On January 20′TH of 2009, President Barack Obama was sworn into office as the forty-fourth President of the United States. At that time, The Onion, an online satirical news outlet opined with the following headline: “Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job.” How right they were! Prior to this President being sworn into office, the economy shed nearly 3.5 million jobs in the last six months of the Bush administration alone, and continued losing nearly 3.4 million jobs during the first six months of this President’s term; something he could not be blamed for since his policies had not even been fully implemented. In addition, the housing market was in crisis, the automotive industry was in need of financial assistance with no private equity firms able to assist, our Country was engaged in a War in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden was still this Country’s most wanted criminal for his planning and involvement of the 9/11 attacks , the Al-Quaeda network was fully operational, and just eight weeks into this President’s term, former Governor Mitt Romney appeared on Fox News telling the nation how the “President’s policies were failing America. ” Yet, the former Governor never once stated during this interview, precisely what it was that HE would have done differently, or how HE would have handled what has been described by the President and economists alike as the greatest economical disaster since The Great Depression. Heidi Shierholz, an economist from the liberal Economic Policy Institute states: “Regardless of political leanings, it is not ambiguous that Obama inherited a labor market in free fall.”
Despite this, our Country was treated to nothing but a steady diet of lies, myths, rumors and false allegations of a personal nature against the President by the likes of Rupert Murdoch’s now infamous GOP ally, Fox News, and other conservatives radio “talking heads” in this Country. Forget whether the allegations were true, (they weren’t), and forget that the typical response from an American electorate towards a newly elected President inheriting this sort of mess, should have mirrored that which we all witnessed on that fateful day when our Country was attacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001. Surely you recall the moment when we all sat in front of our television sets only to observe the United States House of Representatives standing in solidarity on the steps in front of the Capital, singing God Bless America? So, what changed? Why is it that the GOP did not rally around this President, supporting his initiatives in the spirit of creating a “more perfect Union” versus remaining silent as the personal attacks mounted against the President? While we may all have our own theories attempting to explain the GOP’S behavior, the reality is this: The GOP simply sat on the sidelines consistently criticizing the President, versus working together with him in an effort to make conditions in our country more tolerable. Mitt Romney, who stated in his acceptance speech during this year’s Republican National Convention that “he wanted this President to succeed because he wanted America to succeed,” was no better. In fact, he began raising funds for his bid for President, according to several sources, the very day the President was being sworn in. Does this really sound like a man wanting the President to succeed? Hardly!
And what about the more outspoken individuals, such as Rush Limbaugh, the Kingpin of the conservative cause, telling the country, “I hope he fails,” when commenting about the newly elected first Black President? Or, what about Michael Savage, G. Gordon Liddy, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and the entire host of other conservative radio talk show hosts? What did these folks contribute towards solving the problems of our day other than perpetuating the same conservative myths, such as; “The President’s Birth Certificate is a forgery,” or, “The President is taking our Country down the road towards socialism,” or, “The President is indoctrinating our children in camps,” or, “The President wasn’t born in the United States, therefore his presidency is null and void,” or, “The President is a Muslim, anti-capitalist, who is out to destroy our nation,” and the list goes on ad nauseum. Did the GOP speak out about these lies and myths? No! They sat on their rear ends and instead of calling for calm in the midst of the storm they allowed these word prostitutes to continue on wrecking havoc on our electorate, consistently providing deflection for their true agenda; making this President a one-term President.
Lest you are missing where I am headed with this, let me make it clear: The GOP did absolutely nothing but obstruct this President from the outset, did absolutely nothing to quiet the voices of those spreading lies and rumors about the personal character of the President, while consistently criticizing each and every single policy the man attempted to implement. Adding insult to injury: Now the GOP not only believes, but expects this electorate to reward this behavior, by providing their nominee, Mitt Romney, with the White House, despite their ignoring the will of the people as 52% of this electorate cast their vote for Barack Obama during the 2008 election. Any other President handed this situation, would have garnered the full support of both parties, if only in an effort to bring relief to a frightened electorate experiencing financial calamity. However, due to their lust for power and control, coupled with the outright obstructionism their party engaged in during these past four years, seems to me at least, that the candidate this Country chooses should all come down to a matter of principle! As a psychologist, I have learned that one does not reward poor or inappropriate behavior, lest one expects to see this behavior repeated! That is, casting a vote for Mitt Romney for President today, is doing nothing more than reinforcing the GOP’S obstructionist behavior, their sense of entitlement and control, while in the process ignoring the very will of “We the People,” which the GOP claims to be so concerned with. How can the GOP make such a claim when they have placed their own self-interest as a party over our Country; blocking every single effort to create the hope and change this President promised our country?
