The Obama Quandaries

Supporters for President Obama face two quandaries. First, there are the Bundlers for Obama:

Look who is contributing to Obama campaign this Fall

 The second problem is that even if Obama wins the Presidency his party will likely lose at least one House of Congress. This result  will then continue the political  gridlock that has occurred  since early 2010. At that time the 60-40  Democratic majority in the Senate required to get any legislation passed changed to 59-41  when Republican Scott Brown won Senator Ted Kennedy’s vacated seat. This is a new phenomenon in which Senate Filibuster rules have been used 4 times more often by the GOP than in the past- effectively making the Senate a new 60-40 majority rule body. The Democratic sway in the Senate was lost and an effective blockade of government has been accomplished by the Republican Party – the budget fights for the past 2 years are just the tip of the iceberg.

Since then and with the Republican’s new majority in the House of Representatives, the GOP has been able to effectively blockade almost all of  Obama appointments, budget changes, and legislation. This has continued unabated despite the fact that a)Obama has proposed many bills that previously had Republican support  and b)the President to the chagrin of his party has offered substantial cutbacks in Social Security, Health Care, environment protections, and other social welfare programs. However, the only thing uniting the various GOP factions is a fanatic belief that anything is allowed in making sure that Obama is a one term President. And the best means to achieve this end is to reject all of Obama’s [and many of their own ] economic policies and budget appropriations. The aim is to prove that government does not work and Obama is the worst President since George W. Bush – likely even worse.

The Campaign Financing Quandry

Now lets return to the campaign financing problem. President Obama gets a substantial portion of his campaign funding from the very groups that he pledged not to take money from: lobbyists [ see recent NYTimes reports on lobbyists’ major contributions to Obama] and b)the financial services community. Wall Streeters have  been working against the President in so many arenas – mortgage writedowns, Financial Reform regulations, foreclosure clean-up, credit to small businesses, credit card clean-up, etc, etc. But Obama continues to draw upon the Wall Street financiers for a significant portion of his campaign funding. This is a repeat of what happened in the last election and we have seen President give a free pass for the Wall Street players on their roles in the financial meltdow, a failure to break up the too big to fail banks, continued low Fed rate for the big banks and other favorable breaks while they stonewall any mortgage term adjustment and reforms. Clearly Wall Street is getting a lot for its campaign funding generosity

The Essential Conundrum

So how can one support President Obama for another term when he will be beholden to the very parties who have provided the US with the financial meltdown, continuing attacks on the middle class in the forms of wage+benefits cuts while passing ever greater portions of the tax burden onto the Commons ? But even if Obama wins there will be an obstructionist Congress under partial or complete GOP control. This means 4 more years of gridlock in government. Hence the irrationality of the Republican party – it pays to be obstructionist because we can get away with deliberate and perverse obstruction with negligible consequences to our Congressional incumbents.

But to contemplate any of the GOP candidates as President is an absolutely  frightening notion. No wonder an unprecedented 20 million Americans have been watching the Republican Presidential debates – the country is desperately seeking someone who can break the government gridlock. However, the rottenness of the GOP “Presidential Timber” is so bad – anti-science; even more beholden to the business and Wall Street elites; willingness to scrap hard won environmental,social welfare and health reforms; and limited knowledge of foreign affairs – the GOP Presidential candidates make Obama look very good. Who is the winner here ?- the Chinese, the Russians, the Taliban, the Iranians, the North Koreans – any and all parties that want to see the US Economic and Military power in the World diminished by continuing gridlock in US government.

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