President Obama’s Impressive List of Accomplishments

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

 

Over the past three-and-a-half years, President Obama and Democrats have successfully enacted significant progressive legislation and executive policies that have, among other things, created 5.2 million private sector jobs over the past 31 months, kept our nation safe and taken out Bin Laden, made a fairer and more just society, advanced gender equality, and rescued the American auto industry.  At stake in November 2012 is whether these accomplishments will be repealed by the GOP, or whether we will be able to continue to focus on moving our country forward in 2013 and beyond.

Unfortunately, the message of the significant progress that has been achieved so far during the Obama Administration won’t get out unless we progressives talk to our neighbors and friends, write letters to our local newspapers, and use social media to help keep other voters well informed.  In order to help our readers do so, below are links to Winning Progressive’s coverage of just some of the Obama Administration’s progressive accomplishments.  Please share widely.

List of 2009-2010 Democratic Accomplishments

Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Rescuing the American Auto Industry

Closing the Medicare Doughnut Hole

The Successful 2009 Stimulus

Credit Card Industry Reform

Fighting For Small Businesses

Ending Combat Operations in Iraq

Ending Abusive Health Insurance Industry Practices

Expanding Health Insurance Coverage to 32 Million More Americans

Making College More Affordable

Reforming Wall Street

2011 Health Care Reform Benefits

Eliminating Co-Pays on Contraceptive Services as Preventive Care

Challenging the Defense of Marriage Act in Federal Court

Rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline

Finalizing Air Pollution Rules That Will Save 13,000 Lives Per Year

Increasing Vehicle Fuel Efficiency to 35.5mpg By 2016 and 54.5 by 2025

Implementing a Sensible New Immigration Policy for “DREAMers”

Obama DOJ Wins Significant, Though Not Complete, Victory Over Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant Law

American High-Speed Rail Moving Forward

A Good Friend of Labor

Obama’s Record of Support for Israel

 

Three Must See Democratic Convention Speeches

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Coverage of last week’s Democratic National Convention focused, of course, on the effective speeches of President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama, and a few other headline speakers.  But there were other speeches, outside of prime time, that are must sees, both because of the quality of the speeches themselves, and because they highlighted keys to President Obama winning re-election this November.

Congressman John Lewis

The most emotionally powerful speech was by Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), who masterfully wove together his experiences fighting for civil rights in the South in the 1960s with the current attack on voting rights in numerous states throughout the country.  Rep. Lewis is the kind of historic figure and impressive speaker to whom a mere blogger such as myself cannot really add anything, so I will simply highlight the core statement in his speech:

Your vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful, nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union.

After you watch the video of Rep. Lewis’ speech below, please make sure you are registered to vote and commit to registering at least five other people, if you live in a state with a voter ID law visit this site to make sure you have what you’ll need to be able to vote, and volunteer for the Democratic Party’s election protection efforts so that we can make sure that every eligible voter is able to vote on election day.

 

 Governor Deval Patrick

The current Governor from the state that Mitt Romney used to preside over, Deval Patrick gave a barn-burner of a speech in which he both critiqued the flaws in the conservative ideology that Romney promotes, and provided a spirited explanation of the significant progressive advances President Obama has achieved.  Any progressive who is still disappointed in President Obama’s first term should read Gov. Patrick’s speech, along with the Winning Progressive list of President Obama’s accomplishments.

 This is the president who delivered the security of affordable health care to every single American after 90 years of trying. This is the president who brought Osama bin Laden to justice, who ended the war in Iraq and is ending the war in Afghanistan. This is the president who ended “don’t ask, don’t tell” so that love of country, not love of another, determines fitness for military service. Who made equal pay for equal work the law of the land. This is the president who saved the American auto industry from extinction, the American financial industry from self-destruction, and the American economy from depression. Who added over 4.5 million private sector jobs in the last two-plus years, more jobs than George W. Bush added in eight.

The list of accomplishments is long, impressive and barely told—even more so when you consider that congressional Republicans have made obstruction itself the centerpiece of their governing strategy. With a record and a vision like that, I will not stand by and let him be bullied out of office—and neither should you, and neither should you and neither should you.

 

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm

Perhaps the most over-the-top yet still effective speech was former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm’s effusive thank you to the Obama Administration for rescuing the American auto industry.  Governor Granholm explained how important rescuing the auto industry was to middle and working class Americans throughout the Midwest.  She also contrasted the auto industry rescue with Mitt Romney’s philosophy, which she summed up well as:

In Romney’s world, the cars get the elevator; the workers get the shaft.

