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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Answering an Obama Believer

In an earlier post G-man posed a question to Obama supporters:
For all those who voted for Obama, your will has been imposed upon the rest of us. Now what? Specifically, what changes are you hoping to see?
To be sure, a reasonable request given the frenetic Obama media hype of the campaign coverage.

One reader took G-man up on it and replied with a lengthy and thoughtful comment. We here at Boots On appreciate such efforts, even if we completely disagree with the conclusions, as they provide a basis to discuss and debate the contrary viewpoints at a time when we as a nation can ill afford to get some fundamental things wrong.

In my view, Obama and his supporters are dead wrong about just about everything. What follows is the Obama supporter's views on what he feels the new administration needs to pursue (in italics) interspersed with my rebuttal points:
Some things I look forward to in an Obama Presidency:

1. Respectfully restore America's credibility with the rest of the world. Citizens of the world rightfully celebrated when Obama was elected, which shows the greater respect we can expect to get over the next four years. You may not think this is very important, but a lot of us do. It is a national security issue as well. People who like us are less likely to attack us.
The United States of America is the greatest country in the history of the world and is the most credible when it is strong and can be counted on by friends and enemies alike to keep its word and not be pushed around by lesser nations. Americans should not be ashamed of, or try to live down American exceptionalism. Innovation and productivity is unbounded when men and women are masters of their own destiny and limited only by their God-given talents, ingenuity, and willingness to work hard. The American concept of limited government by and for the people as defined in the US Constitution has been proven to work better than any other in history.

Check out how this was so eloquently expressed back when we had a real, not to mention qualified, President:

In just over 200 years this country rose from a harsh wilderness to become the greatest nation in the history of the world by virtually any measure. Why is that? We are genetically no different than the rest of humanity. It's because we were free to build a country based God-given liberties and freedom and the right to own property and keep what we produced.

Modern socialism/populism/liberalism looks to tinker with or outright destroy some of the key reasons for our success, which is why the prospect of an Obama presidency, along with a Pelosi/Reid congress, scares the hell out of many of us. And how much of this country's perceived lack of credibility is directly attributable to the "blame America first crowd" that primarily resides on the political left?

So-called "citizens of the world" who celebrated Obama's election are jazzed because they get the impression that America's power and prestige will be reduced to be more on a par with lesser nations as Obama tries to make the country more like Europe. When it comes down to it, a lot of the "disrespect" for America is actually jealousy and envy. If other countries of the world got their act together and set their people free they too could enjoy the prosperity that comes with liberty.

Yes, people who like us are less likely to attack us. But there will always be people who are jealous of our success or have been brain-washed by their repressive governments who use us as a scapegoat on who to blame the misery of their people that was caused by their inferior system of government. These people will attack us if there is a political or material gain to do so and if they can get away with it. It may not be politically correct, but peace through superior firepower is the most effective way of dealing with these types of nations.
2. Unite the country to work together for a common cause, and abolish the "two Americas" mentality of the Bush Regime. End Bush's tax cuts for people that don't need them. End "compassionate conservatism." Tax and spend, and instead of growing our debt to Communist China, lets start paying for what we purchase.
Just what the hell is the "'two Americas' mentality of the Bush Regime"? What criteria defines which one of the two a given American is a member of? Could the division possibly be made along the lines of those who are willing to use their creativity, talent, hard work, and sacrifice to create their own situation and those who think, and demand that, society owes them a living? And who the hell are you, or anyone else, to determine how much wealth a given person needs or gets to keep?

No nation has ever taxed itself into prosperity. Such folly merely redistributes wealth without creating more of it and cedes individual liberties to the government. Maybe so much wealth would not flow to Communist China if our government lifted the tax burden and regulatory restrictions from our businesses that make it difficult to compete with other countries.
I can't believe more conservatives aren't outraged with Bush's fiscal irresponsibility. I wish I could get a tax cut every year, but that's not putting country first. Not during wartime or times of domestic spending is it good for our economy to cut taxes.
Most real Conservatives (not to be lumped in with "moderate" or RINO Republicans as the media often does) are outraged with Bush's fiscal irresponsibility and have harshly criticized him for it. There would be no call for a tax cut every year if our current confiscatory taxes were permanently reduced to a level sufficient to finance the legitimate functions of government as defined by the Constitution and no more. Reducing taxes to a minimum is putting country first as it creates an expanding economy, encourages investment and innovation, and create an environment where people can prosper.