Despite this, the President still managed to take an economy which was bleeding jobs for the first six months of his term, while providing this country with 34 consecutive months of private-sector, non-farming job growth. Certainly, as this President makes clear: The unemployment rate in this country is not acceptable, however to deny the very reality that things have improved is to either ignore the factual evidence provided by the United States Bureau of Labor statistics, or to buy into the further myths and lies promoted on Fox News, by the likes of Jack Welch, implying the administration is manipulating the numbers. Of course, Rupert Murdoch’s empire is not always known for its journalistic integrity, but then again, this is the stuff that sells and conservatives eat it up as though it were candy! Forget the fact that Fox News anchors have absolutely no problem citing citing the exact same Bureau when the numbers support their argument that “the President’s policies have failed America.” Or, how about where the Stock Market was on the day this President was sworn in? According to my memory, the market hovered around 7000 points, yet today it consistently hovers on a daily basis at nearly 13,000 points.
Ask any conservative what they attribute this improvement to, and they are quick to deflect off the topic by arguing that the economy is no better than the day this President took office. How about this: If the economy is no better than the day this President took office, and the Stock Market reflects 13,000 points, while corporate profits sit at an all time historical high, then why do these conservatives continue to argue for a supply-side or trickle down economical model? Furthermore, if the economy is truly not on the mend, how do conservatives explain the fact that consumer confidence continues to improve, or that the housing market seems to be stabilizing? Sadly, they have no explanations other than to deflect back to the same old portrayals of how “this President simply does not understand the basics of American economic policy,” or they quickly pivot to the accumulating debt problem the country is facing.
Yet, what these same conservatives neglect to recall, is how the Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH), and the President reached a tentative agreement by their shaking each other’s hand during the debt-ceiling debacle, much to the chagrin of progressives due to the President placing everything on the table, including Medicare and Social Security, as a way to reduce the debt in our country, in exchange for the Bush tax cuts to expire for only those people earning over $250,000 per year. And yet, we all know how that deal ended, don’t we? Once again, instead of doing what was in the best interest for the Country, the GOP began accusing the President of “engaging in class warfare,” and “engaging in wealth redistribution.” But let’s be honest here folks: All governments engage in the redistribution of wealth. The only question that begs an answer is how do we want to redistribute the wealth we have? Do we want our Country, particularly the GOP, to be held hostage to a man named Grover Norquist, who persuaded nearly all GOP representatives to sign his pledge to never raise taxes? Perhaps even more paradoxical is how this party has nearly begun the process of beatification and subsequent canonization of former President Ronald Reagan, while neglecting to remember how he raised the debt-ceiling eleven times during his presidency. The current President attempted to do so ONE TIME, and all the GOP could do was to engage in moaning and groaning, with many in the GOP trying to convince the electorate that the “debt-ceiling was a myth,” arguing we could allow the deadline to come and go with no ill consequences. But ill consequences there were as Moody’s downgraded our credit rating as a result of this debacle and look what the GOP did then: They blamed the President! And what about this President’s other accomplishments such as issuing the order to proceed with the mission to take care of the previous Administration’s problem; Osama Bin Laden? According to conservatives, the President does not even deserve praise for this one act alone, despite the Joint Chief’s confirmation that it “was a gutsy move, and despite everyone else in the room being against it, the President issued the order” (Paraphrased). What about the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010? Despite the Bill not being perfect in every way, it has been ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court, and it has been a goal of nearly every single President to reform health care since Harry Truman. This President made it happen! Once again: It may not be perfect, but many experts in the health care industry argue it is a move in the “right direction!” However, the truth of the matter is that it seems irrelevant as to what this President has accomplished in his first term; according to conservatives. Perhaps the false information clouds their thinking, but the reality is this: The current President enjoys a higher legislative success rate than Lyndon B. Johnson, who experienced a 93.3% record compared to the current President having a 96.3% legislative success rate. Simply put: The facts don’t lie! This President has accomplished a great deal! Maybe his opposition cannot see this because they do not see HIS accomplishments as THEIRS!
