My chief criticisms of President Obama have been consistent and unwavering. The president made a partisan and ill-advised decision to pursue healthcare reform during his first term while the economy somersaulted down toward the basement. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ultimately offered a solution that pleased neither side, nor fixed the fundamental problem. The system is still broken, still motivated by profit margins.
Also, Mr. Obama promised immigration reform while running for president not once, but twice. Regardless of congressional gridlock, we don't even know what his supposed plan of fixing the broken immigration system is and the lame duck clock is already ticking. Whereas I understand the eventuality that prisoners of war at Guantanamo Bay must eventually be released given that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are "officially" over, I question the foreign policy wisdom of releasing five Taliban for Bowe Bergdahl. This is saying nothing of the seeming public indifference to the plight of Marine Andrew Tahmooressi in Mexico.
I shake the pom poms for no politician or political party. But not all criticism is valid or created equal. Some is principled while some is wholly partisan. Don't confuse one with the other.
The competition of ideas and parties has always been healthy, that is, when the scales tip in the direction of moving America forward, not ensuring she grinds to a halt. Speaker Tip O'Neill found a way to work with President Reagan, whether they personally liked each other or not. Speaker Newt Gingrich even found a way to work with President Clinton, at least up until that "Monica" thingy.
I would never allege to know what is best for you and your family in Bismarck, ND; vote your interests accordingly. Conversely, don't try to suggest you know what's best for me in Los Angeles or the other 350 million U.S. residents. Again, vote your interests, ones likely different than mine.
At the same time, we should be willing to distinguish principled criticism from hyperbolic partisan cow feces. Doing so is intellectual honesty. Intellectual honesty is not trying to convince me in 2008 that then-Senator Obama was a Christian, radicalized under Rev. Jeremiah Wright; and then in 2009 suggest that as president he is a Muslim sympathizer with dreams of Sharia Law from his father. Pick one, but not both as columnist Jeffrey T. Kuhner did.
You know who you are and Kuhner was not alone.
From 2009-2012, the drumbeat of President Obama having been born in Kenya and hiding his "real" birth certificate grew louder. Yet many of those firmly entrenched in the "birther" movement also support and/or are strangely silent as to an eventual Ted Cruz presidential campaign in 2016. You know, the senator admittedly born in Canada and whose father helped Fidel Castro to come to power in Cuba. THAT Ted Cruz.
What says "American patriot" like a Canadian birth certificate and Fidel freedom fighters in your family?
If you are of the opinion that the president has "trashed" the American economy, but also wish to disregard the fact that President Obama's two terms have outperformed President Reagan's on jobs, growth and investing, you're neither a patriot, nor rooting for America. You're simply willfully ignorant and it's not pretty.
Is the economy great for everyone? Absolutely not. But you don't get to allege that it is not recovering when unemployment is the lowest (i.e. under 6.0) since summer of 2008. GDP was up 4.6% for the second quarter of 2014, highest growth rate in 2.5 years, similarly for GNP.
The stock market closed on 1.20.09 (Obama's first Inauguration Day) at 7,949.09, down 332.13. As of today the Dow is hovering around 16,700.
You're welcome. Historically, doubling the stock market was looked upon as positive. Recently, it seems the rules have changed.
The facts are what they are. If those economic indicators were relevant in 2009 to demonstrate how poor the economy was, then they are sufficient to demonstrate its growth and improvement in the years since.
Just the facts ma'am. Trashed? Underperforming? Maybe, if we disregard the stock market, GDP, GNP, housing and unemployment. Just in case facts actually matter, keep on reading.
As for President Obama wishing to redistribute wealth... he is the worst "socialist" ever.
According to the conservative periodical The Washington Times, the top 1% reaped 90 percent of previously referenced income gains since Mr. Obama took office. The truth is that he has been more King Capitalist than Captain Socialist, relative to income distribution in America. Criticize him factually and legitimately for expanding the income divide, but not for promising or giving free handouts to the 47% as some talking points and hype have suggested.
Just the facts, ma'am.
As for foreign policy, the prevailing talking point from Obama detractors is that his policy decisions have been a "sham" and "total failure."
Whereas the handling of ISIS has been undeniably questionable, if not a major miscalculation given public admission that (the intelligence community) had underestimated ISIS; this is the same president who argued to go into Syria in 2013 (much to my chagrin). This week, President Carter and others alleged, Obama "waited too long" to go into Syria.
This is the same president Carter who also opposed any strike in Syria and suggested pursuing a Syrian peace conference when President Obama wanted to strike in 2013. Noticing the contradictory criticisms requires paying attention longer than a few news cycles. I have an ISP and am not afraid to use it. If you're not paying attention, politicians will try to play both sides of an issue.
Remember the time when it was considered unpatriotic to criticize the foreign policy of a sitting war president? Yeah, I do and so do you. Situational ethics and moving the goalposts of patriotism are rather popular these days. I am not fooled. Only since 2009 can one allege to both love America and root for the failure of the president. These days, it's just called "Tuesday."
But I digress...
The economic sanctions against Russia and brought the ruble and the country's economy to its knees. Despite all the celebrated "tough talk" from Vladimir Putin, it was all bluster and bluff from a president struggling to keep his country from repeating the collapse of the Soviet Union of years before. The Russian ruble has dropped 14% in the last year alone and Putin has had to pump almost 2 billion dollars (exchange rate) to keep it from slipping further.
Collapsing the economy of our "greatest geopolitical foe" as alleged by Gov. Mitt Romney is a good thing, right? Just in case facts still matter.
Criticize the strategy in the moment all you like, but the eventual results can't be disputed. If this were chess, the partisans criticized the sacrifice of a pawn yet are nowhere to be found when Putin's metaphorical queen is taken.
That's not intellectual honesty.
On immigration, the familiar refrain is that the president "has not enforced our immigration laws." The Left says he has deported more illegal immigrants than any president in history. This one is murky and one of the more easily spun statistical debates. To that end, HERE is the best piece I've read on the subject; decide for yourself. It depends on what your definition of "is" is...
Vote your interests in November. Continue to be partisan to your heart's delight. Just don't call yourself a patriot if you search to find reasons to disregard objective facts, data and documented history in an attempt to justify rooting against a sitting president. Not just this one, any president.
True patriots don't love America and only support the president with partisan pre-conditions. It is an all-or-nothing proposition.
I am a patriot without condition. Why not come join me?
Morris W. O'Kelly (Mo'Kelly) is host of "The Mo'Kelly Show" on KFI AM640. The Mo'Kelly Report is a syndicated politics and entertainment journal. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and all commentary is welcome.