Low taxes are always good - learn it, live it, love it! Raising taxes beyond what the government legitimately needs actually ends up producing less revenue for the government as the economy will contract and there will be less taxable activity. People have no problem with paying taxes as long as the taxes are used for a legitimate purpose of government (e.g. defending the country or guaranteeing its security). Taxes collected for the purpose of transferring wealth from people who earned it to those who did not while creating political power for those directing the transfer is downright immoral and should be rigorously opposed.
3. Responsibly leave Iraq. Start holding the Iraqis accountable for their own country. It has been 5 years now. We have waged a war on a verb, terrorism, which could go on for another 100 years if we keep the same mentality. If you disagree, then tell me - when should it end? When every last terrorist is killed? More will come as long as we are there. Our presence is creating future terrorists, as we are occupying a Muslim-based country. If you don't believe that, the Google Muslim Jihad - and then you may have to concede that there is no end in sight as long as we're there.

Give the Iraqis an ultimatum on taking responsibility and control of THEIR country. We have spent billions a month, and ruined hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides both physically and emotionally. The money we spend, a good lot of which goes to the round-the-clock training of their military and police forces. Will they ever be ready? When?

Conservatives preach responsibility, so let's pass the torch, save some lives and money, and consistently push them to be accountable for their own.
We should leave Iraq when it is in our best national interests to do so. We are starting to hold the Iraqis responsible for their own country and will continue to do so. There are legitimate arguments that the transition may not be fast enough, but pulling out prematurely will cost far more in both monetary and non-monetary entities than the waste inherent in too slow of a transition.

We will never totally wipe out terrorism, but we need to stay until it has been controlled to a point where it is no longer a significant factor with respect to threatening our interests or those of the Iraqi government. I don't buy the nonsense that our presence in Iraq is creating future terrorists. Normal human beings don't want to be terrorists - they do so only when they or their government makes the determination that they can achieve their economic, religious, or other goals through such action. Once a free economy and civil security is established in Iraq terrorism will die off, literally and figuratively.
4. Make healthcare affordable to all, and give the people a choice of both private and public healthcare. Force private healthcare to be innovative and competitive with the threat of losing customers. This is how business operates in our country; cutthroat with competition.
And just how do we make health care affordable (whatever that is) to all? Health care, like any other commodity, will become affordable to all when it is produced and traded within a free marketplace that self-regulates pricing. The current high cost of health care is due primarily to government interference and over-regulation of both the health care delivery and the insurance sectors. Adding more government will only exacerbate the problem!

Like any other commodity, health care is produced by people or groups of people. What legitimate authority does the government have to dictate to a health care provider how much he/she can charge for their products or services, or what an insurer has to cover? If a business prices their products or services beyond what the consumers of them can or are willing to pay they will go out of business and someone else will move in with wares that satisfy the demands of the marketplace. For that matter, just where is the federal government Constitutionally authorized to provide "public health care"?

"Force private health care to be innovative and competitive with the threat of losing customers"???? Just how in the hell is that done? Where does the government get the right to dictate to a consumer who they can and can't buy health care from, or who a health care provider can sell to? Competition occurs naturally when the government keeps its sizable nose out of the marketplace. Forcing compliance to government edicts drives many buyers and sellers underground to escape the punitive environment and causes higher prices for those who decide to play the game according to the government's rules.
As a side note: Newsweek magazine reports that McCain's healthcare plan would have been more expensive than Obama's to taxpayers.
Expensive to whom? Contrary to popular liberal belief, the government does not own all of the wealth in this country to redistribute as it sees fit. In any case, Newsweek is hardly an unbiased or widely accepted authority on such matters with shallow or liberally biased analysis at best.

Several credible economists (e.g. John Lott, Walter Williams) have stated that the basic premise of McCain's plan would actually drive health care costs down for consumers through improved competition, ownership, portability, tax benefits, and the lifting of the financial burden on employers to provide health care. Obama's plan on the other hand pushes people toward dependence on the government for their health care which is the first step toward full-blown socialized medicine, which has been a dismal failure everywhere it has ever been tried.
5. End gov't subsidies for ethanol production, which has been proven to be more costly, dirty, and energy inefficient than gasoline.
We have absolutely no disagreement here. Government subsides on anything should be kept at the absolute minimum with a goal of none. But do you really think Obama will actually do this? Personally I very much doubt it.
6. Invest across the board in clean, alternative energy such as solar, wind, and hydrogen. Reward those who come up with new ideas and inventions. This should be our greatest national security priority. When we end our addiction to oil, we can also end some of the business we do with the people who hate us. Our need for oil causes us to transfer our hard-earned wealth to some of the world's most evil people. Oil is a negative investment all-around for the American people.
First, government never "invests" - it spends. This is yet another example of how liberalism has co-opted our language for its own nefarious purposes (raising taxes without taking the political heat).

