggest pile of weapons in the world, this is how I want to use them. Again I ask, if Obama was not president, what would the Arab world look like. Your vote has international consequences.
Let me be clear. We are never going to get the great progressive savior. There is no mythical politician out there with the charm of Jack Kennedy and the political skills of Lyndon Johnson who will lead us into the promised land of a majority in the House and 60 votes in the Senate. I spent most of the 90’s defending Slick Willie. It was not easy. His accomplishments were small and his negatives where huge. Obama is the exact opposite. His accomplishments are huge and his personal negatives are non-existent. And yet, we progressives can’t see it. I could blame the media. I could blame the blue dogs. I could blame the Koch Brothers. You know…there is nobody to blame but ourselves.
Here is my prediction for the election. Presently, the circus is in town. This sideshow is designed to entertain the country and throw as much red meat to the hard-core conservatives as possible. After the tent has been folded and all the “candidates” have gone home, Mitt Romney will be the nominee. We will then be presented with the myth of the “Rockefeller Republican”. Mitts support for all things moderate will come out from under the bush and independent, middle of the road voters will be soothed into believing that Mitt will solve all our problems. Only you can prevent the loss of another Supreme Court seat. Only you can keep our foreign policy on track. Only you can keep universal health care from being gutted. Control on Wall Street from being gutted. Environmental laws from being gutted. Only you.
Write a check. Volunteer. Hold a house party. Speak your mind to those who disagree with you. Hold your head up high. We have accomplished quite a lot in the last 3 years. We need 4 more.