If only President Obama had used the bully pulpit; the totalitarian threat of Trump…

July 28, 2016

I know if you are a Donald Trump supporter you would not be stirred by President Barrack Obama’s speech Wednesday night at the Democratic Convention, but also you would not bother to read this because you probably don’t read or don’t read things you might disagree with.

But I was stirred by the speech. It sounded like the Democrats I once knew calling for a better society for everyone, not just those who consider themselves worthy of privilege by their race and religion, inheritance, and what they consider the true American culture.

Even though I get concerned at times about changes in society, I am not willing to go down the road to hate and fear so much embraced by Trump supporters and so much promoted by Trump himself.

But as stirred as I was by his speech, I had to wonder why Mr. Obama did not to seem to carry the spirit of his campaign speeches through to his work in the presidency. I was surprised that he did not go out and use the bully pulpit more to get the support of the people against the Republican obstructionism that has come to the fore under the pressure of the far right or wingnut right.

I have to say, though, Obama is one heck of an orator. At one of his high points or maybe the crescendo of his speech he declared that no one has ever been more capable to be president than Hillary Clinton, no one, “not me not Bill” …

And I think a main point Obama made against Trump is that the American people don’t want a dictator and would (hopefully) reject the cult of personality (Trump) used by totalitarian societies.

Some commentators were saying that they detected Obama trying to elicit support from more conventional Republicans. And I think that is crucial.

I know I don’t want any part of a Trump society, I just hope most people don’t.

Now I realize the line by Republicans or the anti-progressives or anti-liberals is that progressives and liberals want big government and government that runs our lives.

I guess there is always that danger, but from what I know from current events and history it is totalitarian, nationalistic societies that use a powerful government to stifle dissent and to enforce rules based on the accepted culture of only one part of society.


Totalitarianism, curiously, rears its ugly head in far right fascist-style governments and far left socialist or communist governments. They both use a strong man and cult of personality, usually displaying large photos of the anointed one and demanding allegiance to him. And don’t you see something akin to that in Trumpism?

I never thought I would see the day that someone so base, so vial, and so ignorant, could get so close to being president, and I’m not talking Hillary, I’m talking Donald Trump.

If he were to be elected I think I might feel like a Jewish person when the Nazis came into power and his formerly friendly neighbors turned on him.






Obama speech a stretch, but he got back at Romney’s sarcasm, with his own sardonic comment on Romney/Ryan foreign policy aptitude

September 8, 2012

Better late than never, I suppose. I’ve been busy with my real job but I wanted to comment on President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech Thursday night at the conclusion of the Democratic National Convention:

It seemed to me he had to play loose with the facts and get quite creative in listing his accomplishments, even though he admitted he was not satisfied and was simply asking for more time to get it all done.

But I think he probably fired up the base enough that they might come out and vote for him and not stay home. But both he and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney need those undecideds.

For now I will not speculate on how either one might have drawn in any undecideds.

Just some things I noticed in the Obama speech, which I heard on radio while driving down the interstate:

His cleverest moment is when I think he got back at Romney for Romney’s sarcasm about Obama promising to stop the rise of the oceans — you know when Romney made that swipe and then smirked.

Well Obama said Romney and his sidekick Paul Ryan are “new” to foreign policy, and he sardonically clipped the word new, making it sound even shorter than it is. He joked about Romney and Ryan listing Russia as the number-one enemy rather than Al Qaeda, suggesting they were stuck in the Cold War. And he noted that Romney insulted our closest ally (England) when he went to the Olympics (questioning their security).

Awhile back I accused Romney of pulling a Nixon by promising that he had a plan to do something but keeping it a secret — I forgot what it was.

But I thought Obama pulled his own Nixonian trick by proclaiming that he now has much experience — HE IS THE PRESIDENT.

If you’re old enough you’ll remember the Nixon re-election campaign ran on the re-elect the president theme, rather than even mentioning Nixon’s name or that he was a candidate — he was THE PRESIDENT.

But just as I thought Obama had to play loose with the facts to tout his own record, I saw nothing in Romney’s presentation to convince me that he had what it takes. He always touts his business experience. When was it that people decided that running a country is the same as running a private business? Their missions are not the same. For one thing, the mission of a government, at least our type, is to serve the people. The mission of a private business is much narrower, that is to serve the interests of the investors or owners. 

But it is true that our government needs more business sense to stay solvent and that winds up being quite a conundrum.

But then the problem is not so much with the president, or at least just with him. Congress passes bills that always call for spending money but never worries how all of it will be paid for. There seems to be no mechanism for that.

But they are supposedly following the wishes of their constituents, although I think congressmen give more weight to special interests with their financial resources and power to blackmail than the common man.

You can write to your congressmen or senators. But they are looking for numbers and money. I get form letters back that are generic in nature. Of course I don’t know how a congressman would possibly answer every letter personally. But if they get enough correspondence on an issue and there is a clear trend, I imagine there is some incentive to do something for the people.

