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Friday, October 21, 2016

Tom Allen has a unique understanding of congressional dysfunction and the challenges of bipartisan governing. As a U.S. representative from Maine’s 1st district, for over a decade Allen was on the front lines of debates over the federal budget, the invasion of Iraq, and health care reform, among other key issues. 

In his new book, Dangerous ConvictionsAllen details how both Democrats and Republicans struggle to understand opposing views, which often makes compromise nearly impossible. In the excerpt below, Allen uses the battle over health care reform to illustrate our broken political system. 

You can purchase the book here.

The congressional debates over health care reform during the Bush and Obama administrations exposed the underlying clash of ideas and values that breeds the polarization about which the press and public complain. I spoke to countless rooms of people about the crisis in the American health care system. Often, the room was divided between those who believed health care should be available to everyone, regardless of wealth, and a smaller number who believed they should not be required to share the costs of illnesses or accidents suffered by others. It’s not that the latter group was cruel-hearted; many undoubtedly gave generously to churches, temples, and charitable efforts. But many also harbored the view that the poor brought on their own misfortune. The factions had fundamentally different moral views.

This dichotomy mirrored the various perspectives on the role of government: one believed that only the federal government could expand coverage and contain the excesses of the health insurers, and the other believed in “free markets,” even in health care. Advocates for comprehensive reform typically found it intolerable that millions of Americans lacked both adequate insurance and health care. Opponents typically preferred to do nothing rather than to expand the role of the federal government.

It is harder to understand that attitude among members of Congress, who meet thousands of their constituents every year. I visited subsidized housing facilities whose residents, mostly women, lived on $700 a month and were unable to pay for their prescriptions. I talked with students forced to leave college because of health issues, who then lost their health insurance when they left. My staff dealt with hundreds of constituents struggling with inadequate care and no insurance. The thought often ran through my mind, “How do Republican congressmen respond to these personal stories of neglect and lack of care?” I don’t know.

In short, each side finds the position of the other incomprehensible. That’s why my Democratic colleagues concluded that Republicans must be completely beholden to the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, and Republicans concluded that Democrats wanted to expand the power of government for their own political purposes. The bottom line is that compromise on major reform, even the Affordable Care Act in 2009–10, was never realistic.

Before that bill passed the House I ran into a Republican colleague in Washington. He complained that the minority had been denied the opportunity to offer amendments. But when I suggested that even if given that chance and the amendments passed, he still couldn’t vote for the bill, he agreed. When the congressional minority party, Republican or Democratic, complains about being denied the opportunity to amend a bill, extend the debate, or a similar process issue, the real objection is almost always about the substance. The mainstream media typically gives too much credibility to the red herring of abuse of process claims and not enough to the decisive conflict of values and ideas.

A sign at a Tea Party rally in 2010 read: “Big Government Means Less Individual Freedom.” President Obama told a town hall audience: “I got a letter the other day from a woman. She said, ‘I don’t want government-run health care. I don’t want socialized medicine. And don’t touch my Medicare.’” That’s the level at which major political issues are fought today. The concept that better (or even some) health care, or more education, or improved services for children can create opportunity for Americans rather than limit them, or that government services need not make beneficiaries “dependent” is rarely debated in specifics—where evidence might matter.

When one side will only debate vital public issues in terms of “big government” and “individual freedom” instead of the nuts and bolts of policy, no amount of evidence can stop our slide to intensifying polarization. Meanwhile, the people without adequate care and the businessmen and women struggling to provide coverage for their employees could only wait—and wonder when relief might come. That question for millions is now tied to whether the systemic changes signed into law by President Obama can survive the continued relentless attack from the Right during the next few years.

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The full-throated Republican opposition to the ACA, including the appeal to the Supreme Court, masked the underlying reality that they had no alternative proposal to expand coverage to the more than thirty million (of the fifty million now uninsured) projected to gain coverage under the ACA. I believe that if the Republican leadership had somehow been forced to produce a plan for comparable coverage, they would have relied on a somewhat less regulatory, competitive private insurance market with either an individual mandate or tax penalties or inducements to achieve the same result. In other words, they would have adopted legislation much like the bill they condemned. They had no free-market option that could expand coverage to millions of Americans for whom the current free market was impossibly expensive.

