How President Obama Can Win My Approval, Part 2

On domestic and social issues, we have the following:

(1) Energy: Yes, we must invest in renewable energies for the future.  I think a broad consensus of Americans can agree on that.  But we also must recognize that the market is not yet ripe for a major transition in that direction.  We must, therefore, build a bridge to renewable energy by using our own oil and coal resources in the meantime.  Nuclear energy is a clean option that we should be exploiting right now far more than we do. 

At some gas stations around here you can buy a gallon of unleaded gasoline for under $2.00 a gallon.  This would have been unimaginable just as recently as this past summer.  What has caused this price tumble, giving much-needed economic relief to Americans?  Well, the economy has slowed down for one.  We are using less oil as a result.  But let us not forget that Congress just recently allowed a ban on offshore drilling to expire.  Senator Obama said during his campaign that drilling for oil offshore would take years to develop (he is right about that) and that it would only save us pennies in the meantime (he is wrong about that, as the facts now show us).  President Obama can win my approval by warming up to our use of our own conventional energy supplies (and they are abundant!) while the market is still developing widespread renewable resources. 

(2) Fiscal Policy: I support President Obama’s declared intent to go line-by-line through the federal budget and cut relentlessly all programs that are wasteful, redundant, or counterproductive.  I hope he follows through on that promise.  We must cut government spending.  Now is not the time to expand government entitlements.  Entitlements account for an enormous portion of the federal budget, and once they get passed there really is no undoing them.  The more we continue to add, the bigger the financial hole we dig for ourselves as we obligate ourselves to present and future generations to do all sorts of things for them that government never did in the past.  Philosophically, I cannot agree with President Obama that healthcare is a basic human right.  It is not the government’s responsibility to ensure that every American has healthcare.  But since he is going down that road anyway, I would say that, to this point, he has not advocated a single-payer healthcare system.  I would prefer that we avoid going down that road and look for solutions that incorporate the free market. 

(3) Taxes: Obama repeatedly promised 95% of all Americans a tax cut.  To my ears, that sounds like our taxes will not go up but rather down.  That must mean that he intends to renew the Bush tax cuts for 95% of all Americans and then add more tax cuts on top of that.  If he allows the Bush tax cuts to expire in 2010 (at least for the middle class), then that action in itself would constitute a tax hike, which would in turn break his promise to the middle class that their taxes would not go up.  I would be very disappointed if he did that.  He must renew the Bush tax cuts for the middle class as part of his tax strategy to lower the tax burden on 95% of Americans.  Promising that our taxes will go down only after he allows them to go back up after the expiration of the Bush tax cuts is not really promising a tax cut at all.  I wish he wouldn’t raise taxes on anybody (as he plans to do for those who earn over a certain amount), especially during a recession.  I think that would be disastrous for the economy.  But there seems to be no way of deterring him from that action, and I really don’t see any common ground between raising taxes or not raising them.

(4) Supreme Court Appointments: Again, there is little possibility of common ground here.  I want to see more justices in the mold of Thomas and Scalia; he wants more in the mold of Ginsburg.  He may stand to do the greatest damage to our country here.  Nevertheless, if, by some fluke, he happens to appoint centrist judges more in the mold of O’Connor, that would be fine with me.  I don’t envision that happening, however. 

(5) Abortion: President Obama has dug himself into a hole on this one.  On the one hand, he promised his base that he would give priority to the Freedom of Choice Act, the most radical piece of abortion legislation in history.  Now his base expects him to move us farther to the left on abortion than we are now.  And yet, the majority of the country does not support that kind of abortion policy, so if he follows through with his promise, he risks alienating the majority of Americans and showing himself to be the true extremist that he is.  His hope may be that he can sign the bill without anyone noticing except the base, and the media will certainly give him cover on it.  But don’t think Republicans and pro-life organizations won’t be able to get the message out if he does sign it.  So, here’s what I want him to do: break his promise to the base.  He has broken promises for political purposes before (public funding for the campaign, for example); why not do it again?  Do not sign the Freedom of Choice Act.  If we can just avoid veering farther to the left during an Obama presidency, I would be happy with that result.

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