 

The Myth of the Disappointed Democratic Base

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

(By NCrissie B)

President Obama began losing progressive supporters when he invited evangelical pastor Rick Warren to give the inaugural invocation, the story goes. He lost more support when he didn’t get a big enough stimulus bill, and yet more when he didn’t put single-payer on the table for health care reform. And when he backed away from the public option, progressives abandoned him en masse. There went the 2010 midterms, and maybe even his 2012 chances. Turns out his book should have been titled “The Audacity of Nope.”

It’s a depressing story, but fortunately it’s just that: a story.

In fact President Obama’s approval ratings among progressives have stayed above 90% except for a brief period in the summer of 2011. Only during the ugly debt ceiling showdown did more than 10% of Americans say the president was “not liberal enough.” Different polls ask the question differently and get different numbers, yet Gallup found President Obama with 79% approval among self-described liberal Democrats even at his low ebb last September. And both Gallup and CNN found Democrats had closed the voter enthusiasm gap by the start of this month.

Yet the media message of disgruntled Democrats has held on, and at least some truly are disappointed with the progress President Obama and Democrats have made since 2009. The president has not been perfect, nor were the bills that survived Republican filibusters in the Senate. But we made more progress than many of us realize.

“What has President Obama accomplished in the last three years?”

That’s the title question of this handy wallet card that I got in the mail last week. Here’s what it says:

CHANGE IS … President Obama’s Commitment to American Women and Their Families

President Obama, the father of two girls, believes that women’s issues are America’s issues.

  • Equal Pay for Equal Work: Signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that ensured women get paid the same as men for the same work.
  • Improving Women’s Health: Starting in 2012, new health insurance plans will be required to cover women’s preventative services such as mammograms, domestic violence screenings and contraception, without charge.
  • Protecting Women’s Right to Choose: Reversed the Global Gag Rule which banned government from providing aid to international family planning groups. Stood up to Republicans trying to roll back a woman’s right to choose and defund Planned Parenthood.

CHANGE IS … President Obama’s Record on Health Care

On March 23, 2010, President Obama passed the landmark Affordable Care Act to restore health care as a basic cornerstone of middle class security in America.

  • Ending Insurance Company Abuses: Prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions or cancelling coverage when someone gets sick.
  • Keeping Premiums Low: Insurance companies must justify rate hikes; provide rebates if they don’t spend at least 80% of consumers’ premiums on care instead of overhead, marketing and profits.
  • Expanding Access to Care: 32 million more Americans are able to afford insurance for the first time and nearly all Americans – 95% of those under the age of 65 – will have insurance.
  • Closing the Medicare Prescription Drug “Donut Hole”: Over 2.6 million seniors have saved an average of $550 each on their prescription drugs and, by 2020, the Medicare “donut hole” will be completely closed.

CHANGE IS … Putting Americans Back to Work and Rebuilding a Fair Economy for the Middle Class

From day one, President Obama took immediate action to address the crisis of middle class security slipping away for millions of families.

  • Job Creation: An economic recovery program supported as many as 3.6 million jobs by cutting taxes, investing in clean energy, roads and bridges, keeping teachers in classrooms, and protecting unemployment benefits.
  • Saved the auto industry from collapse, preventing the loss of more than 1.4 million jobs.
  • The private sector has created nearly 3 million jobs during 21 straight months of private sector job growth – but our work is not done. That’s why the President is fighting for The American Jobs Act which would put even more people back to work now and put even more money in people’s pockets.

CHANGE IS … Creating an Economy Built to Last

President Obama believes Americans should be able to earn enough to raise a family, send their kids to school, own a home, and put enough away to retire.

  • Out-Educating the Rest of the World: Made college education affordable to hundreds of thousands more students by ending billions of dollars in subsidies to banks and using savings to double funding for Pell grants.
  • Out-Innovating the Rest of the World: Made substantial investments in clean energy manufacturing to create the jobs of the future here in America and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
  • Everyone Plays by the Same Rules: Passed Wall Street reform to protect American families from unfair lending practices, rein in excesses on Wall Street and prevent future crises.
  • Everyone Does Their Fair Share: Called for closing tax loopholes to ensure millionaires and billionaires don’t pay less in taxes than the middle class.

CHANGE IS … Ending the War in Iraq and Honoring Our Veterans

President Obama kept his word: He brought the war in Iraq to a responsible end and brought home our troops.

  • Committed to Iraq’s Security: The U.S. transitioned full security responsibility to the Iraqi people; remains committed to Iraq’s long-term security; will continue to develop a strong and enduring partnership.
  • Refocusing on Al Qaeda: Refocused our security priorities toward dismantling and defeating Al Qaeda and its affiliates. In bringing Osama Bin Laden to justice, the President showed America’s resolve and our ability to unite to face the greatest threats to our nation.
  • Honoring the Service of Veterans and Their Families: Our troops and their families get the help earned, enacting new tax credits to encourage businesses to hire unemployed and disabled veterans.