Let’s face it folks: No politician is perfect! Moreover, there is not one single politician who implements policy just the way we would like! The reason for this is due to politicians being human, and we all know human beings are not perfect. But for the GOP to engage in “character assassination” in the midst of our economic storm, while the President was doing everything within his power to create a “more perfect Union,” should send a strong signal to our “prejudice detectors.” Case in point: Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), held an impromptu meeting with the Senate minority, several days BEFORE the President was even sworn in. His reason? The incoming President had a popularity rating of 79%, with several other polls reflecting an over 80% popularity rating. McConnell’s response? He and his GOP Senate minority developed a new “procedural” voting process requiring sixty votes versus the standard fifty-one in order to pass legislation. McConnell’s strategy was simple: “Lest we be perceived by the electorate as agreeing with this President on anything, or bipartisan, let us require sixty votes for ANY legislation the President supports” (Paraphrased). Of course, at the same time, the GOP was also engaged in doing whatever it took to block the new Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken from being seated lest the President had his sixtieth vote. Question: How did McConnell know specifically WHAT this President would support economically, when the GOP admitted on record consistently throughout the election cycle that he “ran a generic campaign due to his hope and change message?” Answer: They did not know, nor would they care as was made abundantly clear by not only McConnell’s admission of the new procedural voting process, as reported in the New York Times and confirmed by Senator Lyndsay Graham (R-SC).
People hired by the likes of Karl Rove, as reported in a “leaked email” to the Daily Kos reflects the deepest hatred and sentiments this party has toward the President by Karl Rove allegedly encouraging his “internet operatives,” to go to “progressive or liberal leaning sites,” articulating their grave disappointment with the President, despite their supposedly voting for him in the election, only to be let down by his broken promises.” In addition, in that correspondence sent by Rove to his paid “operatives,” he encourages each of them to falsely state how they voted for the President, then to make any accusation (the more bizarre; the better), while conveying how disappointed they now were with the President.
Perhaps, even worse, Robert Draper, shares in his book, Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives, that while the President and First Lady were dancing their first dance at the President’s Inauguration, a band of GOP leaders, including Mitt Romney’s Vice-Presidential pick, Paul Ryan (R-WI), pollster Frank Luntz, right-wing journalist Fred Barnes, and Newt Gingrich, all met at a steakhouse, less than one mile from the Inaugural Ball, to also develop a strategy to take back the White House. Please note: Not one single actor in this unbelievable non-fictional drama has disputed Draper’s account. Newt Gingrich, former GOP Presidential candidate stated at the conclusion of that meeting these words: “You will remember this day. You’ll remember this as the day the seeds of 2012 were sown.” Pause for just a moment here and reflect on this last statement because it is precisely this issue which I believe makes the strongest argument as to why one should not cast a ballot for their GOP nominee. If this party can get away with ignoring the will of the people, through obstructionist tactics, such as they have engaged in, “We the People,” are placing our very democracy in grave danger.
Hopefully, you are asking yourself right about now, what all of this has to do with Mitt Romney? In order to garner the GOP nomination, Mitt Romney pandered to THIS very crowd by not only refusing to dispel the myths these radical conservatives held, but by perpetuating these very myths himself during his campaign. Whether he was accusing the President of “engaging in a one year apology tour,” or criticizing the President’s foreign policies only to end up agreeing with nearly every single foreign policy the President implemented during the third debate, or, whether he was criticizing the President for bailing out General Motors and Chrysler, only to turn right back around indicating the “President followed my advice,” while ultimately attempting to take credit for the auto bailout, which he strongly opposed in his Op-Ed piece published in the New York Times and during various interviews, Romney demonstrated throughout the President’s term and during his campaign that he was no different than the radical conservatives in his party. Perhaps the clearest example is how Romney at his last rally before attending the Republican National Convention uttered the following to his supporters: “As many of you know, I am from here! Many of you know me. You don’t have to worry about me being able to give you a copy of my birth certificate. You know I have one” (Paraphrased). He made this choice because he realized that in order to secure the GOP nomination, this group could not be ignored.
This reflects precisely the manner in which Romney reaches decisions, through a business model, analyzing every action through a cost-benefit analysis. But please note: Engaging in this process for decision-making not only reveals something about the character of the individual while providing a glimpse of the candidate’s judgment. That is, individuals relying on the cost-benefit analysis model for their decisions have one interest; self-preservation. Extrapolate what you will from this, however, to me it demonstrates that Romney is willing to say whatever it takes in order for HIM to WIN, when the focus of an individual occupying the presidency must be on the people whom he or she serves; “We the People!” Put another way: Romney had every opportunity to show this electorate that he was different, a leader, one who could steer this GOP, his party back towards some sense of moderation, but instead, he chose the path of least resistance with the greatest payoff (or bottom line in business speak). He literally co-opted the existing hatred, disdain, and utter lack of respect this President is due, using THIS as his calling card throughout his campaign! His entire campaign slogan could very easily have been; “I am not Obama.”