In the last two decades, despite the increasing saliency of health care concerns, no national Republican leader offered a plausible plan to expand coverage. There were, I believe, two reasons: (1) politically it wasn’t necessary to respond to their base, and (2) conceptually they could not escape the confinement of “smaller government, lower taxes.” Those core principles and the absence of any countervailing conservative principles took Republicans out of the health care coverage debate—except to say no to Democratic proposals. In that effort, they isolated the part of the ACA that by its very name would in America arouse intense opposition: the “individual mandate.” For a party sliding down a road of ever-increasing hostility to government, there could hardly have been a more inviting rhetorical target.

The equally troubling conclusion is that the combination of forty million to fifty million uninsured Americans and the financial consequences for American businesses large and small was not enough to make health care reform a pressing issue for both parties. In every congressional district there were thousands of people struggling with the costs and consequences of an inadequate health care system, and hundreds of businesses burdened by rapidly increasing insurance premiums. But that was not enough for Republican congressional leaders to develop an updated version of the 1989 Heritage Plan. The party’s fierce opposition to government action in health care ensured that their only viable political choices were small-bore proposals allowing insurance companies to sell policies across state lines medical malpractice limitations, and health savings accounts. In the end the ACA, although it included significant conservative ideas, attracted only Democratic support.

The legal challenges to the ACA reached the Supreme Court in March 2012. After listening to conservatives on the Supreme Court repeatedly describe the issue as “freedom,” one commentator wrote, “It’s about freedom from our obligations to one another . . . the freedom to ignore the injured, walk away from those in peril . . . the freedom to be left alone . . . the freedom to live like it’s 1804.” The clash of worldviews that played out in the political, legislative, and courtroom debates over Obamacare was intense and irreconcilable primarily because it was so abstract.

In the two years after its enactment Republicans had frequently claimed that they would “repeal and replace Obamacare.” After the Court upheld the law, Sen. Mitch McConnell was pressed three times by Chris Wallace on Fox News to explain how Republicans proposed to cover the thirty million Americans who would be covered under the ACA. McConnell’s response was, “That’s not the issue.”

WALLACE: You don’t think the thirty million people who are uninsured is an issue?

MCCONNELL: Let me tell you what we’re not going to do. We’re not going to turn the American health care system into a western European system.

It would be hard to find a clearer contemporary example of how ideological principles devalue people. Tens of millions of uninsured are “not the issue” because a libertarian ideology has no room for their problems and no respect for “western European” systems that provide near-universal coverage at lower cost and with better health outcomes than our own system. At some point, there is a moral equivalence between leaving millions of Americans stranded with the health and financial risks of being uninsured, and walking by a stranger lying bleeding in the street. And at nearly fifty million insured, we have long passed that point.

In NFIB v. Sebelius the Supreme Court upheld the central components of the ACA, including the individual mandate, although under the taxing power of Congress, not the Commerce Clause. Justice Roberts’s opinion protected the Court from being perceived as an institution driven entirely by conservative politics and yet confined the reach of the Commerce Clause for potential future cases. The Court’s resolution of the constitutionality of the ACA, passed by Congress without a single Republican vote—despite its conservative roots—will leave health care reform as another example of how deep-seated convictions about dependency, liberty, and the role of government can render nearly impossible the bipartisan congressional engagement that our largest, most complicated and pressing challenges require.

If you enjoyed this excerpt, purchase the full book here.

Reprinted from Dangerous Convictions: What’s Really Wrong with the U.S. Congress by Tom Allen with permission from Oxford University Press. Copyright © 2013 by Oxford University Press.

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  • Lynda Groom

    It seems the author is trying to say the problem with Congress is that its members put party over country. That has been happening for decades, however it is certainly more pronounced today.