The message of his work hasn’t always pushed through the media noise, but President Obama has built an impressive list of accomplishments. It’s not complete and, as we’ll see in my next post, many of our most difficult challenges lie ahead. But when I look at what President Obama and Democrats have done … I see reason to hope.

(Crossposted from Blogistan Polytechnic Institute (BPICampus.com))

 

Why Glenn Greenwald’s Attack on President Obama is Off-Base

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Reader Kate M., who occasionally questions what she finds to be an overly favorable view of President Obama here at Winning Progressive, recently pointed us in the direction of Glenn Greenwald’s article in Salon entitled “Obama’s ‘Bad Negotiating’ is Actually Shrewd Negotiating.” Greenwald’s thesis is basically that President Obama is not a true progressive but, instead, is purposely selling out progressive values and policies in order to win reelection.  Greenwald’s thesis is well summed up by the title of the article when it was republished at AlterNet – Why Do We Assume Obama’s Actually Trying to Enact a Progressive Agenda?

Here at Winning Progressive we typically do not like to get into debates with other bloggers as we’d prefer to spend our time urging people to communicate the progressive message to outside the bubble of the blogging world.  But Greenwald’s approach is so detrimental to the progressive movement that it is worth responding to.

At the outset, we should note that there are certainly areas where Winning Progressive has been disappointed with the Obama Administration.  Civil liberties is one, as there needs to be a far larger break with the policies of the Bush Administration.  Education reform is another, as the Administration has, unfortunately, drunk the charter school kool aid far too much.  And, yes, we would have liked to see a bigger stimulus package, a public option, and a much more aggressive approach to stemming the foreclosure crisis.

But Greenwald’s effort to translate those significant disappointments into a much broader claim that President Obama does not share progressive goals and, instead, is purposely selling us out in order to win re-election misses the mark in a number of ways.

First, Greenwald ignores the many progressive victories that the Obama Administration has managed to steer through a largely dysfunctional political system, even in the face of historically unprecedented Republican obstructionism and opposition from most of the media.  We have compiled a partial  list of those victories here, but the basic point is that it strains credulity to suggest that an Administration that ended DADT, is expanding health insurance access to 32 million more Americans and ending abusive health insurance industry practices, increased student loans by $65 billion by ending unnecessary subsidies to banks that provided such loans, increased fuel efficiency standards to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016, and has proposed air pollution regulations that will save more tens of thousands of lives per year is not progressive.  Many of these policies could be improved, but progressive change is always a long hard battle, and the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats have made significant forward progress on a number of issues that are critical to progressives.

Second, Greenwald attributes bad motives to Obama Administration decisions that could just as easily be explained by tactical disagreements.  The reality of the situation is that while there have been some significant disappointments with President Obama, the alternative of the tea party Republicans is far worse.  With those Republicans in control of the House and aiming for the Presidency and the Senate in 2012, a critical goal for progressivism is making sure that Republicans do not get full control.  And there are two competing strategies for achieving that goal.  One is to give no ground and offer a bold agenda that won’t be passed in the next two years but that will help draw clear distinctions for voters in 2012.  The other is to give a little on some core issues both to ensure that Republicans do not cause even further damage now and to help the public realize that the Democrats are the reasonable ones who are serious about governing.  Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages and while I tend to lean toward the former approach, I readily acknowledge the legitimacy of the latter approach (within limits) as a valid progressive strategy.  It is a shame that Greenwald does not also.

Third, and most importantly, Greenwald ignores the role that the progressive base has to play in building political support for progressive policies.  One of the biggest problems with the purist progressive critique of President Obama is that it treats him as if he can single-handedly change the political dynamic in this country.  The President can and should certainly play a role in doing so, but such change also requires the active and organized effort of all of us progressives to take the progressive message to the voters and build a ground swell of support for our positions.  Having progressives focus large majorities of their efforts on criticizing our President for accepting compromises that are short of what we want does little to build such political support.  Instead, we progressives who would like to see the President go further should focus our energies on building the political support needed for the President to do so.  Winning Progressive attempts to play a role in building such support by highlighting positive things about progressive policies and victories, and by encouraging our readers to share a positive progressive vision with their friends, neighbors, colleagues, and elected officials.  Unfortunately, purist critics of President Obama, such as Greenwald, appear to focus almost all of their efforts on tearing our President down, rather than on building up our political brand.

