The Points Obama Should Make to Gain Independent Support
I am not a registered Democrat or Republican but a card-carrying independent. I am formulating here the points I believe Obama needs to make to gain independent support. Subsequently, I’ll give my take on how Romney might court independents.
I came into office in 2009 inheriting the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. My policies, including the fiscal stimulus, stabilized the economy and kept it from falling into an even deeper hole, moves most economists agree were critical. During my first year in office, unemployment peaked at 10%. Since then, over 4 million jobs have been created by the private sector and the unemployment rate has dropped to 8.1%, which is still intolerably high. Though job growth and the overall economy have continued to improve, further actions that I proposed to increase employment, such as work on our deteriorating infrastructure and the rehiring of teachers and first responders, were blocked by Congressional Republicans.
The bailout of the auto industry by the government, which was decried by my opponent, has proved to be tremendously successful. New vehicles from American companies are among the best in the world and will continue to be manufactured here in the states. The stock markets are now at their highest levels since the beginning of the recession, showing the confidence that businesses and investors have in our economy and its future growth.
While the stimulus package temporarily contributed to our budget deficits, so did carrying on two wars abroad initiated by my predecessor, who cut taxes and financed the wars by borrowing from foreign governments. I have ended the Iraq War as promised and our troops will be out of Afghanistan within two years. As you know, we have also eliminated the top leadership of Al Queda, significantly reducing its threat to our nation.
To contain our budget deficits and reduce our national debt, the tax cuts now in place must be allowed to expire for our wealthiest citizens. Although government spending must also be curtailed, this should not occur until the economy fully recovers. However, a schedule for raising revenue and cutting spending should be put into place by Congress and I will work with my colleagues there to get this done. The suggestions of the Simpson-Bowles Commission laid the groundwork for controlling the budget deficits and national debt, but needs further adjustments.
Several months ago, I announced an executive order that will allow children of undocumented immigrants who were brought here at a young age to remain in America if they have a high school diploma or have served in the Armed Forces and have no criminal record. My opponent says this was a political move, wondering why I did not pass legislation dealing with this when I had Democratic majorities in Congress. Perhaps he has not yet heard about Senate filibusters, which Republicans threatened to use if I brought this measure up in the Senate. Indeed, much of which I have tried to do for our country has been stymied by Republican intransigence. The Republican Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, said the most important goal for his party was defeating me in this election, seeing my defeat as more important than addressing our nation’s problems.
The Affordable Care Act which we passed, while not perfect, at least provides affordable coverage for most Americans while cutting costs. The Republicans have never presented a comprehensive alternative plan. Coverage for pre-existing conditions, allowing children to remain on parents’ insurance until age 26, and state insurance exchanges to help individuals obtain coverage, are all important advances in health care, and will save the nation money over time.
My administration in concert with the auto industry has raised vehicle fuel economy and by 2025, average CAFÉ standards will stand at 54.5 mpg. Aside from its environmental benefits, this will reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. Though increasing our own oil and gas extraction is vitally important to our national security, we will continue to develop alternative energy sources as well to protect the environment.
We have also worked to protect women’s right to abortion and access to contraception. And gays are now allowed to serve openly in the military. As the recession fades further into our rear view mirrors over the next four years, I promise you that I will balance the budget and dramatically reduce unemployment. I also hope to further address our crumbling infrastructure and improve our education system at every level. An answer to the entire immigration dilemma can be found as well with the cooperation of Congress.
I ask for your votes and another four years as president to lead America on the path to prosperity.
em>A VietNam vet and a Columbia history major who became a medical doctor, Bob Levine has watched the evolution of American politics over the past 40 years with increasing alarm. He knows he’s not alone. Partisan grid-lock, massive cash contributions and even more massive expenditures on lobbyists have undermined real democracy, and there is more than just a whiff of corruption emanating from Washington. If the nation is to overcome lockstep partisanship, restore growth to the economy and bring its debt under control, Levine argues that it will require a strong centrist third party to bring about the necessary reforms. Levine’s previous book, Shock Therapy For the American Health Care System took a realist approach to health care from a physician’s informed point of view; Resurrecting Democracy takes a similar pragmatic approach, putting aside ideology and taking a hard look at facts on the ground. In his latest book, Levine shines a light that cuts through the miasma of party propaganda and reactionary thinking, and reveals a new path for American politics. This post is cross posted from his blog.