    • ericlipps

      I’m afraid the problem goes deeper than that.

      They used to say the most dangerous part of any automobile is the nut behind the wheel. Today, in politics, it’s the nut in front of the lever in the polling booth. We vote in these people, over and over, so we can hardly say it’s all their fault.

      Ultra-partisanship comes from the bottom up. All one has to do to see it is read a typical political blog, which will be infested with trolls, more often than not foaming-at-the-mouth right-wingers but all too often crazy lefties as well. And they’re the ones most likely to vote, and to get others to vote, especially in the primaries. Why should we be surprised if Congress reflects their zealotry and intransigence?

  • paulyz

    When one Party tries to force their Socialist agenda on all Americans, it is normal & refreshing to have the other Party oppose it. We have seen just how dissatisfied Americans are with the direction of our Country by Obama’s & the Democrat’s policies. They do not want compromise, they want it “their way or nothing.” When the House had many bi-partisan bills put forth they were shut-down by Harry Reid in the Senate. This has causes further alienation by the Parties which will never lead to solving our problems.

    • atc333

      “every “bipartisan bill” you refer to contained a “poison Pill”, which required cuts in other existing programs, mainly social safety nets..
      What you are doing is known as “Projection”, imputing to the Democrats exactly what the GOP has done for the past 5 years.

      The Right wing does not “compromise”. It is and has been “My way or the Highway”, How much did your GOP’s shutdown’s of the Government cost this nation? Why haven’t we seen Federal tax reforms? Why not invest in rebuilding our infrastructure and create jobs? You know, more jobs means more tax revenues, and and less people on the social safety nets, but wait! We can’t do that unless we (the GOP) have spending cuts elsewhere to fund it.?
      No investing in jobs, and rebuilding our economy. instead, the “job creators” are supposed to do that. So, please tell me, , in 3 GOP Administrations, why has the GOP created less than half as many jobs as the Democratic Administrations? Did the GOP’s infamous “job creators” create jobs? No,what they did was they created more wealth for themselves investing their savings from the Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II tax the financial markets.

      Oops, You don’t like to talk about these things though.

      • It goes both ways. Every bill that comes from the left usually contains something like attacks on our 2nd that is hidden in the bills presented. This isn’t just the right, or the left. Both parties are corrupt and self serving. ALL career politicians should be removed from office and replaced with people that will follow our laws and our constitution, including the Emperor.

        • WhutHeSaid

          We don’t need to replace all career politicians, we need to rid ourselves of vile, despicable, lying bigots. Everybody knows when they are listening to a rotten, hateful bigot, and such people need to be treated to a taste of their own medicine, because they’re too stupid to understand anything else.

          Calling the lawfully elected (twice) President of the United States and ’emperor’ identifies you as one of these sordid bigots. There is nothing that you will understand other than be slapped down like you deserve, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen more and more as the US electorate grows more diverse by the day. Welcome to your much-deserved future.

          • Good to see you are off your coke binge. You must have to go pickup your government handout this week. Good to see you are somewhat coherent, at least as far as cokehead can be.

          • WhutHeSaid

            Tsk, tsk — all of this proselytizing from a bigoted, alcoholic hermaphrodite? I am quite successful, thank you, unlike you tax-snorting deadbeat goobers who only TALK about self-sufficiency while slurping up government benefits hand over fist.

            I don’t know whether your male persona or female persona is dominant today (it probably depends upon whether your supply of Medicare Viagra ran out), but everybody knows that you redneck bigots are the biggest freeloaders in the country. Grab your Medicare walker and hobble back into your FEMA trailer before you embarrass yourself again. And don’t forget to wash.

          • sleepvark

            kenndebbie, your husband needs a cup of coffee.

        • sleepvark

          kennbooby old girl, I’ve missed you . . . well, not so much. But welcome back! Village Idiot Weekly eagerly awaits your wit and wisdom!

