Category Archives: Poitics

A mailbag, sort of…

The last post I discussed why liberals should be giving Obama a break. Mainly because even though we did not get everything we had hoped for, about 75 percent of it is still there. Just today a story came out in the New York Times about how the federal government is going to start regulating health care prices in ten states, lowering the price for millions of American’s.

 

I got a lot of responses to this one, mostly via LinkedIn, and thought it would be better to respond to some of the comments here. Most people agreed with my assessment of the liberal take and why they are upset with Obama. What they disagreed with though is giving him a break. They brought up some good points such as a single payer system would be cheaper. But for the most part their arguments rely on facts that just aren’t true.

 

For instance, one person said “without a individual mandate there is no reason to pass anything in regards to health care. The went on to say Medicare has nothing to do with our debt. But the Affordable Care Act will lower prices not just because the insurance companies are taking in more money, but because of the regulations that will be enacted. And yes, Medicare has a huge part to do with our debt. Because of the lack of price controls it was costing American’s thousands out of their pockets, and (because the program subsidizes those costs) added enormous amount to the debt. One of the main arguments used by Democrats was when the CBO estimated it would lower America’s deficit around one hundred billion dollars. It’s not great, but it’s a start and better then leaving more people without coverage.

 

The main theme I kept hearing though is that they don’t like the way Obama has governed. With this, I absolutely agree with them. When Andy Borowitz writes about how Democrats are looking for the guy who ran in 2008, you know you’re in trouble. Whether the policy is good or bad, or you agree or disagree, President Obama has not had that same fire as he did on 2008. People voted for change and want to see an aggressive president make them. Whether trying to reach the middle or not, the bully pulpit shouldn’t be used as a threat against the opposing party. It is the stick that all Presidents use to focus the debate and get their legislation passed. Obama didn’t do this during health care and he almost didn’t get anything through Congress.

 

The left is lacking this leadership right now and it’s frustrating. Many people, including myself, voted for Obama thinking this was our moment to make serious changes to Washington, and yes believed it would happen faster. But change takes time, no matter who is in office. And I would still rather have a moderate Democrat who needs to appease me, then a moderate Republican who needs to appease the opposition.

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Filed under Congress, Obama, Poitics

Obama Should Go Nuclear

This whole talk of compromise is bogus. President Obama was able to pass the tax cuts, don’t ask don’t tell, and START, because the public was on his side. Polling consistently showed the American people were in favor of these two issues, and Republicans didn’t want to look like they were not representing the people before they official gained power. But it will be a lot tougher the next two years and it will be important for Obama to pick specific issues that he can claim victory on.

Controlling the White House gives Democrats the ability to set the agenda and control the conversation. That means it is even more important to pick issues that they know they can win political points with since there will be so few of them coming up. By Obama saying he received a shellacking in this election cycle, he down played any new victories that may occur in the future, that way when he does get his initiatives passed through Congress, it is a bigger victory.

If the Republicans goal is to make Obama a one term president, there is no reason to give them an inch of breathing space. The energy legislation that passed the House this past term isn’t going anywhere. While the bill received bipartisan support, it was still a close vote and very contentious. But there are a lot of elements in it that both sides can vote for. One of them is the expansion of nuclear energy.

Obama has consistently said he is in favor of creating more nuclear sites in the United States, and many Republicans have had this on their agenda. The list includes John McCain, Mitch McConnell, and soon to be the Chairwomen of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Lisa Murkowski. There will be plenty of quotes that can be used to contradict what these Senators will be saying if Obama decides to push this issue. But it is one that he needs to use the bully pulpit in order to get what he wants.

The microphone is going to be set on high for this one too. There are a lot of Not In My Back Yard issues when it comes to nuclear power. People either think of Chernobyl or Three Mile Island and do not want an instance such as that to effect their communities. Both of these accidents were caused by human error, unlike the BP oil spill which was caused by human error. That’s why the Department of Justice is suing BP believing the disaster could have been avoided. More regulation will be needed for the new nuclear plants, but it is hard to make an argument that current plants and refineries don’t need it either.

One of the factors involved with using nuclear technology is where to store the waste that comes from using the material. But while there are currently 104 nuclear power plants operating in the United States, the amount of material that would have to be stored would cover seven yards on a football field. The technology for storing this material has been improved insurmountable since the last two nuclear accidents.

While building new nuclear plants are expensive, there is still plenty of money to be made from building them, particularly with the right incentives that the federal government can provide. In the meantime, the money that is being spent will create jobs. That’s why other countries like England are planning to build more of them. And I haven’t gotten into the environmental benefits of using more nuclear power.

One of the reasons Obama had such a hard time with the media is because he was not specific enough in what he wanted. The public option was the prime example. The official position was “I’m in favor of a public option, but it does not have to be in the final bill for the bill to be effective.” While policy junkies or people who work in the health sector may have understood what he was saying, it was confusing. And it didn’t allow him to own the issue and take credit for the pieces of legislation that will benefit people.

The White House needs to keep it short and understandable. Not everyone is a physicist and kept up on the news coming out of the nuclear sector. Next year Obama is going to have to stop trying to teach, and needs to preach instead.

 

 

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Filed under Carbon dioxide, Energy, Environment, global warming, Jobs, Nuclear, Obama, Poitics