I was troubled by misinformation in Art Callaham’s column (Feb. 17) promoting the blogs of Rabbi Pruzansky.
It is simply untrue to state that President Obama didn’t defend his first-term record or put forward a second-term agenda. He frequently detailed his accomplishments while defining his second-term goals — on camera, in print and online.
Mr. Callaham and some others portray those of us who voted for President Obama as uninformed or freeloaders. Perhaps the majority of Americans re-elected President Obama because they were informed voters. Certainly, many found it troubling to depict as “freeloaders” our veterans, seniors, single parents and families struggling to work low-paying jobs. To believe the president can provide “free stuff” to those who vote for him shows an ignorance of our basic system of checks and balances.
Obama acheived a nearly unprecedented record of accomplishment despite significant economic adversity, natural disasters of epic portion, a European financial meltdown and a highly obstructionist Republican Congress. Here are a few highlights to illustrate why American voters decided Obama deserved another four years:
Obama created more jobs in 3 1/2 years than President George Bush did in eight. Obama provided 18 tax breaks for small businesses. While Republicans wanted to let the American auto industry fail, Obama took the risk to loan it money (paid back in full), saving thousands of American jobs. He stemmed the crash of the housing industry, restructuring regulations to minimize further bad loans and abuse. He instituted Wall Street reform to prevent a recurrence, regulations Republicans are already pushing to repeal.
Obama ended the Iraq war and is doing the same in Afghanistan. He successfully went after Osama bin Laden and other terrorist leaders. Obama created tax breaks for veterans, created hiring incentives for unemployed veterans and oversaw the largest increase to the Veterans Administration budget of any administration. He believes honoring our military means taking care of them during and after their service.
The Obama Administration made a record investment in rural America despite Republican leaders’ efforts to eliminate or reduce major support to farmers. Under Obama, more loans to farmers were made than under any administration, more crop insurance dedicated for weather disasters, and more credit extended to farmers and rural small businesses. Congressional Republicans blocked $4 billion in support to farmers in September 2011 and held up the 2012 Farm Bill as a bargaining chip while farmers struggled.
President Obama supported renewable energy efforts to help end our dependence on oil and the high financial, environmental and military costs such dependence demands. Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to support women earning equal pay, still a problem in 2013.
And then there’s Obamacare. This has far-reaching impact for Washington County families by ensuring access to health care. Insurance companies cannot drop individuals because they are too expensive once they have a major illness/condition. They cannot institute lifetime caps that some critically ill babies reach before adulthood. They cannot use “pre-existing conditions” to deny coverage. Obamacare provides tax breaks to small businesses that already offer insurance. It takes some of the power from profit-driven insurance companies putting it back into the hands of providers and patients.
More broadly, under the Obama administration from February 2009 to June 2012, in the 21740 area, 68 federal grants and contracts totaling nearly $64 million were awarded, covering public safety, infrastructure and more. For more information, go to www.recovery.gov.
The Democratic Party believes in the traditional American values that we as a nation succeed when everyone gets a fair chance, everyone pays their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules. We respect women’s abilities to manage their own bodies. Labor, teachers and public employees are valued members of a strong community and viewed as individuals working for the greater good, not scapegoats for complex problems. Our individual religious beliefs don’t dictate what others are allowed to do. We understand that these freedoms and values are the true foundations set forth by the original Founding Fathers of this great nation.
Elizabeth Paul is chair of the Washington County Democratic Central Committee.