Archived Story

Obama, Romney represent their parties well

Published 12:00pm Thursday, October 25, 2012

Many voters don’t identify with either political party. They say, “I vote for the person, not the party.”

That’s seen as a virtue, but it may not be such a good thing, because the party to which a candidate belongs is very important in shaping his or her policies. They are the people who help get them elected, so when a President takes office, he owes a lot to them.

President Obama and Mitt Romney are pretty good representatives of their parties. When we elect either one, we get his party — and its history.

In 1923, Republican Calvin Coolidge said, “The business of America is business.” Completing the term of Warren Harding, Coolidge and his successor, Herbert Hoover, gave America 12 years of business-oriented Republican government.

For awhile folks did pretty well, especially bankers, the oil industry, and manufacturers, as automobiles and other new products were built and sold. Stock speculators did especially well.

Sound familiar?

Then, as in 2008, it all came crashing down and the nation fell into the Great Depression. Part of the cause was wild stock speculation, but also farm prices and workers wages that didn’t keep up, so folks couldn’t buy the products businessmen wanted to sell.

When Franklin Roosevelt took over as president in 1933, unemployment stood at 25 percent and businesses and banks were going broke. He and the Democrats in Congress put people back to work building bridges and roads, created Social Security, set a minimum wage employers have to pay.

All these programs put money in people’s pockets, which in turn helped businesses come back when folks started to spend. It took four years, but unemployment was cut in half in FDR’s first term — well before any spending on World War II.

“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it,” the British statesman Edmund Burke pointed out.

So, when Republican George W. Bush allowed the reckless speculation on Wall Street, cut taxes mostly for the wealthy, held wages down, and announced his plan to privatize Social Security, the economy reacted in 2008 the same way it did in 1929.

It crashed.

The budget surplus he was handed by President Clinton, turned into a huge deficit, thanks also to the two wars Mr. Bush started in the Middle East, and a prescription drug program which allows corporations to set the prices without any negotiation with government.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party, once mostly in the South, became more open and diverse, championing workers, women, and minorities. It passed laws that ended discrimination and raised wages. Democrats also created Medicare and Medicaid to help senior citizens and low-income people pay for health care.

Democratic diversity made it possible for an African-American, born in Hawaii, raised in Indonesia, Los Angeles, and Chicago — named Barack Hussein Obama — to become America’s President.

Following the example of Roosevelt and other Democrats, Obama secured legislation repairing America’s infrastructure and putting people back to work. It was a smaller program for a somewhat smaller economic collapse, but the results were similar. The economy improved, measurably.

Now, in 2012, the Republican Party has chosen businessman Mitt Romney to try to unseat Obama.

Romney promises to “save” Medicare by partially privatizing it. He woos small business by implying that they alone built their businesses. He offers more large tax cuts, which benefit mostly the wealthy, whom he calls “job creators.”

He and his running mate, Congressman Ryan, opposed Obama’s jobs programs, though Ryan then asked for some of the money for his district. They intend to cut most government programs, including all funds for Public Broadcasting — giving absolute control of our electronic media, and the flow of vital information, to a few private corporations.

Of course, it’s hard to win an election promising policies that mostly benefit big business and the super wealthy, so we’ve seen a huge, corporate-funded campaign of vague promises and smears against President Obama — he’s a Muslim, not born in America, and his programs have made the economy worse — none of which are true, but do fuel a powerful backlash from those who are threatened by diversity.

Obama and the Democratic diversity are probably on the right side of history, but we won’t know until November.

 

Jack Burgess is a retired teacher of American & Global Studies and a native of southern Ohio.

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  • ntrlhigh

    Great article Jack. So good to read a factual, historically accurate summary absent the bias and emotion.