We already have a mechanism to reward those who come up with new ideas and inventions - personal freedom and the free marketplace. Clean energy will happen on its own over time when someone has the ingenuity and diligence to come up with a way to make it economically and practically feasible. The typewriter is practically extinct because some very creative and talented people developed the hardware, software, marketing, and distribution mechanisms to create the personal computer. This wasn't by any government decree or investment. If and when so-called clean energy is economically and practically viable it will drive fossil fuels from the marketplace.

We have no "addiction to oil", no more than we have an addiction to air and water. We have a robust economy that requires energy to keep it going and petroleum based fuels happen to offer the best overall balance of performance, practicality, economy, and environmental friendliness of the fuels available. We do obtain too much of our oil from people who hate us mainly because of political policies that make it more economically feasible to buy from others rather than to produce our own. We have plenty of oil, the best technology available to cleanly obtain it, and the people to do the job. All we are lacking is the freedom from government regulation. We have enough oil to keep America running well into the future until it is replaced by practical and economically viable solar, wind, hydrogen, and other technologies that do not yet exist. Also keep in mind that petroleum products are used for the production of many products as well as for producing energy. And don't forget that petroleum is used for much more than fuel, including life saving medical equipment, consumer products, and industrial products.
7. End the politics of fear. Be as up-front as safely possible with the people on the real threats we are facing. We live in some of the most dangerous times in history, but unnecessary scare tactics don't work for anyone.
Just what are the "politics of fear"? Fear can be a powerful motivator to get people to take both positive and negative actions and a skilled manipulator can induce a desired outcome. Seems to me that liberals and socialists are masters of creating a sense of fear to advance their social and bureaucratic agenda and are just as guilty, if not more so, than the political right of using fear to advance an agenda. The only difference is the object or desired behavior induced by the created fear.

That being said, liberal policies of the past are largely responsible for the danger of current times and I advocate that Conservatives should be up front about disseminating this truth as a means to explain why threats are being dealt with the way they are and to assure that the same mistakes, or worse are not made again. Oops! Too late! Obama masterfully used fear, class envy, political correctness (would Obama be where he is today if he were a white guy named Barry O'Bama with the same meager resume and troubling associations?) as well as other Alinsky tactics, to con the American people to putting him into the White House (God help us!).
Abolish the color coding "terrorism threat" chart, as it is vague and isn't helpful for ordinary citizens to prepare for an attack.
As with the ethanol subsidies we have no disagreement here. The whole concept is lame and childish and plays to a dumbed-down American electorate. It's a prime example of what happens when government bureaucrats get involved in almost anything.
8. End wasteful defense spending while maintaining the general strength of the military. Liberals and Independents are not "pantywaists" or "touchy-feelys", rather they are mostly educated and rational people. How can some conservatives say that there is so much wasteful spending everywhere else, but not acknowledge our current defense budget of world conquest proportions? Surely there is waste when the Pentagon accounts for ~50% of total spending.
Defense is actually a legitimate Constitutional function of government, social programs are not. We have spent far more on the social programs of the New Deal and Great Society than we have spent on defense (and I question your "50% of spending figure), and we get something in return for defense spending (the poverty rate is about the same today as it was at the start of the Great Society programs). I won't argue that there is wasteful spending in the Defense sector, but liberals want to cut functional components of the defense budget (missile systems, bombers, etc). I have no problem with cutting waste.
Reallocate that $10 billion a month we spend in Iraq to solve our domestic problems. Stop pouring our money into the Middle East and keep it here. How about an all out war on poverty to go with all of our other wars raging at the moment?
Much of the money we spend in Iraq is in salaries and human asset support, and a good portion of that will get spent whether the troops are in Iraq, some other country, or on stand-by. The remainder is the cost of prosecuting a war and securing the gains we have made. Again, I have no problem cutting waste as long as we don't short change those that our putting their lives on the line for our safety.

Lyndon Johnson proclaimed a "war" on poverty, initiated the spending of trillions of dollars, and poverty has not been meaningfully reduced. Poverty is cured by a civil society and a robust economy, not throwing money at people and programs.
9. Raise teacher salaries across the board and give them greater incentive to get the job done. Overhaul the ineffective (but good idea) No Child Left Behind policy. Also, I think we can all agree on the need to make the system transparent to the public, so the "Education Burecracy" will be responsible for their spending.