None of this is to say that we should not criticize President Obama and push him to do more.  But the danger of the Greenwald approach is that by focusing so much on disappointments from Obama, we threaten to reduce turnout among Democratic partisans and to leave average voters with the perception that the person they most associate with progressive politics has no base of support.  The result of such impacts is to throw elections to Republicans, just as occurred in November 2010.   What purist progressives like Greenwald seem to miss is that criticism should be done constructively, that progressives need to do their jobs of building political support for progressive policies, and that we also need to praise the President when he does the right thing.  The Winning Progressive blog is all about getting progressives involved in taking those steps.  It would be great if Greenwald and his followers would join us in this critical endeavor.

Health Care Reform Turns 1 – Let’s Celebrate!

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

One year ago today, progressives won a major victory when the historic health care reform bill was signed into law by President Obama.  While the legislation was far from perfect, it provides tens of millions of Americans with the security of knowing that they will have access to affordable health insurance and that they will be protected from abusive insurance industry practices.  In addition, the health care reform law takes significant steps toward fixing our nation’s broken health insurance system, which covers too few people, costs far too much, and gets inadequate results.

Health care reform is, of course, under attack from conservatives who would rather side with insurance companies than with the American people.  In order to fend off these attacks, it is critical that progressives make their voices heard in support of the health care reform legislation that was passed last year.  So, we are asking that all of our readers take a few minute to celebrate health care reform’s first birthday by writing a letter to your local newspaper editor to explain what health care reform means to you and to our country.

If you write a letter, please share it with us via e-mail, as we may publish some of the best letters next week here at Winning Progressive.

Here are links for submitting letters to the editor for national papers, and to newspapers in Colorado, Connecticut, DelawareIllinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

To learn more about the provisions in the health care reform legislation, here is a handy description from the Kaiser Family Foundation of all of the key provisions and a timeline of when they go into effect.

And here are links to previous Winning Progressive posts on health care reform:

Reforming the Broken Health Care System

Protecting Consumers From Abusive Health Insurance Industry Practices

Expanding Health Insurance Coverage to 32 Million Americans

Health Care Reform Benefits That Went Into Effect on January 2, 2011

Closing the Medicare Doughnut Hole

Health Care Reform Benefits for Small Businesses

Celebrating Progressive Victories

Friday, February 4th, 2011

One thing that the progressive movement does not do very well is to celebrate its victories.  Because progressive change typically comes in a series of steps, rather than all at once, we often get so focused on taking the next step that we do not take time to reflect on good things as we achieve them.  By not celebrating our victories, we often create the false impression that progressives are losing, which can discourage our supporters, make undecided voters less likely to support us, and make elected officials less likely to fight for our causes.

In an effort to avoid such impacts and help spread the word that progressives have won and continue to win numerous significant victories that have helped advance the causes of fairness, justice, and equality in America and the world, we like to highlight progressive victories here at Winning Progressive.  This past week there were at least four such victories worth celebrating:

* Defeating Repeal of Health Care Reform – The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted 51 to 47 to reject a Republicans legislative effort to repeal health care reform.  Repeal would have allowed the health insurance industry to return to abusive practices such as pre-existing condition exclusions and retroactive policy cancellations,  foreclose the expansion of affordable coverage to 32 million more Americans, increase the deficit, and return us to a broken health insurance system.  By turning back repeal, Senate Democrats have allowed the American people to continue to enjoy the significant benefits of health care reform.  If you have a Democratic Senator, call him or her and thank them for voting against repeal.

* Signing the New START Treaty – Also on Wednesday, President Obama signed the New START Treaty, which reduces deployed nuclear weapons by 1/3 and ensures that we are able to continue nuclear weapons inspections in Russia in order to verify reductions and help keep nuclear materials out of the hands of rogue nations or terrorists.  New START was ratified in the Senate in December only after Democrats overcame significant Republican obstructionism.

* Civil Unions Authorized in Illinois - Earlier this week, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation that made Illinois the sixth state to allow same-sex civil unions (five others allow for same-sex marriage).  If you live in Illinois, contact Governor Pat Quinn and the members of the Illinois House and Senate who got the civil unions legislation enacted.

* Republicans Give Up on “Forcible Rape” Provision – Earlier this week, Republicans (and one Democratic House member) proposed to redefine the rape exception to the ban on federal abortion coverage to extend to only “forcible rape.”   Such a redefinition would mean that victims of statutory rape or incest would be foreclosed from receiving federal aid for getting an abortion.  After a large pushback from Democrats and progressives, however, Republicans backed down on Thursday and returned to the broader rape exclusion under current law.

If you know of other progressive victories at the federal, state, or local levels that we should be celebrating, e-mail us to let us know.

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