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April 18, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

President failing to show leadership

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In Eugene Robinson’s column in Sunday’s paper on President Barack Obama winning the argument about what government can and should do, he writes that Republicans want to destroy government. This is the kind of extremism that hampers dialogue on the difficult issues our country faces.

It seems reasonable that people can differ on what is the responsibility of government and what is the responsibility of the individual. Obama is “winning the argument” because there are more voters who accept his premise that they aren’t responsible for their actions and that the government will take care of them. Giving people a pass on the consequences of their actions may win votes, but the consequences of “winning” this argument will be harmful to the country in the long run.

Probably my greatest disappointment with the president is that he has had the opportunity to exhibit real leadership but seems completely uninterested in raising any painful truths.

For example, one of the obvious causes of our education problems, poverty and violence is children being brought up in single-parent families.

The president could exhibit leadership by taking a strong public position that people should have a real commitment (ideally marriage) to each other before having children. His proposal for an additional year of early-childhood education can’t hurt, but as extensive studies of Head Start have shown, it may not do much to help.

Since pandering to win votes isn’t necessary for the president anymore, why not be honest about one of the main underlying causes of poverty and violence and try to create real and lasting change? Unfortunately, the president has mainly shown interest in winning arguments that involve telling people what they want to hear.

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  1. His legacy can be that he saved Medicare and Social Security from bankruptcy. The trustees, who are the experts on these matters, say the first will be depleted and insolvent in 10 years and the second in 20. Can President Obama keep it from happening to the satisfaction of the trustees? Not at the current pace. The clock is ticking and the President is burning daylight.


  2. "The president could exhibit leadership by taking a strong public position that people should have a real commitment (ideally marriage) to each other before having children"

    Dave, you're just not paying attention on this issue. The President has strongly raised it numerous times and to paraphrase has said it takes a man to raise a child not to father one. Do a little research!

  3. Dave Newton, of Las Vegas,

    It appears your comments are your opinion and not based on facts. Most of the opposition to President Obama is emotional rooted in long standing practices deep in bias and prejudice. This is evident in the actions and words coming from those in the opposition to items and issues they once championed and defended. When the President has agree with them this is no longer the case.

    The extreme actions and words coming from those in opposition to the President are becoming common. With the media being fully acceptance without question or a meaningful inquiry. So it is not uncommon to hear comments like the ones Mr. Newton has posted.

    This comes back to a basic problem in current day America. With so much information available, free access, many Americas are ignorant of the realities facing America. Many refuse to believe the actions and words of our elected officials. Many people rely on one to two sources of information. Locked in to cable channels, or local news, refusing to seek other sources, or just not knowing, the communication among our citizens is severely lacking.

    So, how does one have a meaningful debate when one side does not have the facts, or refuses to acknowledge the facts? Is the Bubble becoming the excuse and the reason why people are ignorant to the realities? Being ignorant does not mean one is stupid or lacking intelligence. This mean one is lacking information; needing more information to descern fact from fiction.

    There are many, many other sources that will provide clarity and validation to a point of view. Why aren't we seeking the facts? Why aren't seeking the truth?

  4. This letter makes no sense. To prove it, look back at President Obama and his administration and their interplay with the Tea/Republican Party so far.

    What has the Tea/Republican Party done so far to enact any legislation to further America along the path to economic recovery? I'll answer that. Nothing, nada, zip, nyet. They have done more to hinder any type of recovery.

    Name one piece of legislation that furthers our efforts towards rebuilding infrastructure, providing jobs for the American people, furthering the plight of the middle class, and offer any help for the poor.




    Romney's 47 percent comments were laughed at by the fat cats in that dinner in Florida. But not only him, but the entire Tea/Republican Party thinks like that.

    I'm so glad this President has woke up. The days of offering a hand to the other side of the aisle are pretty much over with. When it gets slapped aside constantly and you get snubbed for even the most mundane, routine legislation, you eventually wake up.