    • Michael Peterson

      Such BS you spew! TOTALLY backwards

    • WhutHeSaid

      You are a liar, of course, but let me point something out to you that you may have missed: Obama was elected TWICE despite all of the lies and hate from you sordid bigots, and you have accomplished nothing but pissing America off and showing everyone that vile and despicable KKK types are still around.

      Political parties always want their way, of course, but until the KKK/Tea Bigots started their antics there was at least SOME compromise for the good of the population at large. The Tea Bigots, however, have done NOTHING good for America whatever. Their vile and hateful antics have done nothing but piss real Americans off, and because bigots are by nature stupid they will not alter their behavior to develop a working relationship with those who hold differing views. This is why they are the most reviled political group in recent memory, and they are being stomped out of political office. Vile and despicable hate has no future.

    • sleepvark

      paulyz old girl, your kkk bedsheet is showing. And you say socialist agenda as if it were a bad thing. Your disdain for so many American institutions like the various police forces, the military ( which is more communism based than just socialism), libraries, fire departments, interstate highway systems and other transportation infrastructure, you know, the very fabric of our society, is just sickening.
      Go live in the kind of totalitarian and fascistic society you seem to crave. Your ideas would be most welcome in North Korea.

    • bckrd1

      Since the Republicans have blocked any policy from being implemented I can only wonder what policies you are referring to?

      As far as compromising I have to wonder if you were even paying attention to anything for the last 6 years.

      And you are projecting with the “they want it “their way or nothing.” comment so your post can no longer even be taken seriously.

  • atc333

    Political dogma, failed Right Wing economic theory, and winning at any cost has now become the Right Wing GOP’s mantra. Protecting the GOP fiscal base as they step back, and watch America’s wealth continue to be redistributed to the top 2%, assuring the GOP continued long term political contributions.

    But for ithe GOP’s continued block and stall, and a deliberate decision to put Party first, Nation last, this Nation could have been well out of the Bush II economic meltdown. We have so many solutions to resolve our economic and domestic problems, but unfortunately, the GOP has insured that most of them are off the table, choosing to keep the nation and its people struggling, hoping that dissatisfied voter will get desperate, and give them a fourth chance to prove Reagan’s trickle down economics still does not work,and in doing so, “redistribute” an additional 12% of all the wealth of America to the top 2%..

    Yet the GOP continues to ignore the fact of its redistribution of an additonal 38% of all of America’s wealth to the top 2% since 1969,,back when that group only owned 8% of all of the wealth of America, and hawk the very same failed economic theories which created the Bush II Economic meltdown of 2007/08. as “their plan for rebuilding America”.

    The GOP has become a failed Political Party which now exists for its own sake, with no plan, no answers, and no solutions, except to maintain and expand its political any cost.

  • Brennan Barrington

    In about another decade, it won’t matter. Demographic changes have already made it extremely unlikely for any Republican candidate to win in 2016. By 2024 at the latest, Congress will be firmly controlled by Democrats and will stay that way (although it’s possible the Libertarians or Greens will replace the Republicans as the second major party). Then nothing can stop us.

    • bckrd1

      They have already done so much damage and wasted so much time and in some cases, like the environment, maybe beyond the point of no return. We have allowed them to dither and pander and put out stupid talking points they think cover them to do nothing. ” I’m not a scientist man.” We let them gut the clean air clean water acts and make cozy deals with the polluters so they are held harmless leaving the taxpayer the cost of cleanup and a compromised environment.

      Rick Scott sat down with some climate scientists for a whole half hour and had zero questions afterwards. A whole half hour. Wow. Talk about commitment to Florida and it’s constituents.

      We must demand more from our leaders. Like long term policy and we must follow through when these ideas are sensible and doable. They must also be for the greater good and with protections for the people against monopolies. Basically maintain public services and fight any privatization of any existing public services. Our politicians are privatizing so many services that it is making the citizenry income streams. Private prisons comes to mind. Toll roads to everywhere. Do you want them selling our water next? The companies would make you pay what a gallon of gas costs. Can’t pay? Too bad. Average house uses over a 1000 gallons. The corporation will have it stipulated in the contract that if you can’t pay the bill they get your house.

