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I have been a supporter of President Obama since the 2008 campaign and have continued to support him.  Although I am registered as a Democrat I consider myself an Independent.  The only reason I have not registered as an Independent is because I enjoy voting in primary elections; a benefit not accorded Independents.  My voting, however, is based primarily on how I believe a candidate can best serve the needs of the American people.  When Reagan ran against Carter, I voted for Reagan because at that time, I believed that his policies were in the best interest of the American people.  Like many Americans, however, I was sorely disappointed in the Reagan Presidency because his so-called “trickle down economics” did not work.  Although I never considered voting for McCain since I did not believe that his policies would fulfill the needs of the American people, what sealed the deal for me was his selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate.  I had considerable difficulty in viewing her as next in line to become President.  Of course, when I look at the current group of Republican candidates for President, all of them are interested in the same thing-to help the rich get richer at the expense of the middle-class.

Since Obama’s election, Republicans, right-wing radical talk show hosts and others have called him everything but Mr. President.  In spite of the mess left him by the Bush Administration, over the past two and a half years, Obama has accomplished more for the American people than recent Republican administrations in their full terms.  Here is a list of what I believe are some of his major accomplishments:

  • Appointing two Supreme Court Justices: Obama added two Democrats to the Supreme Court, replacing two moderate Democrats in the process. If McCain had won the presidency instead, we would now be looking at an unbalanced Supreme Court with six conservatives and only three liberal judges – a balance that would have been in place for many years. Obama added diversity with filling the two vacancies with women and by including the nation’s first Hispanic.  Even with the addition of two new appointments, the court’s majority is still conservative and recently made one of the worst legal opinions ever brought before it.  This case, Citizens United, classifies corporations as people thereby allowing them to make unlimited contributions in political races.  For example, over 40 million dollars were spent in Wisconsin just to benefit four Republican state senators who were recalled.  Corporations now have the legal authority to “buy elections.”
  • Passing Universal Healthcare: Obama accomplished what no prior President could by expanding health coverage to 32 million more Americans while simultaneously reducing the deficit by an estimated $1.3 trillion over the next 20 years. It is now illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, it caps out of pocket expenses when people get sick, it helps shift our medical system’s focus to preventative care, it attempts to lower health care costs by forcing all Americans to have medical insurance and pay their fair share, it increases competition by creating marketplace exchanges to make it easier for small businesses and those without insurance to shop and compare plans, it funds co-ops which can offer competitive insurance plans and provide further competition for insurance companies, it allows insurance companies to offer plans across state borders further increasing the supply of competitive plans, it provides funding, infrastructure, and support to automate, digitize, and unify the country’s outdated medical information system reducing system-wide costs, it sets up an independent commission of doctors and medical experts to identify and root out medical system waste, fraud, and abuse and includes many pieces of reform that will reduce the most wasteful medical system practices, and children can remain on their parents health plan until age 26.  Of course, all Republican Presidential Candidates want to repeal this most important law for the American people.  It’s ironic that all members of congress currently enjoy Government sponsored health care and if a Republican captured the Presidency in 2012, that person would also enjoy Government sponsored health care.
  • Passing Financial industry reform: This legislation attempts to correct those industry issues that helped create the current economic recession. It provides a mechanism that allows the government to break apart large financial institutions that threaten the economy.  It creates, among other things, a Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection to help protect citizens from unscrupulous practices and prevents banks from engaging in risky financial instruments such as credit derivatives.  All of the Republican Presidential candidates do not like this legislation and want to repeal it.  In fact, the current Senate Republicans have held up Obama’s nominee to head this important agency because they detest implementing laws and regulations that interfere with the banking industry from making more money.
  • Preventing a 2nd Great Depression: Based on the recommendations of some of the best economic minds around him, Obama implemented policies to save America’s 2 major car manufacturers from going out of business and passed the largest economic stimulus bill in the nation’s history that saved or created almost 3 million jobs.  As I wrote about in a previous blog on Republican Hypocrisy, every Republican voted against the Stimulus but after the Democrats passed the legislation, many of them sent letters and placed telephone calls to the Obama Administration Cabinet Secretaries seeking Stimulus funds for their districts and even took credit for receiving the proceeds.
  • The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009:  On January 29, 2009, President Obama signed into law this bill that amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 stating that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination resets with each new discriminatory paycheck. The law was a direct answer to the Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., a U. S. Supreme Court decision holding that the statute of limitations for presenting an equal-pay lawsuit begins on the date that the employer makes the initial discriminatory wage decision, not on the date of the most recent paycheck, as a lower court had ruled.
  • Lifting Ban on Gays in the Military:  On December 22, 2010, President Obama signed into law legislation lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the military, repealing a 17-year-old policy and fulfilling a campaign promise.  The law will “strengthen our national security and uphold the ideals that our fighting men and women risk their lives to defend,” Obama said during a signing ceremony at the Interior Department.  Members of the armed forces make numerous sacrifices to serve, he said. “None of them should have to sacrifice their integrity as well.”   Sen. John McCain (R. Ariz.), a staunch opponent of repeal, called the Senate vote a “sad day” for the military. “I hope that when we pass this legislation that we will understand that we are doing great damage, and we could possibly …harm the battle effectiveness which is so vital to the survival of our young men and women in the military,” he said.  Regardless of McCain’s criticism, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has officially been repealed.  Had McCain been elected President, this legislation would never have passed and thousands of Americans would have been deprived of their civil rights.


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