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Monday, May 2, 2011

President Obama, I Commend You:

In a moment of supreme irony clearly orchestrated by a Divinity with a sense of humor, Obama killed Osama yesterday. This is great news. I was extremely pleased, and proud of our intelligence agencies and special forces, who flawlessly completed the most important intelligence operation ever.

It was President Obama's judgment call to make the attack on Osama's compound, with imperfect intelligence and the risk of offending Pakistan and/or looking foolish when the cradle turned up empty. Even though other men throughout the country contributed to Osama's death, the buck stops at the White House. This is Obama's accomplishment. For the same reason, even though many people contributed to building the nuclear bomb, it was ultimately Truman who decided to use it, bringing a swift victory to the Allied forces over Japan. Truman deserves credit for winning World War II, and Obama deserves credit for taking out the mastermind of 9/11.

President Bush did not prevent 9/11. Nor did he capture or kill Osama bin Laden. He did get us into a completely unrelated war over non-existent WMD, but when it came to actually defending America, he was AWOL. When asked about Osama bin Laden, Bush would regularly dismiss the man as unimportant, as though the mastermind of an event that killed 3,000 people and cost the USA 1 trillion dollars was 'unimportant.' He shrugged off Osama as living in 'a cave' somewhere, out of touch with the world, or 'already dead.' Now we learn that Osama bin Laden was easily in touch with the rest of Al Qaeda, in a nice mansion, living it up with a young wife and anything else he could desire. Thanks a lot Bush. You really showed Osama bin Laden what for.

Obama's success is further proof of Bush's complete failure. If Obama could do it, why couldn't Bush? Was Bush even trying to capture bin Laden? Did he even give a damn? Bush had eight years to capture or kill bin Laden, but instead deflected his responsibility to track down and kill this terror mastermind, saying he no longer mattered. Obama has been in office for little over two years and he managed to find and eliminate bin Laden. This shines well on Obama, but even more than that, it makes me furious with George Bush, who was apparently too busy landing on aircraft carriers for publicity stunts to actually conduct a successful war on terror, or follow up on any leads that might defeat Al Qaeda. President Bush has just been shown that the American people did not ask the impossible, when they asked for bin Laden's head. He just wasn't up to the job. Any other president could do it in 1/4 the time, and without getting us into a ridiculous red herring war. Shame on Bush for using 9/11 to invade Iraq. And shame on Bush for not responding as he should have after 9/11 -- by capturing or killing the criminal responsible for the crime. We had to wait for 10 years for justice to be done because we had to endure eight years of his disastrous presidency.

Obama should also be praised for finally releasing his long form birth certificate, with a doctor's signature and all the dotted i's and crossed t's, proving he really was born in Hawaii. For whatever reason, president Obama chose to conceal the proof of his constitutional legitimacy to be our president for the last two years. Now he's done what was right and proper all along, by sharing with the American people thorough and detailed proof of his natural born status. If he had revealed this birth certificate from the start, there never would have been such a thing as a 'birther' movement. Now that he has revealed his long form birth certificate, the issue will naturally fade away. I condemn Obama for creating this artificial controversy by not being transparent, like he promised to be before he was elected, but I commend him for changing his mind and releasing the proof America needed to see.

That's not all. Obama has succeeded in two tough negotiations with Congress in the recent past. One was his renegotiation of the Bush tax cuts, which Bush had disastrously given a 'sunset clause' for 2010. Businesses and individuals were gripped in the paralysis of not knowing what our future tax rates would be on a variety of issues, from incomes to dividends to capital gains to estate taxes. This is no way to run a country. It is truly macabre to zero out the estate tax for a single year, then allow it to bounce back to 40% or whatever it was before the Bush tax cuts were instituted. But Bush, one of the worst presidents of all time, didn't care about the problems his 'sunset clause' would cause future presidencies. Like his irresponsible youth, he irresponsibly left all the problems of his era to future governments -- Osama bin Laden, the resolution to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, an economy gripped in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and a chaotic tax law set to violently convulse like a ticking time bomb.