    • James Benton

      A bullet can stop you. Let’s put you in front of a firing squad.

    • We don’t have that long! 10 years may seem long to someone w/youth & a false sense of invulnerability on their side, but take a look at the world. An epidemic of wars, Global Climate Change & the greed fueling GLOBAL wealth & income inequality, we’re a tinderbox of explosives being played around by a bunch of psycho pyromaniacs!!! To top it off, the very rich & corporations are forcing our politicians to take bribes to look the other way, while they loot our national treasuries world-wide. Showing U’r political inexperience is the fact that U don’t know who Libertarians (closet arch-conservatives) or Greens (anarchists, essentially), or that the Liberal/Progressive foundations of the nation have come to the rescue when those weirdo factions wormed their way too far into the ‘institutions’ we hold dear. Such as now, owning the ‘levers’ of a ‘Liberal’ candidate Barack Obama, who transformed to ‘conservative’ after taking office (policy-wise, that is). Money is the root of the evil we’re discussing here, so what do we do about THAT?!

  • charles king

    I think the American People relize that Their Democracy has been Hi-Jack by Plutocracts( States Commissiors ) Now is the time to do some Critical Thinking about Where? did our Democracy go. We the people know Who? the subverses are. We also know Who? holds the VOTING power under our system of Democracy, we the People, WE the People know that Democracy is about All the People, Not just Greedy Capitalistic Pigs, Plutocracts,States (Commissioners), Represetives, Republicans and Democracts Who? are Not doing their jobs, MONIES, non paying taxes by Corporations,Etcs…..have no fear, People because Democracy works, Unions work, ObamaCare works, Fair wages, works, Social Security works, J A Z Z, works, Just do the right thing, you know Who? the losers are so VOTE their A**** OUT OUT OUT, ALL the people Democracy is about not some but ALL the People. Thank You are the magic words in my book. I Love Ya All. Mr. C. E. KING

  • Jim Thomas

    As usual this analysis by the pundit class proceeds upon the false assumption that both political parties are guided, in good faith, by ideological goals and purposes. That is not the case. Both parties are completely corrupt. The members of each party play the game in the way they perceive to be in their personal interests, as dictated by the 1%, which owns almost all of them. The Democrats pretend to be the “liberals” who defend the interests of the people, while at the same time cutting sleazy deals with the 1% behind closed doors that favor the 1% (the ACA is a good example of that). Of course the Republican Party is worse. But how much practical difference in the result of their policies? Not much. The author gives too much credit to both parties. Neither act in good faith. Both deceive the people and serve the interests of the 1%. If there is anyone who stills believes in Obama’s “hope and change” please contact me to discuss a bridge I have for sale.

    • Independent1

      You’re way off base. Being political parties, both of them have a certain level of corruption but the GOP has taken corruption it to a level never before seen in America or for that matter on the planet.

      The GOP is no longer a political party, it consists of nothing more than thugs akin to the Italian Mafia – however the Italian Mafia is actually more honest because they admit they are crooks, whereas GOP thugs pretend to be politicians while they are stealing taxpayers blind.

      As far as Obama not being able to implement his “hope and change”, that is not due to a lack of him trying, it’s due to this:

      UPDATE: Eric Cantor Plotted to Sabotage US Economy in Secret Meeting with Hensarling & Luntz

      FACT 1. In Robert Draper’s book, “Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives” Draper wrote that on inauguration night, 2009, during a four hour, “invitation only” meeting with GOP Hate-Propaganda Minister, Frank Luntz, the below listed Senior GOP Law Writers literally plotted to sabotage, undermine and destroy America’s Economy.

      FACT 2: Draper wrote the guest list included:

      The Guest List:

      Frank Luntz – GOP Minister of Propaganda
      Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
      Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA)
      Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA),
      Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX),
      Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX),
      Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI)
      Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA),
      Sen. Jim DeMint (SC-R),
      Sen. Jon Kyl (AZ-R),
      Sen. Tom Coburn (OK-R),
      Sen. John Ensign (NV-R) and
      Sen. Bob Corker (TN-R).