Teachers are grossly underpaid in this country. On average, teachers with a four year degree earn between $43,580 and $48,690 annually(bls.gov). That is much less than the average businessmen makes. Teachers are directly attributable to our future national security as well as domestic conditions. Look at the South's spending on education; and then look at the living conditions in some of those states. Directly attributable to uneducated people who continue to vote for the "non-spenders" who don't think education is unimportant. Our children are our greatest resource, well above our wealth.
Who gets to determine what professions are over or under paid? When raw sewage is seeping into your basement all of the sudden the services of a good plumber (the same one you thought was overpriced when he fixed your drippy faucet) seem to be well worth the cost (and not because the plumber will have more wealth for Obama to spread around).

Why not let the free market determine what a teacher's services are worth? No one forces people into the profession so there must be some incentive, maybe not purely monetary, to get into it. As a practical matter, teachers in government schools cannot continually get raises based on tenure as their function is one of overhead as opposed to a revenue producer.

It may not be politically correct to say, but if an "average businessman" who produces a tangible good or service increases their productivity such that the company makes more money there is an economic case to give him a raise. The teaching profession, though important, nobel, etc. does not inherently become more productive over time (unless class sizes are increased so as to cut costs via less teachers). Unfortunately this is how the highly unionized government education system forces teacher compensation and requires a constant influx of "new" revenue sources to keep the game going.

In the free market, where teachers at for-profit schools produce better educated students (if they don't the enterprise folds as their customer base goes elsewhere), the market sets the pay of teachers based on the satisfaction of the consumers of the product. There are many definitions of what constitutes a "good" education and the free market can accommodate all of them through competition and voluntary exchange of goods and services.

Perhaps the time has come to realize, as politically incorrect as it may sound at first, that government school teaching may be an entry level position where many workers have to move on to private sector jobs when they require more income than the job can pay based on real world market economics. Contrary to liberal belief, taxpayers are not a bottomless source of funding, especially when the economy is not strong.

"Our children are our greatest resource, well above our wealth" - this is pure touchy-feely liberal bravo sierra. The creation of individual wealth is the catalyst for anything constructive to get done and to keep on going. And our children are not a "resource" - they are free individuals, not governmental assets, who should be free to pursue their goals and ambitions as far as their abilities and willingness to work hard will take them.

Productive people improve society in general through the goods and services they produce. Children should get a good education (and they should also brush their teeth after eating, but the government has not stepped into this area - yet), but the education of children is primarily the responsibility of the parents, not the government.

Incidentally, "No Child Left Behind" was a terrible, unrealistic big government idea (there will always be some students incapable or unwilling of doing what it takes to get a good education) that President Bush should be harshly criticized for and is an example of what happens when a well meaning moderate gets involved with "getting things done" with liberals and socialists and straying from what government can and should be involved in.

As far as "uneducated people" voting, I'll agree that is a problem as it promotes elected officials who tend to pander to people looking for government handouts. Education is important, and the government has pretty much proved that it fails miserably when it tries to provide it. Get the government out of education and we will have a better educated population as well as higher paid teachers as productive members of the private sector.
10. Stop killing our environment in the name of a profit. Spend money to protect it. Contrary to popular Republican beliefs, it does not fix itself.
"Killng our enviroment"? So much for stopping the "politics of fear".

Without profits there would be no environmental stewardship. Do you think poverty stricken people in third world countries give a rat's patoot about whether or not the fire they build to keep from freezing and to cook their food pollutes the environment? The most prosperous areas of the world are generally the cleanest while the most backward ones are the dirtiest.

The air and water in the US are currently cleaner than they have been in the last 100 years. Environmental extremists who tie an anti-capitalist agenda to unrealistic environmental goals are not going to make the planet significantly cleaner by driving companies out of business in the name of "saving the planet". The planet is doing just fine, and will continue to do so without resorting to militant environmentalism.
11. Lastly, Make government more transparent. This is an area where I think conservatives, independents, and liberals can agree on. Obama has promised a line-by-line spending analysis, and I hope that he can deliver it. Only then will the PEOPLE be able to prioritize our goals.
Transparency in government is good, but more importantly government should be made smaller. PEOPLE should not continually be engaged in a game of "Captain, may I?" with their government. The government should not be confiscating nearly half of the wealth produced by a nation for the primary purpose of redistributing it to buy votes. We don't need every aspect of our daily lives regulated, monitored, and protected by government. We don't need higher prices on goods and services due to silly reporting requirements, government imposed fines, etc. We definitely don't need a socialist or a government bureaucracy to deliver a bogus spending analysis to be able to prioritize our goals.
What I DON'T look forward to:

His abortion policies. Along with War and the death penalty, I believe that humans should not be able to "play God" with human life and choose who lives and dies.
Let's just call Obama's abortion "policies" exactly what they are: state condoned and sponsored infanticide.

