Troop Draw-down: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/06/iraq-troop-withdrawal-reducing-forces_n_950576.html
A reduction in the number of troops involved in the Iraq war is the fulfillment of an Obama campaign promise as well as a step in the right direction both in terms of money and human life. We are simply wasting massive amounts of lives and money on a pointless war in Iraq thus any reduction in resources dedicated towards Iraq cannot hurt. The counter-argument is that terrorists from Iraq will come over here and harm us if we don't take the fight to them, but this view has been proven to be false. In my (and most of the country's) opinion the fewer people we harm over there in our war, the fewer terrorists are created to attack us over here. We are wasting resources, not to mention killing huge numbers of people, in order to fight a phantom threat which we are in fact creating through our own actions. Leaving Iraq has little to no downside and many potential positives.
Jobs Stimulus: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/06/obama-jobs-plan_n_951294.html
With the tea party wave of 2010 an unusually large fissure in the political debate between Washington and the rest of the country has opened; Washington only wants to talk about cutting the deficit while the rest of the country wants the massive unemployment problem in the US addressed. Obama's last stimulus package is much maligned but in truth it was one of the primary reasons why the USA (and potentially the world due to the economic domino effect) has merely terrible employment numbers rather than fatal ones. If you think that the economy is bad now, you don't even want to think about what it would look like if the last round of stimulus didn't save several million jobs and the auto bailout didn't save the last manufacturing base of the USA. The deficit debate is simply a smokescreen by the right wing to obfuscate the issues and make Obama look bad. The Republicans should look back at the great depression if only to see the effects of retraction and cutting government spending during a recession. Every legitimate economist knows that cutting spending during a recession only destroys jobs and thus the purchasing power of the people. With a lower purchasing power, demand for goods falls and the "death spiral" ensues. Despite being the party of "fiscal responsibility" (read: fantasy economics), the Republicans don't seem to see the parallels between their actions and those of Hoover's during the depression era, and thus could doom the rest of us to repeat those mistakes.
While these stories show a good progression towards the left by Obama, as well as two very solid policy choices by his administration, there is still the massive hurdle of the House and the smaller but still significant senate blockage. While I believe Obama is far too conciliatory and calm given what is thrown at him, he isn't entirely to blame for the lack of left wing progress in politics today; there are several major factors in Washington that mitigate Obama's lack of liberal policy choices.
- A largely overlooked fact is that Obama and the executive branch cannot write, push through, or vote on any legislation. The separation of powers denies the executive branch the ability to make law outside of war and matters of treaties (not that Bush got that memo). If you want to complain about the lach of progressive legislation, talk to your congressman or senator because they hold far more blame than the president.
- The current Republicans are both willing and able to blow up the country if they don't get what they want. Obama and the Democrats actually care about the country and sometimes have to be the SWAT member who non-lethally shoots the hostage in order to save the hostage's life. Blame the hostage takers and VOTE even if you don't care much for the Democrats.
- Obama and the Democrats have actually achieved a record number of positive things in the past several years. The economy has overshadowed everything else, but the Obama presidency has actually been very successful: Instituting the first national healthcare plan, saving the US economy from total destruction, killing Bin Laden, appointing two very intelligent supreme court justices, and promoting civil right legislation are several of the highlights of the Obama presidency which will live on after the eventual economic recovery.
- There is record gridlock, corruption and willful ignorance in at least half of Washington today. (guess which half)
All in all, these are two good steps in the right direction but they are a long way from passed. We the People must push our representatives to do what we know is best for us and not their political prospects or donor' bottom lines.
The Sarcastic Liberal