      Non-lawmakers present Newt Gingrich – Failed GOP candidate for PresidentThese jerks actually call themselves “Patriots.” Patriot my butt, more like: H8-triots!

      I’d like to know:

      1) Why are media outlets continuing to prop-up these vile H8-triots when they literally plotted, in secret, to undermine American families in their plot to sabotage the U.S. economy?

      2) Why are no media outlets demanding each one of these GOP leaders explain their involvement of plotting to undermine the US Economy?

      3) Why the hell would anyone want either Hensarling, or McCarthy to be Speaker of the House when they literally plotted to sabotage the US economy at a time when America was losing over 700,000 jobs per month?

      FACT 3: Newt Gingrich confirms meeting took place in an interview with Al Sharpton’s Politics Nation on June 12, 2012

      SHARPTON: In fact, let`s go to a book that Mr. Draper wrote about the night of the inauguration. There was a meeting at a hotel near the inaugural ball, about a mile away … He writes about that night the plan was to show united and unyielding
      opposition to the president`s economic policies … And Draper writes that you told the group — you, Newt Gingrich, “You will remember this day…you will remember this day the seeds of 2012 were sown.”

      If there was a commitment from day one, before he ever took a seat behind the desk of the Oval Office, that everyone was going to obstruct him, then what he`s done has been almost unbelievable, against those kind of odds, Speaker Gingrich.

      NEWT: The first is, it was an important meeting and I was glad and honored to be part of it … I said to Callista when we left the wall — because we were at the Capitol for the inaugural. As we left, I said, you know, if he sticks to the kind of moderation and bipartisanship he`s been describing, he will split the Republican Party. He`ll govern like Eisenhower and he`ll get reelected. Now this is — this is the inaugural day.

      SHARPTON: I`m glad you admit you had it.

      • Jim Thomas

        Independent1, You have partaken of a double helping of the Democratic Party kool-aid. Of course the Republicans have blocked everything, tried to shut down the govenment and taken other irresponsible actions. They don’t deserve mention. I sum it up this way: We have two parties. One is the Republican Party, which calls itself the Democratic Party. The other is the Nutcase Party, which calls itself the Republican Party. Quit wasting time talking about the Nutcase Party. It is beyond hope. But the Democratic Party is also completely corrupt. Obama is an opportunist, just as the Clintons are opportunists. None of them desire to serve the people. Ignore the rhetoric and pay attention to policies. Obama has not even tried to implement policies that help the people, except in token measures. Yes, he has been more progressive on social issues because his owners, the 1%, don’t care about that. The only major Obama program that is arguably progressive is the ACA; however, it too transfers huge amounts of public funds into the hands of the thieving 1% (the insurance companies, drug companies, corporate health care providers, etc.). And he did that only after securing the permission of his owners. Now, let’s talk about that bridge I have for sale.

        • Independent1

          As I said, YOU are very misguided.

          I don’t dispute that there’s a certain amount of corruption in the Democratic party, every political party has it’s share. But on the other hand, NO PRESIDENT SINCE FDR has accomplished as much as Obama -EVEN IN THE FACE OF OUTRIGHT OBSTRUCTIONISM FROM THE GOP. (And I don’t drink Koolaid – I do my own research)

          And a president doesn’t accomplish what Obama has by being ‘CORRUPT” – That is TOTAL BS!!!

          Obama is the most dedicated, conscientious president in my memory, and I can remember my parents listening to FDR’s fireside chats.

          Here is just a small fraction of what Obama has accomplished over the past 5 plus years even with the GOP doing everything it could to make him fail:

          Obama list of accomplishments

          o -Stock Market at the highest level in
          history restoring retirement accounts for millions of American seniors that were trashed under Bush administration

          o -Obama has been smallest spending president since Eisenhower

          o -Obama has reduced deficit spending faster
          than any president since Truman

          -There have been more than 54 straight months of job growth with more jobs created in last 5 years than Bush created in 8 years

          -Obama ended the war in Iraq – AS PROMISED

          o –The 9/11 perpetrator, bin Laden, was eliminated and al Qaeda severely weakened

          -War in Afghanistan almost wound down – AS PROMISED

          -Millions more students receiving college loans than ever before because of his actions despite total GOP congress inaction

          -American auto Industry saved from bankruptcy and flourishing again despite GOP opposition; making profits not seen since Clinton was in office.