    It's way past time to destroy this utter joke of a Tea/Republican Party. They are simply incapable of leading and governing anymore.

    I can't wait for the entire Tea/Republican Party to revert to en masse playing the victim and act like the President is picking on them. Because once that happens, and there are clearcut inklings of that trend going on now, that means the Tea/Republican Party, as it is composed of nowadays, will be destroyed. Not from without. But from within.

    Don't get me wrong. Conservatism has its place in American society. But NOT this brand. It sorely lacks. Especially when there is an outright in the open civil war going on within their ranks.

    This President is showing leadership. He has to. Because the Tea/Republican Party is ripping themselves to pieces in their neverending quest to get to the right of not the country, but each other.

    As it goes along, they can blame the President all they want. But they really need to stand in front of a mirror and self-reflect. It's themselves. Nobody else.

  5. Jeff et al:

    Carmine's Law of Unintended Consequences is alive and well with Sequestration. In August 2011, when the Supercommittee's debt/deficit plan fell apart, the White House put forward the Sequestration Bill/Law. I believe that the President and his advisors sincerely believed the Sequestration Law would never go into effect. Primarily because of the defense cuts. Surprise surprise. It backfired and was overtaken by events.

    After getting slaughtered by the Democrats on tax increases WITH NO OFFSETTING SPENDING CUTS [really not cuts but slower increase in growth], the GOP realizes if it does absolutely nothing, the spending cuts become effective. Equally cutting defense and domestic spending for $85 Billion with more to come in the outyears. $1.2 Trillion to be exact.

    It's a lose lose for both the President and the GOP. But still a loss for President Obama and republicans are more than willing to accept the loss. Why? President Obama misjudged the GOP's hand and political play. At best, at best, the GOP and President will kick the can down the road and delay the Sequestration Law until September 30 or December 31.


  6. A few responses to the above comments:
    Jim, I've seen what the President has said on the topic and think it's fine. But this has not been a very visible item on his agenda over the past four years. My opinion is that it's a very important issue, he could have had much more influence on this if he wished to, and that it would benefit the country and the next generation of kids if he did.
    To those who assume that I support Republicans and/or Bush, my opinion is that the Republican establishment is more corrupt than the Democrats, although I don't have a positive impression of either. Both parties are complicit in maintaining a corrupt system. The point I was making is that Robinson's comment that Republicans want to destroy government is as extreme as anything you hear from the right. It closes off what seems to me to be an important and worthwhile discussion of personal vs. governmental responsibility.
    To those who assume my information comes from Fox, I generally watch CNN. And to those who assume I lack information, I'll point out that it doesn't automatically follow that anyone who disagrees with you is ill-informed.

  7. CarmineD; "Its a loss for President Obama, thus the Republicans are more than willing to accept the loss: In other words it is worth this alleged win even if it puts thousands of job, families and the country as s whole at serious risk. I am simply amazed at such a shallow view
    and lack of understanding of what sequester really means to America. I guess the comment by Colin fm Las Vegas is true-(THEY)-teaparty/republicans just DON'T CARE. They seem more interested in out foxing President Obama then the welfare of America.
    I do agree that no logical thinking person would ever believe the sequester would go thru- so yeah you/tea party can chuckle this time. Maybe it will be the finally straw that will help bring about the fall of this tea party blight on America. America will survive--we as a great nation have made mistakes in the paat, but the tea party mistake made in 2010 will not---at least let's hope.

  8. Leadership? That's asking a lot. How about honesty and/or follow through. He promised an end to bickering and finger pointing.....

  9. Future: I think I understand your point when you commented at 3:24 a.m. today that "The president crated <sic> and got the SEQUESTER <sic> passed and signed it and Campaigned <sic> on the sequester and won ".

    You are arguing that President Obama, leader of the modern Democratic Party, all by himself created, submitted to Congress, lobbied Congress to pass, and then signed an act that the Speaker of the House, a member of the opposition Republican Party, was happy with. To be more precise, John Boehner was directly quoted as saying "When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the white House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I'm pretty happy." See

    Personally, I have just one or two teeny doubts...