    (Report comment)

  • Noesis

    Noises, it never fails to astonish me that you’re still using the commodity futures legislation to absolve old Dubyah from his stupid, costly mistakes. I guess nobody gets it but you…
    ———————-

    That’s funny Keta, I thought you and the author was the only one that didn’t get it. Maybe if you would read something otherthan Moveon or DailyKOS you would have seen this:

    The Bet That Blew Up Wall Street
    CBS News – 60 minutes

    Anyone with more than a casual interest in why their 401(k) has tanked over the past year knows that it’s because of the global credit crisis. It was triggered by the collapse of the housing market in the United States and magnified worldwide by the sale of complicated investments that Warren Buffett once labeled financial weapons of mass destruction.

    They are called credit derivatives or credit default swaps.

    As correspondent Steve Kroft first reported last fall, they are essentially side bets on the performance of the U.S. mortgage markets and some of the biggest financial institutions in the world – a form of legalized gambling that allows you to wager on financial outcomes without ever having to actually buy the stocks and bonds and mortgages.

    It would have been illegal during most of the 20th century under the gaming laws, but in 2000, Congress gave Wall Street an exemption and it has turned out to be a very bad idea.
    —————-

    Now you were saying Keta?

    (Report comment)

  • keta

    Noises, it never fails to astonish me that you’re still using the commodity futures legislation to absolve old Dubyah from his stupid, costly mistakes. I guess nobody gets it but you, because Dubyah is kept out of sight, like an insane relative kept chained in a basement. Romney’s top spokesmen seem to be Donald Trump and Glenn Beck, that kind of guy, as incredible as that seems. On the other hand, the president has Bill Clinton, Colin Powell, etc. See the difference? Probably not.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Jack Burgess; The Democratic Party of the past is not the Democratic Party of the present. Barack Obama is no Franklin Roosevelt. There is a hierarchy of values, 1st. The Right To Life. 2nd. The Sanctity Of Marriage between a man and woman. 3rd. Freedom Of Conscience when it comes to religious beliefs. Barack Obama and the Democratic Party fail in their stand on these three important issues. The Republican Party has and has always had a weakness when it comes to support of the less affluent members of our society. Jack, with due regard to present circumstances, I feel a vote for and support of Mitt Romney and the Republican Party is in order. All these other less important issues can be worked out in due time. There is no time left for discussion or arbitration when life is terminated, as in the killing of the unborn (Abortion).

    (Report comment)

  • Noesis

    So, when Republican George W. Bush allowed the reckless speculation on Wall Street, cut taxes mostly for the wealthy, held wages down, and announced his plan to privatize Social Security, the economy reacted in 2008 the same way it did in 1929.

    It crashed.
    —————–

    Jack Burgess is an ******* *****, plain and simple.

    It wasn’t Bush that allowed the reckless speculation, it was Bill Clinton.

    “The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA) is United States federal legislation that officially ensured the deregulation of financial products known as over-the-counter derivatives. It was signed into law on December 21, 2000 by President Bill Clinton.”

    And what were they speculating on? The housing market bubble that democrats caused.

    And this guy actually taught our kids?

    Can they sue and get their money back?

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    1/2 way thru article couldn’t figure who wrote this liberal piece. Crawford or Burgess.
    —————————
    jack burgess–When Franklin Roosevelt took over as president in 1933, unemployment stood at 25 percent and businesses and banks were going broke. He and the Democrats in Congress put people back to work building bridges and roads, created Social Security, set a minimum wage employers have to pay.
    ——————————————-
    Obambi was no Franklin Roosevelt. Obambi invested in solar and wind power buying millions of dollars of material from China thru General Electric. Wonder why GE doesn’t pay corporate taxes.
    Obambi also attacked oil(canadian pipeline), oil exploration and drilling, coal and bought himself a car mfr then exempted their unions from the affordable care act. Stole 700 billion from medicare.
    Small business also has to put back at least 40% of any profit for taxes and also smothered them in more regulation.
    If Obambi gets re-elected you ain’t seen nothing Jack.

    (Report comment)

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