I believe that President Obama’s proposals to reform American society and set the economy on a path to sustainable growth are not just the best hope for a better world but the only hope. Yet he faces savage opposition.
To thinking people it is obvious that his opponents have no solutions of their own; they offer nothing more than blanket condemnation of his plans. But their tactics seem to be working. His approval ratings have declined and public disapproval of his leadership has grown (see chart above). A usually reliable Rasmussen poll shows that only 36 percent of the nation’s voters now “strongly approve” of the way Obama is performing his role as President and 31 percent “strongly disapprove.” Overall, 56 percent of voters say they approve of the President’s performance so far. Forty-three percent disapprove.
I attribute this erosion of his popularity to the relentless propaganda campaign being waged by Republicans and complicit members of the media. To understand the reasons for this assault, you must “follow the money.” You know, of course, that commentators like Rush Limbaugh exploit the unintelligent and uninformed to build a following of millions and justify their bloated compensation packages. Limbaugh’s contract with Clear Channel Radio gives him $38 million a year for eight years, plus a signing bonus of about $100 million. With that kind of money at stake, he couldn’t care less whether his irresponsible chatter sabotages his country’s economic recovery. But did you know that special interests are pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the Washington political system in an effort to protect their turf?
Here’s an example of what’s going on. Evan Bayh (photo at left), a senator from Indiana, which is one of the states worst hit by the housing crisis, has recruited some fellow Democrats to oppose Obama’s budget proposals – including a provision to let courts reduce unrealistic mortgages and save homeowners from foreclosure. The banks and other financial institutions are lobbying fiercely against that provision. They would much rather keep the inflated mortgage loans and persuade Congress to pay them off with taxpayers’ money. Check out Bayh’s campaign contributors in the chart below. It’s no wonder that despite being a Democrat, Bayh is working so hard to water down the new President’s budget.
That’s just one example. There are many others. The President is proposing a tax on polluters. Do you imagine that the polluters are taking their medicine like good citizens? Of course not! They spent $450 million last year to lobby Congress, and are spending even more now that Obama is President. The insurance industry isn’t happy about Obama’s plan to make them bid competitively for Medicare participation. Banks and other student lenders oppose Obama’s proposal to lend money directly to students instead of paying the institutions to do the lending. Oil and gas companies are fighting to retain $30 billion in tax breaks, which Obama wants to divert to renewable energy research. And on and on…
To understand why politicians vote the way they do, you have to know who contribute to their campaigns, who their friends and business associates are and even who their wives or husbands work for. Washington is a web of corruption and self interest, and President Obama is going to have his hands full trying to implement policies that benefit the American public rather than some favored company or group.
Those of us who don’t have a personal ax to grind – who are simply interested in seeing America and the world recover from an economic disaster that could bring famine, war and pestilence – must keep the faith in the face of the concerted and well funded assault on the new President. And we need to write letters to newspapers, publish blogs on the internet, add our comments to blogs, articles and television shows discussing the budget, talk to our friends and associates…
This is a fight between good and evil, and we cannot let evil triumph.