  10. "Get used to it. President Obama was reelected with 332 electoral votes and over 51% of the popular vote, just the first president since Eisenhower to win twice with over 51%. Four more years. Get used to it." - LastThroes

    That is factually incorrect, to put it mildly.

    Take a look at the election results for the years 1980, 1984, 1992 and 1996 here:

    Both Reagan and Clinton (the only two Presidents to win re-election since Eisenhower other than Obama) had far larger wins than Obama for both their first and second terms, especially in the Electoral College. And if you want to look at re-election margins then Nixon had a huge victory in 1974.

    Obama's re-election was a squeaker on the popular vote compared to every President to win re-election since Eisenhower. His Electoral College counts don't even come close to either of Reagan's terms, or Nixon's second term.

  11. Correction, Nixon also won re-election, but I was thinking in terms of Presidents who won with more than 51% of the vote the first time as well, which Nixon did not do. That was the criteria set forth by LastThroes.

    In all, three Presidents not counting Obama (Nixon, Reagan and Clinton) have won re-election since Eisenhower. All three have re-election numbers FAR larger than Obama does for margin of victory as measured by either popular vote or the Electoral College. Reagan and Clinton have first term election numbers that eclipse Obama as well.

  12. Another correction, make that 1972, not 1974, for Nixon's re-election.

  13. Actually, when you read what LastThroes wrote, he's factually correct about Obama being the first President since Eisenhower to win twice with over 51% of the popular vote.

    "Obama is the first president to achieve the 51 percent mark in two elections since Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, who did it in 1952 and 1956, and the first Democrat to do so since Franklin D. Roosevelt, who won four consecutive White House races. Roosevelt received 53.4 percent of the vote -- his lowest -- in his last race in 1944. "

    "Take a look at the election results for the years 1980..."

    Regan won with 50.7% of the popular vote, below 51%.


    Reagan won with 58.8% of the popular vote, but it was his first win over 51%.


    Clinton won with 43% of the popular vote, well below 51%. Clinton won with a plurality, not a majority.

    "...and 1996."

    Clinton won with 49.2% of the popular vote, below 51%. Clinton won re-election with a plurality, not a majority.


  14. I was looking at the US Government archives site. They only gave numbers for the winner and primary challenger.

    Setting that aside, the Electoral College numbers show much bigger wins for the others, including two of the biggest landslides in our history for a re-election.

  15. "I was looking at the US Government archives site. They only gave numbers for the winner and primary challenger."

    Yes, your comments were "factually incorrect, to put it mildly."

    "Reagan and Clinton have first term election numbers that eclipse Obama as well."

    2008: Obama won with 52.9% of the popular vote
    1992: Clinton won with 43% of the popular vote
    1980: Reagan won with 50.7% of the popular vote

    Given your recent letter to the editor attacking the Electoral College for awarding votes based on a winner-take-all basis, Jim, I find your sudden enthusiasm for its results to be very convenient.

  16. In case you people on the right haven't noticed, your party has gone completely off the rails. When Newt Gingrich is at odds with Karl Rove you know something is not well. Issues such as vaginal probes for women having abortions, to birth control, to denial of climate change, to giving up on science in general, along with a large list of others, has this current party completely out of step with reality. Such as this letter submitted by Mr. Newton. Which is why most of you went into shock when Obama beat Romney.

    You people have been calling Obama a marxist/socialist/nazi/Muslim/Kenyan for over six years, but yet most Americans don't buy into the BS. Why? Because some of us can tell the difference between fairy tales and reality. For example, Sharron Angle, Louie Gohmert and Michelle Bachmann said Sharia Law is being enacted in this country, more BS they read on some right wing blog. That is the root of the Republican Party as it stands, stupidity runs amok. You gravitate to a right wing communications bubble and are being fed lies. Are you people too stupid to know when you are being lied to, or too stupid because your hate interferes with reality? Just recently Ted Cruz (R-Texas) stated that Harvard is loaded with communists, the very school he graduated from. Cruz is a reincarnation of McCarthy, and that didn't end very well, did it? He also accused Chuck Hagel of taking funds from North Korea and Hamas, another report found on a right wing blog.