Could Bush have been a worse president if he had been trying?

In any event, it was president Obama who has been fixing these issues one by one. He renegotiated the Bush tax cuts for another two years, he killed Osama, he ended our war in Iraq, and I suspect he will now end our war in Afghanistan, since the job is now complete -- we got our man -- and we had already set deadlines for troop withdrawals in the near future. Obama's stimulus bill pulled us out of Bush's great recession. When Obama took office, the stock market was nearing 6,000. Today it's nearly 13,000. The economy has completely recovered and is stronger than at any previous time in US history. God knows where we'd be if Bush had stayed in office for another two years. We couldn't afford even one more day with Bush in office. But with Obama in office, the economy has gone up continuously. Maybe that will change, but until it does, Obama should be commended for his stewardship of the economy. Like I said before -- the buck stops at the White House, and if you have responsibility for something when it goes wrong, you also deserve credit for something when it goes right.

President Obama also reached a reasonable compromise with a Republican House in the latest 2011 budget, when it looked like the government was going to shut down for lack of government's will to simply carry out its designated duties. It's shameful for Congress to not do whatever it takes to do their jobs. The American people don't care what hypothetical ideals you stand for -- we want a government in Washington D.C., not a circus act. Govern responsibly, pass budgets, fund agencies, and let's get on with things. Save the debates for election time -- between elections, accept reality that the government is split and no one can hope to completely get their own way. Obama has twice now shown his willingness to compromise for the greater good. He will probably do so again when Congress agrees to raise the debt limit. No one else has seemed as reasonable and flexible as the President has in these contentious times.

I do not approve of Obama's handling of Libya. I'm fine with taking out a terrorist dictator who twice conducted attacks on American citizens, but what sense is there in starting, then stopping, a bombing campaign? If we're going to start a job, we also need to finish it. In this case, that means killing or capturing Qaddafi and bringing him to the same justice for his terrorism as bin Laden was brought to justice for his. I don't care if that takes ten aircraft carrier fleets bombing Libya around the clock, or a ground invasion and occupation of the capital. Once you start a war, you have to win it. America's pride and reputation are on the line. Can dictators really thumb their noses at the US military and ignore all of our president's warnings and demands? Are we just a paper tiger, or do we have teeth? Obama must commit to the Libyan war with the full power of the US military until the issue is settled and Qaddafi neutralized. But who knows, maybe he's leading a secret forces operation to do just that, away from the headlines, just like he secretly led an operation to kill bin Laden. After that show of competency, I'm willing to give him a little more trust when it comes to this terrorist thug.

Obama's presidency is marred by an inchoate health care law that literally taxes the poor (through enforced buying of health insurance by young, healthy people who don't need it) and gives to the rich (health insurance companies, drug companies, old people swimming in money + free government benefits, etc). It is my hope that the Supreme Court will shoot this law down before it ever comes into effect. Beyond that, however, he has proven himself more competent at both foreign and domestic policy than his predecessor. He is a true commander and chief, who wins wars and kills evildoers, and he is a true policymaker in chief, who has restored our economy and negotiated compromises in Congress. He's even a natural born citizen.

I suspect that with this, Obama's reelection bid is decided. No Republican candidate can possibly boast the credentials that Obama now has. A good economy, bin Laden's head on a spike, and a birth certificate, vs. who? Vs. what? Retreads from the previous election that Obama soundly won. Oh, that's brilliant.

But I also suspect Congress will tilt even further Republican, which will create a divided government in 2012. Perhaps that is for the best. Republicans won't be able to do crazy stuff they want, like getting rid of food stamps because the poor don't deserve to eat, but democrats won't be able to do their crazy stuff either, like passing cap and trade and destroying our energy industry, which is the foundation of any modern economy. Roll on 2012. And thank goodness for term limits. George Bush should now go rot in a cave for his complete lies, and complete dereliction of duty, concerning Osama bin Laden. Obama should get a medal.

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