Before I forget, I thought the best speech at the Democratic convention was given by that dirty old man Bill Clinton. He’s a master.

Oh, and did you notice? Toward the end of Obama’s speech he seemed to go into the mannerism and dialect of a black evangelical preacher.



I admit my mistakes. In my last post I listed the national debt as $ 3 trillion. It is $16 trillion. During my so-called career in journalism we were warned to stay away from numbers.

Obama has the capital, now he must spend it wisely

February 25, 2009

(Copyright 2009)

The drought in leadership at the helm of the United States government has been broken, judging by the speech I just watched President Barack Obama deliver to a joint session of Congress.

It’s up the Republican obstructionists to either help or get out the way.

He was not long on detail, but you really can’t do that effectively in such a speech. You have to give an outline. You have to project an attitude. He did. And it seems to be a no non-nonsense move forward for and with the American people approach.

I think one of the things that is giving the Republicans fits is that they are so party and ideologically bound, while the new president, although liberal, is really projecting something beyond pure politics. As much as the Republicans want to wage that straight political battle, he won’t play by their rules.

I liked what he said about finally doing something on health care. He proved that he understands the problem and that he is ready to move beyond and around that tired old fight between the haves and have nots. I got mine, you get yours. So many people no longer have theirs, so many businesses finally realize that simply using health care benefits as an employee attractor is no longer fiscally feasible and yet they know they need to have their investment in their workforce protected. I think (I’m not sure on this one) that even Walmart discovered that just giving your employees a handout on how to get on government health care for the poor is not a substitute for a comprehensive health care plan.

Also Obama said that he has revised the budget process so the costs of the wars will be laid out for the current year with projections for years to come. We have ignored and/or fooled ourselves too long on the monetary costs of wars. Only recently have I heard experts actually saying that the cost of the wars is part of what has led us to our current economic crisis.

He warned that more money will be pumped into the banks but promised bankers will be held accountable and will not be able to use government money for their personal pleasures. We’ve heard that one before. Maybe some perp walks with bankers in chains is what we need to see.

I don’t know what the Wall Street reaction will be in the morning (I’m writing this right after the speech Tuesday evening). But I think at least the markets now have a clear message as to the direction we are going and more importantly the attitude of the new president. It would seem that stocks in innovative companies with an eye to the future (not the next quick dollar) should rise – renewable energy, for example.

Add 1:  And this morning I get the answer. Stocks are down amid concerns over the continual decline in home resales and falling home prices, as well as over concern that the credit crisis is worsening. It is troubling to know that our whole economy over these past many decades has been based on inflated home values. Seems to me we need something more like industrial and agricultural output with a dose of renewable energy to support our economy. And somewhere in there there has to be a whole lot of good paying jobs. Inflated home values did produce a lot of jobs — good paying jobs, not so much.

Getting the banking situation resolved seems to me the thing that needs to get the top priority. Housing is an offshoot of that, but I fear the president has just previously put forward a somewhat complicated sounding and maybe overreaching program in that regard.

I don’t think we want the government setting prices by forcing lenders to pull down the principle on houses, although lenders on their own might choose to do that. Unfortunately in probably the majority of cases, as tragic as it is, foreclosures need to take place, losses (to both the occupants and the lenders) to be suffered, the end result being bankruptcies for both individuals and lenders.

But only in that way can the market be determined. If in the end there is an oversupply of houses, the prices will at least settle in a more affordable category.

(Interest is a confusing thing to me. It would seem it needs to be set primarily by availability and risk, not by artificial government actions, part of what has caused the present crisis. From this time forward the price of risk will likely be higher on home mortgages.)

Only once the bad debt is finally settled (much of it by bankruptcy) can a new and improved banking sector rise up from the ashes.

While I am not sure President Obama’s approaches to each problem are the best, he has proved that he is indeed a forward thinker.

I think the wars will plague the Obama administration efforts, but he has not given any indication that he would back down from the challenges he faces in that regard. And although he has made some strong statements about fighting global terrorism, akin to those made by George W. Bush, he has not yet painted himself into a corner.

Although I appreciate and admire President Obama’s willingness to work with the Republicans, I almost wished I could hear him just tell them: “Oh, just shut up – I have work to do”! But he is much too wise a politician and too diplomatic for that.

One more thing. While his predecessor claimed to have “political capital” after his second election victory, he found it to be ephemeral, primarily due to his ineptness and pig headedness.

President Obama has as much political capital as any president I have seen in my 59 years. I hope he spends it wisely. from what I just saw, I have reason to believe he will.


Right now the Republicans seem to be in the lonely position of the loyal opposition with no plan, only reaction, thus making them seem “reactionary”. A new leader will emerge if they are lucky.

Add 2:  And after initial reviews  I have concluded is won’t likely be the young and somewhat emaciated looking Bobby Jindal, Gov. of Louisiana, who gave the official Republican response to the Obama speech (I didn’t bother to thake that in — yadda yadda yadda).