    This is a repeat of the days when the Jonh Birchers fought William F. Buckley, or should I say, the nut jobs versus the sane and stable Republicans. If this continues there is no way in hell this existing party will ever take the White House and there is a good possibility they will lose the House and more seats in the Senate. Proof positive is the recent list of losers speaking at the upcoming CPAC. As hard as you try to change spots to gain favor with voters, it's just not possible.

  17. Look at the Electoral College results, those were true landslides for Reagan (489 and 525), both elections, and for Nixon's re-election (520). Clinton also had respectable showings at 370 and 379 in his two elections.

    Obama's 332 for his re-election is mediocre.

    I am still a very strong fan of the Electoral College system. A big win there shows an across the board support for a candidate, whereas a smaller margin might be indicative of regional issues dividing the electorate.

  18. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  19. boftx - "I am still a very strong fan of the Electoral College system."

    A number of Republican controlled states are attempting to minipulate the system by redistricting and gerrymandering. If successful, we all can kiss the democratic process goodbye.

    By the way the popular vote shows a slightly different outcome than the electoral college.

  20. This writer believes that President Obama should take the public position that parents need to have a real commitment (ideally marriage) to each other.

    However, Obama already has done that. For example, just a few days ago I saw a TV clip of him saying that taking care of a child, not just having it, makes a man.

    Also, he is a role model for parents and husbands. His ACTIONS "speak" fidelity, commitment, and wisdom, not to mention his words/advice.

  21. "In other words it is worth this alleged win even if it puts thousands of job, families and the country as s whole at serious risk. I am simply amazed at such a shallow view
    and lack of understanding of what sequester really means to America." @ Roger Warrick

    Don't be amazed. It's called politics. It's 237 years old and still going strong.

    In all likelihood, the Sequester will be delayed to September 30 and/or December 31. Politicians are famous for inventing imagined crises and taking the electorate to the brink [think fiscal cliff] only to restore the status quo. Then ingratiate themselves with the people for their decisive actions. Nothing new. You may recall the President was playing golf this weekend with Tiger Woods while the Congress was on recess. Do you really think they were/are concerned?

  22. Vernos writes: "A number of Republican controlled states are attempting to manipulate the system by redistricting and gerrymandering. If successful, we all can kiss the democratic process goodbye."

    Vernos, you might be interested in the Letter to the Editor that boftx wrote a few months ago, calling for this very manipulation of the Electoral College:

    That's right, boftx was the author of that Letter and defended it even upon the realization that it would disproportionately benefit the GOP via gerrymandering. Boftx called for Nevada to adopt such a system.

    Back on topic of the original letter: President Obama has been a strong and vocal proponent of families of all stripes since taking office, as Pam and other commenters have noted.

  23. BTW Roger if anyone loses their jobs it will be Federal employees, likely in Washington DC. And they will actually get furloughed. Meaning they MAY lose a day's pay a pay period or a month for the rest of the fiscal year. Not lose their jobs. And truth be told, these Feds have been unaffected by the recession and downtown in the housing and job markets. DC Feds have been immune to the economic downturn that Americans all over the country have suffered through for the last 4-6 years.

    The counry spends about $10 Billion dollars a day. $85 Billion in the scheme of things is about a week's worth of of spending reductions, not cuts, spread over 7 months.


  24. "If it causes the Great Recession V2 who shoulders the blame on election day 2014?" @ Jeff

    President Obama owns the economy now. He got his tax increases and payroll taxes restored to pre-Bush 2 holiday. It's his. If the economy tanks, and it may, President Obama gets the blame in 2014 and 2016. Count on it. And think about it: If Hillary is the nominee [and she won't be], do you really think President Obama will care if the economy does go south. No. He's not running again.


