Thursday, July 31, 2008

Democrats have worked well with President Bush

I support Obama for President, but I don't "hate" George Bush or his policies.

I have disagreed with President Bush on many things including:

+ stem cell policy
+ war in Iraq; especially its' execution
+ war in Afganistan; not fighting hard enough to win
+ attack on internet gambling
+ refusal to fight for real education reform including vouchers for everyone
+ failure to establish stronger standards in trade deals
...and more

but I find it interesting that according to Senate Democrats here is what has been accomplished during the 110th Congress working with President Bush:

Democratic Accomplishments

Economic stimulus:
a law to boost the economy by offering timely, targeted, and temporary measures to provide rebate checks to eligible single, married, and elderly Americans, provide tax relief for American businesses, and help families avoid foreclosure by expanding financing opportunities;

Ethics and lobbying reform:
a law to slow the "revolving door" for former Senators and staff, strengthen limits on gifts and travel, expand lobbying disclosure requirements, establish a study commission on ethics and lobbying, prohibit pensions for Members of Congress convicted of certain crimes, and implement reform procedures relating to earmarks and conference reports;

Strengthening FISA:
legislation to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to strengthen national security, provide better civil liberty protections for Americans, and increase oversight and accountability of government actions;

9/11 Commission recommendations:
a law to make America more secure by giving our first responders the tools they need to keep us safe; making it more difficult for potential terrorists to travel into our country; advancing efforts to secure our rail, air, and mass transit systems; and improving intelligence and information sharing between state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies;

Intelligence authorization:
a bill to strengthen and authorize the nation's intelligence and intelligence-related activities and require that all federal agencies abide by the Army Field Manual's prohibition on torture;

Care for wounded soldiers and veterans:
a law to improve military health care facilities, fill in gaps in health insurance coverage, increase severance pay, and provide a seamless transition from the Department of Defense to the Department of Veterans Affairs, and transition from military service to civilian life; and legislation to protect military bonuses for wounded soldiers;

Enhancing veterans benefits: a bill to expand and improve benefits for all veterans and extend benefits to Filipino veterans of World War II;

Minimum wage:
a law that increases the federal minimum wage to $7.25/hour;

Foreclosure prevention and housing market recovery:
legislation to strengthen and modernize the FHA to help homeowners facing foreclosure obtain safe and affordable home loans; and legislation to increase foreclosure counseling, expand re-financing opportunities, enhance foreclosure protection services members, aid communities in rehabilitating foreclosed properties, improve mortgage loan disclosures, and extend tax relief to help the housing market recover;

AMT tax relief:
a law that protects 19 million American families from being hit by the alternative minimum tax (AMT), a tax that was never intended to impact them;

Consumer product safety:
a bill to strengthen the Consumer Product Safety Commission, improve children's product safety, stop dangerous imported products, increase penalties for violations, and enhance recall effectiveness;

Energy bill:
a law to increase our energy independence, enhance energy efficiency, increase production of clean domestic biofuels, raise fuel economy standards for the first time in 25 years, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve our energy security, reduce our dependence on oil, and strengthen the economy;

Higher education:
a law providing $20 billion in additional college aid to students - the largest increase since the G.I. bill - including an increase in the maximum Pell Grant; simplifying the financial aid process; decreasing subsidies so that the student loan system works for students, not the banks; and improving our K-12 schools by promoting effective teacher preparation programs;

Head Start:
a law to expand eligibility for the Head Start program;

Extending Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP:
a law that blocks cuts to Medicare and ensures access to health care for rural seniors; funds the Transitional Medicaid Assistance and special diabetes programs; and extends CHIP;

Farm bill:
a law to invest in rural communities, ensure participation in the food stamp program, expand programs to feed low-income children, improve conservation, reform producer income protection programs, and expand the development and use of farm-based renewable energy;

Criminal background checks for gun purchases:
a law that improves the National Instant Criminal Background Check System by ensuring that records are more easily updated by state and federal agencies to reflect a disqualifying mental illness and by establishing a better process by which citizens who have overcome a disqualifying mental illness can have their rights restored;

Improving the Do-Not-Call Registry:
a law to ensure that phone numbers can remain on the list beyond five years and that removed numbers can be re-included; and a law to authorize the Federal Trade Commission to collect do-not-call registry fees from telecommunications companies for the operation and enforcement of the registry;

Much of the above is on the "progressive" side. Yet, many things on the list above would have been filibustered (by Rep's) had there been a democratic President or a stronger Democratic majority. So the end result would have been less success.

I'm arguing for Democrats to start "curbing their excesses" here on the internet and advocate for good ideas that can be debated without name calling, and defended on an intellectual level. This is not a call to be DLC type moderates, but to argue for what you believe and support it with facts and logic, and not "you're evil" type arguments.

I think on balance, President Obama would be better than Senator McCain because of:

Supreme Court nominations
Executive orders
World-wide recognition of the goodness in America
Less chance to start foolish wars

But as I argued a few days ago, too many democrats in Congress with an Obama Presidency is a recipe for disaster as it stands today. It would lead to partisan warfare that Democrats would lose. It happened less than 15 years ago in 1992 and is shaping up that way again.

That's because of the zealots here online and those working behind the scenes in all the left-wing interest groups.

A Democratic Congress has done a good job working with this President. It has helped that Bush was a lame duck and was forced to do business. As democrats we should stop denying reality about the progress of the 110th Congress, and recognize Bush was a necessary partner.

I'm not arguing for "centrism" or "moderation".
I'm arguing for solid legislation and/or ideas that can be advanced without venom and craziness.

Candidate Obama seems to understand this, yet many seem to think he is only doing what needs to be done to get elected. I think Obama is being geniune. Someone is wrong.

Yesterday, Dems wasted time in Committee voting to hold Karl Rove in contempt.

They also voted to "apologize for Slavery".

Hopefully this is not a sign to come when we win in November.

Craig Farmer
making the word "liberal" safe again!

No comments: