Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

UPDATE: GOP leaves social issues behind on new council

April 29, 2009

 

Virginia Representative Eric Cantor is said to be the mastermind behind the new GOP initiative, National Council for a New America

Virginia Representative Eric Cantor is said to be the mastermind behind the new GOP initiative, National Council for a New America

UPDATE (4/30): Fresh off Ben Smith’s blog on Politico, the new GOP council created by Eric Cantor, called the National Council for a New America, has released the set of issues they will be speaking about in the town-hall meetings across the nation in the upcoming weeks. The list includes the economy, health care, education, energy and national security. Notably missing are the social issues that have been a problem for Republicans, like same-sex marriage, abortion and immigration. I would have to say this is a fabulous decision by Cantor, showing the signs of a young, promising decision by one of the new leaders of the Republican Party. While many people agree with the GOP on these social issues, just as many people disagree on the left and both sides are prone to getting heated and defiant on these issues. The point of this council is to listen to all people, which includes conservatives, liberals and, most importantly, independents. Social issues are not very high on the priority list of the majority of Americans. They want to hear the solutions that the GOP has to the economy, energy independence and health care. If the GOP can regain the trust of Americans on these issues, they will be able to talk about social issues at a later date. The council needs to be able to not only come up with alternatives to the liberal agenda taking place in Washington right now, but they need to present them in an articulate, simple fashion. At the same time, Republicans cannot come across as disagreeing with the president just to disagree. Obama is still three times as popular as any important GOP politician so Obama will get the benefit of the doubt from the people if the council members present anything less than stellar ideas. Cantor understands this and has made a wise decision to focus on the relevant issues. 

ORIGINAL STORY (4/29): After taking shots from President Obama, seeing a veteran Republican senator defect to the Democratic party and basically seeing their image and named destroyed, the GOP looks like they have finally stood up and began their attempt to recreate the Republican brand. With the full report coming from CNN’s John King, the GOP will announce Thursday their intentions to began an initiative called the National Council for a New America. This council will include a “National Panel of Experts”, which include some of the biggest names in the Republican Party.

 

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour will all be members of the panel, as well as Arizona Senator John McCain and former Florida Givernor Jeb Bush, brother of former President George W. Bush. The panel will hold town-hall meetings across the nation with the America people to listen to them and reconnect with voters, as well as pass on legitimate alternative solutions promoted by the GOP. The panel will report to the Republican congressional leaders, including House Minority Whip Eric Cantor. Cantor is said to be the mastermind of this project.

Will this be the start of the Republican Party’s movement to reshape its image? Will it be effective? How will Democrats respond? I am looking forward to the official announcement of this panel and how it will affect Washington.

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Recap of the Obama conference

April 29, 2009

 

President Barack Obama at tonight's prime-time press conference

President Barack Obama at tonight's prime-time press conference

Although most of the questions went as expected and there was not much of outright significance that was said, the prime-time press conference for President Obama was a very interesting display of Obama’s idea of where the country lies and what he expects from it in the coming years. Obama started off talking about the growing concerns on swine flu, simply instructing Americans to do simple things like wash your hands, cover your mouth while coughing and staying home from work and school if you are sick. Obama, in his always calm, comforting demeanor, told the American people that everything the government could do to combat the illness was being done and even gave credit to the Bush administration (gasp!) for doing a good job of building up resources to fight this illness. Obama had no plans of quarantining Mexico, even though many believe that is where swine flu originated from.

 

While the conference got off to a rather subdued start, it took conservatives’ favorite reporter, Jake Tapper of ABC News to ask the tough questions. Tapper was able to elicit a straight-forward condemnation of the Bush administration’s enhanced interrogation policies from Obama, specifically labeling waterboarding as torture and something that America will no longer participate in under his watch. Obama made the strange analogy of Churchill not torturing WWII prisoners while London was bombed to “smithereens”, because it was not good for the character of Britain. I am curious to hear if Americans would really care if CIA interrogators got a little tougher with prisoners while our nation was being bombed left and right and civilians were dying.

Obama also said that the same information could have been extracted from detainees using other methods. Obama offered no specifics of how this would have been done and conveniently ignores the fact that the memos state that every other interrogation method had been used and Khaled Sheikh Mohammed would reveal nothing. Another reason Obama is against waterboarding is that it was a recruiting tool for al-Qaeda to establish how evil Americans were and that it damaged us in the view of people around the world. Al-Qaeda did not know about waterboarding before 9/11. Terrorists didn’t know about waterboarding when they attacked the U.S.S. Cole. Waterboarding was not on their minds when countless other terrorist attacks took place around the world. Al-Qaeda operatives now know how far CIA interrogators will go to get information from them. Why will they ever give up information now?

With the defection of Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter to the Democratic Party, Obama was able to get in a shot at the Republican Party, saying “Simply opposing our position on every front is probably not a good political strategy,” going on to mention that the American people voted for him and Democrats in November. The thing is, poll numbers clearly show his policies are far less popular than he is. Americans voted for Obama and his image in November, not his policies. Obama’s articulation and majestic way of speaking was able to seduce many independent voters, as well as the fact that Obama was not President Bush or a Republican, which had their identities and image ruined in the media. In regards to the Republican Party opposing every one of Obama’s policies, it is hard for conservatives to go along with the most far-left president in our nation’s history. Republicans are betting that if they continue to stand tall to Obama and stick to their principles, they will come out looking great when these economic policies fail to resurrect our economy. It is a very risky maneuver, one that Arlen Specter wanted no part of. At the same time, it seems to be the only option. Republicans still won’t make any headway going toe-to-toe with Obama because the American people still believe in him, but it might not be that way forever.

Obama continues to promise that we will see economic progress because of his policies, pointing out that 150,000 jobs have already been created because of his stimulus bill. How does he have the ability to measure that statistic? Where are we getting these numbers from and how do we know it is the stimulus package that did this? He will continue to preach for patience for Americans, but it won’t last forever. Obama has wagered that expanding the role of government will appeal to people and help our economy, but he has said that he will withdraw the government from the operations of car company GM as soon as possible. I will have to believe it when I see it. Although he models himself after Lincoln, Obama is far more similar to FDR. Both believe that the government needs to be large to help people and that spending money is the way to get out of a recession. While many credit FDR’s plan with getting us out of the Great Depression, many economists argue that it actually lengthened the depression and that industrial expansion due to WWII got us out of the Depression. 

Overall, Obama had a typical Obama performance. He flowed in his opening statements and he just sounds intelligent and confident, something the American people want right now. If his economic plans don’t start producing results, however, Americans might start looking in a different direction. Political power is something that can change very quickly in Washington. How much patience will Americans have with Obama before they look for a different kind of change?