But simply telling the electorate who you are not, especially when you are intelligent enough to understand the difficulties this President encountered upon being sworn in, while realizing how many myths and lies have been spread as a result of not only Fox News, but nearly every single conservative radio talk show host leaking down to the electorate, with the only goal of obtaining the residency of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is not a sufficient argument as to why “We the People,” ought to cast our ballot for you! Simply put, Romney has failed to define himself while utilizing his cost-benefit analysis model of decision making, embracing whatever myth or lie du jour of the day was being used on any particular day against the current President, with the sole goal of benefiting himself. In business, there is an old saying that managers do things right, whereas leaders do the right things right, no matter what the cost. Clearly, Romney falls into the category of the former while President Obama falls into the category of the latter. Sure it is safe to simply parrot what you know the base of your party believes however, while there were clear risks involved for Romney to depart from the myths and lies, he very well could have restored the image of the GOP!
Yet, despite Nate Silver’s predictive model affording Romney a mere 9% probability of winning the electoral college, he continues to remain close to the President according to polling data. How is this possible? This, especially taking into consideration that Romney has embraced nearly every position known to man, has offered absolutely no specifics as to what he would do differently than the President other than create 12,000 jobs in four years, (which Moody predicts will already occur due to policies the current President has implemented), has agreed with the President on nearly every aspect of foreign policy despite his previous criticisms, and his now infamous 47% video where he accuses nearly one-half of this country of being “dependent on government,” the question as to how he remains so close in the polls persists.
Here is but one plausible among many explanations: During the 2008 election cycle, Fox News, along with several conservative commentators placed highly disparaging commentary involving character assassination of then candidate Barack Obama. These lies, rumors, myths, and misinformation were a blatant attempt for the GOP to win the 2008 election. Perhaps the most noble man in all of this was Senator John McCain who responded to a woman at one of his rallies accusing the President of being “Arab,” responded with “No Ma’am! No he isn’t! He is a good family man who simply disagrees with me on several issues.” However the damage had already been done, and instead of these metaphorical flames of character assassination being extinguished, they persisted due to a phenomenon known to social psychologists as “confirmation bias.” That is, people who fall victim to this phenomenon, continue to seek out only that information which “confirms” their previously held beliefs, while ignoring any other relevant information which has the potential to change their minds.
This explains why it seems so baffling to progressives that despite fact-checking organizations debunking these lies, rumors or myths, conservatives continue to perpetuate them. Simply put: There can be no reasoning with conservatives any longer. They have “chosen” to believe whatever it is Romney is selling (which is nothing other than “I am not Obama”), along with the conservative radio talk show hosts and Fox News versus the truth. Conservatives simply do not want to hear it anymore. For them, as they go to the polls today, their vote will be cast due to prejudice, perhaps not racial prejudice but prejudice nonetheless. Take a closer look at that word lest you believe I am being hyperbolic here. Prejudice simply means to pre-judge. How else does one explain how Romney who has revealed very little about himself to this electorate remains so close in the polling data to this President? Try asking a conservative precisely what Romney stands for, and most likely, you will hear the same old stories which were circulated when candidate Obama originally ran back in 2008, prior to winning the election! Don’t believe me? Take a look at the eight minute video I shall provide each of you with at the end of my article today! Then, do me a favor and ask yourself the following question: Why am I voting for Mitt Romney for President of the United States? If your answer is remotely close to any of the reasons provided by these voters at the Romney rally in Ohio, or you find yourself defaulting over to the typical, “The President does not share my values,” then you very well could be a victim of the phenomenon I just shared with you!
Me? I am voting for the re-election of our President for two very basic reasons! First, I KNOW who the man is! . Second, I shall vote for this President to be re-elected for a second term premised on principle alone! I utterly refuse to hand the keys over to a party who did nothing to silence the consistent lies being purported against our leader, while doing nothing to assist him in making our country better. How about you? Former Governor Romney has offered me only one reason to vote for him: “He is not the President!” THAT is about the only thing I find myself agreeing with the former governor on! He surely is NOT!