  25. "Congradulations to Obama for selling the Sequester to America"


    You disregard the fact that 174 congressional Republicans voted for the sequester as part of 2011's Budget Control Act. John Boehner and Paul Ryan touted the plan saying it was a great idea. You also ignore the fact that just about anything Obama wanted they filibustered. You can't have it both ways, but that seems typical of the right nowadays.

    One day you'll wake up and come to the realization you are living in an alternate universe. I wonder, will it be at that point you go into culture shock?

    I would not be surprised if Democrats take the White House, Senate and House of Representatives in 2016. Americans are watching Republicans making complete fools of themselves.

  26. @ksand99,

    Thanks for that link, I missed that one. When it comes to senators I always wondered why less populated areas such as Alaska or Montana carried the same weight as California, Texas or New York. I believe that is unfair and the popular vote should carry more weight than the electoral college. We wouldn't have the stalemate existing in the House if votes were treated differently because millions more voted for Democrats over Republicans in this last cycle.

  27. "PRESIDENT OBAMA already has a legacy.

    He saved GM and CHRYSLER." @ Teamster

    Detroit is bankrupt. Do you think President Obama will save it!


  28. Let us hope the sequester proceeds. We don't have another lifetime to wait for "leadership" to do anything bipartisan and actually agree to cuts. Sure, it would be nice if the agencies had the leadership to cut where needed and leave alone essential services that are being delivered in a cost-effective manner. Do we have any of those? None identified so let's cut across the board. Perhaps the NEXT ROUND OF CUTS will be more defined and DEEPER.

  29. Dear Mr Moderator ; Why is it taboo to mention the legitimacy of the rich elites children but Ok to beat up the poor single mother mentioned in the article ?

  30. At 5:24 AM CarmineD (Carmine DiFazio)commented that "Detroit is bankrupt. Do you think President Obama will save it!"

    Why should he at this time? Yes, Detroit is in trouble. But Michigan provides for appointment of an "Emergency Financial Manager" to take control of troubled cities. Michigan's Governor, Rick Snyder, has shown no qualms about using it in the past: three cities (Ecorse, Pontiac, and Benton Harbor) as well as the Detroit Public School System already have Emergency Managers. As Conservatives love to remind us, the Federal government should not be interfering in local matters.

    Right now it is fully proper for the Feds to remain at the side and allow local, city, county, and state processes to work. It would be inappropriate for Obama to act until it is obvious that the local authorities are unable or unwilling to do anything productive.

  31. Well, I see a lot of comments about various hot-button issues, and a lot of inaccurate assumptions, but not much discussion about the main issue I raised about making a stronger effort to promote marriage as a way to work toward a society with less violence and less poverty.
    To those few who commented that the President has demonstrated leadership in this area, I will point out that if you feel that way, you disagree with not just me, but also, as Jeff from Vegas pointed out in his post, Barack Obama, who said:
    "we should do more to promote marriage and encourage fatherhood."
    I guess he's been watching too much Fox.

  32. Mr. Newton,

    Your asking President Obama to help with poverty and promote marriage and fatherhood, this is the right path.

    Most likely you received the negative responses because you implied the President is not involved, nor offering any assistance or leadership in the area you mentioned. This is the disconnect.

    Do your homework. You will find the President is involved, he is showing leadership.

  33. Perhaps the reason a father abandons a childs mother is because he can't earn a living wage.

  34. Mr. Newton,

    I don't understand your comment that both you and Jeff from Vegas agree that the President has not promoted marriage and parental/"mentor" responsibility. I just read Jeff's early online comment regarding the President's elaborative comments a week ago. The President's comments prove that your criticism is mistaken.

    Regarding a father's ABANDONING a child's mother, there's more to giving "support" than just money. Moral support and love are a good start. In the future none of us should sell "family planning" short.