          -More than 150 billion in taxes collected from auto industry related companies over the past 5 years that would have been lost in industry went bankrupt

          -More than 1.5 million American jobs saved through bailout helping keep America out of another GOP created depression

          o -College loan process revamped cutting
          banks out as middlemen which has made college loans more affordable for millions of HS graduates

          -More fraudulently charged monies in the defense and healthcare sectors recovered (billions) and crooks brought to justice than 3 prev. pres. combined

          -More PROBLEM illegal aliens rounded up and deported over the past 5 years than by any other president (more than 1.5 million)

          o -Obama’s stimulus energized America green
          energy initiatives such that alternative energies (solar, wind, hydro and plasma) may well make fossil fuels obsolete within the next 10 plus years.

          o -More gas and oil pumped out of the ground
          the past 3 years than at any other tine in US in history; America is now the largest energy producer on the planet supplanting Russia and Saudi Arabia fort hat title.

          -America’s relationships restored with virtually all it’s international partners after Bush had virtually the whole world hating America (and that
          included the British people).

          More accomplishments in last 6 years than any president since FDR

          • Jim Thomas

            OK, I get it. You are a right winger, not a progressive. Now I understand why you approve of Obama. He serves the 1%, just as you think he should. You probably also approve of his right wing, neocon, foreign policy.

          • Independent1

            Boy!! Are you ever clueless, You need professional help!!

          • Independent1

            I can’t stop thinking about some of your idiot comments. You really need to recheck your mind – you’re no progressive, you’re an extreme leftist boardering on being a Marxist. No progressive assumes that the middle and lower classes of America are going to move forward and improve their lives without the 1% and the top 20% participating in that. Progressives realize these people own, operate and manage the corporations and companies that are the engines of the American economy. I have no clue how you’re thinking that the middle and lower classes of America would make gains in their lives without the 20% participating in that

            For you to make these comments:

            ” But the Democratic Party is also completely corrupt. Obama is an opportunist, just as the Clintons are opportunists. None of them desire to serve the people. Ignore the rhetoric and pay attention to policies. Obama has not even tried to implement policies that help the people, except in token measures. Yes, he has been more progressive on social issues because his owners, the 1%, don’t care about that. The only major Obama program that is arguably progressive is the ACA; however, it too transfers huge amounts of public funds into the hands of the thieving 1% (the insurance companies, drug companies, corporate health care providers, etc.).”

            Is clear evidence of your extreme leftist/Marxist views.

            “The only major Obama program that is arguably progressive is the ACA” How idiotic is that!!!

            Obama following through on the auto bailout and stimulus package not only saved the auto industry it saved millions of middle and lower class American’s jobs and lives. And kept America from freefalling into an another depression which would have heaped misery on even more millions of Americans.

            And his executive order to cut the banks out of the student loan process, fed nothing to the top 20%, it cut them of being middlemen in the loan process.

            And although his administration working with the oil and gas industry, it has kept people working, making money and keeping oil prices down which has been benefiting millions upon millions of Americans. If in that process the owners of energy stocks made money, millions of them are retired middleclass folks with pension plans, so if the 1-10% made money in the process, SO BE IT!!!

            What TRUE progressives are against are the a handouts that right-wing wackos hand to the 1-5% in the way of outright taxpayer subsidies and give aways via tax cuts that let them keep more money in their pockets by not paying THEIR FAIR SHARE OF TAXES (like the GOP reducing the capital gains rate to 15%).

            As I said in the beginning, your viewpoints are not those of a progressive, they’re those of an extreme leftist or Marxist. You need to wake up to yourself.