War is sometimes an ugly necessity (where would we be if we didn't successfully prosecute and win the World Wars?), and would be much more rare in a world of free people. How many free countries start unprovoked wars? When we do get involved in a war we need to kick ass and end it ASAP. Self defense and preservation is not "playing God" and is morally just. And if the rest of the world knows we will do that they will be far less likely to do anything that could possibly cause us to have to go to war with them.

Admittedly, sincere thinking people can disagree on this, but I believe the death penalty is sometimes the only way to assure that those who do evil things never do them again. It is clearly morally justified in scripture as well as in the Constitution.
His 2nd Amendment policies. However, I do not believe the ridiculous accusations that he will destroy the 2nd Amendment. Come on people, do you think Congress will vote 2/3s majority on that? He is not going to take our guns away. I just hope that taxes on guns and ammunition don't get too high. A low tax increase would be reasonable to me.
Obama and his anti-gun cronies can effectively circumvent the Second Amendment through onerous bureaucracy, mandatory registration, ridiculous "safety" and "child proofing" requirements, "assault weapon" bans, "reasonable" controls, zoning regulations, and taxation, and probably a lot of other ways I can't think of. You're right insofar as Congress not having the testicular fortitude to actually attempt an outright repeal of the Second Amendment so there would not be any formal effort as any politician who supported it would likely be tossed in the next election.

Why would any tax increase on anything be reasonable to you when the government already taxes us as confiscatory levels?
The fairness doctrine. I agree with you that it is unconstitutional, and directly goes against American values. However, it should be pointed out that there have been conflicting reports on what President Obama will do on this issue.
Obama is dancing around the issue, but has a history of silencing opposition (back to the Alinsky tactics). He has indicated his support of local programming mandates, government "oversight", and the people he is/was surrounding himself with are largely in favor of it. He doesn't even have to get his fingerprints on re-instating the so-called "fairness doctrine". All he has to do is appoint the "right" person in June when the next opening comes up and the stacked FCC will do the dirty work for him.
Barack Obama is not my messiah. And I did not vote for him until I knew what he stood for. Your accusation that most people don't know what they voted for is offensive at best. Yes, many African-Americans undeniably voted for him because he is Black. But he wouldn't have won majorities in almost every other demographic, including whites and the elderly, without intelligent people voting for him. Just because you disagree with us, doesn't automatically make us unintelligent. Anyone who believes that should first look inwards to see where the real irony and stupidity lies. We just wanted a new set of ideas, because the old ones weren't working for us.
I'm glad to hear BHO is not your messiah, but I question if he isn't THE ONE for millions of his supporters.

I did not vote against Obama because he was "black" or had a "funny name" or any other reason other than I believe he does not have the character, intelligence, disposition, or core guiding principles to hold the most powerful office in the world. He is the most unvetted and unqualified candidate to ever run for the office, let alone be elected to it. And those of us on the Right have posted a lot of evidence to bolster our case that your side generally refuses to address or outright lies about.

The "new" set of ideas you cite are not new by any standard - they have been repeatedly tried in the past and elsewhere and in most cases have been an abject failure and have often led to reductions in wealth, property, and freedom.
Give him a chance. Like it or not, you will have to live with him for the next 4 years. He hasn't even started his Presidency and you all are claiming the apocalypse. That, to me, is an extremely unintelligent mindset.
"Give him a chance"? Like your side gave President Bush a chance? Look at the graciousness and courtesies President Bush has extended to Senator Obama and his family, both in words and actions, and contrast it with how the outgoing Clinton Administration dragged its feet and arguably even sabotaged the transition process for the incoming administration.

The media and the left (a bit redundant, I know) has mercilessly and unfairly trashed the Bush Administration for things beyond their control, imposed ever changing standards of judgment, and, quite frankly, outright lied to advance their anti-Bush agenda. There are many things President Bush and his administration did wrong and deserve legitimate criticism for (of which much has come from the Right). If Clinton had been judged by the same standards he would not have survived impeachment or maybe never would have even had a second term. Criticism from the Right against Obama for the most part is on specific policies and associations and the media has so far given him a free pass not to answer.

We on the Right are not claiming the apocalypse, but we do know what has happened throughout history when people with dangerous socialistic and statist ideas like Obama acquire power, and we will damn well sound the warning in an attempt to head off disaster. Intelligent people learn from the past mistakes of others as well as their own.

There are plenty of examples throughout history of what can happen when a charismatic demagogue with an unbounded ego assumes power. They are generally associated with policies and have consequences that we don't want, and cannot afford to repeat.
Much respect,

Much respect, though with profound disagreement, back at ya (but please come up with a better handle then "Anonymous")!

Agree? Disagree? The comment floor is open...

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