An Open Letter to President Obama

Dear Mr. President,

Like most Americans, I had high hopes for a lot of change.  Among my highest hopes was that you would change the toxic political culture in Washington.  You have been the statesman I expected you to be, and tried valiantly to be bipartisan and to compromise.  However, your efforts have been met mostly with vitriol and partisanship.  It is clear that most Republicans and their leadership have one goal and only one goal-to see that you are a one-term President, period.  And they are willing to go to any lengths-including threatening to purposely default on our sovereign debt and further damage our still fragile economy.  They even refused to fund the FAA and put 70,000 people out of work.  All because they care more about their personal political interests than the national interest.  Their insane strategy to sacrifice the wellbeing of the people they claim to represent, not to mention our country’s reputation, simply to reclaim political power, is unconscionable and unacceptable, and they must be stopped.

Dear Mr. President,

I know you have lots of professional advisors, though it seems clear to me that they have not been serving you or our country well.  So I thought I would offer my advice.

I worked hard for your election in 2008, as many thousands of other people across our country.  In fact, I was so inspired by your candidacy, I ran for and was elected statewide as an Obama Delegate-at-Large from Colorado.  About 6 weeks after my election, I switched places with a female alternate (who had received fewer votes) to allow the Colorado delegation to achieve the perfect gender balance required by the Democratic National Committee.  Nonetheless, I enthusiastically served as an alternate delegate and member of Colorado’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention.  And I continued to work hard for your election-I was a neighborhood team leader, organized phone banks, and knocked on doors to get your supporters to the polls right up until 7 o’clock on election night.

Like most Americans, I had high hopes for a lot of change.  Among my highest hopes was that you would change the toxic political culture in Washington.  You have been the statesman I expected you to be, and tried valiantly to be bipartisan and to compromise.  However, your efforts have been met mostly with vitriol and partisanship.  It is clear that most Republicans and their leadership have one goal and only one goal-to see that you are a one-term President, period.  And they are willing to go to any lengths-including threatening to purposely default on our sovereign debt and further damage our still fragile economy.  They even refused to fund the FAA and put 70,000 people out of work.  All because they care more about their personal political interests than the national interest.  Their insane strategy to sacrifice the wellbeing of the people they claim to represent, not to mention our country’s reputation, simply to reclaim political power, is unconscionable and unacceptable, and they must be stopped.

This is not to say that we don’t have a long term debt problem that must be addressed.  However, what we need right now is jobs, and tying a routine bill to raise the debt ceiling to a debate about how to address the debt problem was not only completely unnecessary, but obviously counterproductive.  I wish you would have dispensed with this manufactured crisis by invoking the 14th Amendment which states, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law…shall not be questioned.”  This debt was already authorized by the authorization acts passed by Congress and signed into law.  Instead, you chose to continue to negotiate in good faith with Republican leadership that only wanted to ensure you failed.  As a result, we will now have several more months of angst and uncertainty while a “super committee” of Congress is formed and attempts to negotiate additional deficit reductions.  

While I know it is hoped that this committee will agree on a balanced approach of budget cuts and additional revenues, history provides scant evidence that this committee, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, will agree on anything.  In fact, all six of the Republican committee appointees have signed Grover Norquist’s pledge to not raise taxes-ever-in spite of the fact that taxes are lower than they have been in decades, and the fact that almost two-thirds of Americans support fairly increasing taxes on wealthy individuals and businesses.

Business, consumers, investors, and Standard and Poor’s all know this history of Republican intransigence, and now we find ourselves on the brink of another financial crisis, perhaps a double-dip recession.   Consumer confidence and factory orders are both down.  People are afraid.  The stock market has been up and down like a roller coaster since Standard & Poor’s downgraded our debt rating.  In fact, the Dow has lost a total of 2,000 points in the last few weeks as Congress has done nothing but play irresponsible politics.  

It’s ironic that we have all collectively lost more in our personal investments than the wealthy would have ever paid with a modest tax increase, not to mention that taxpayers may eventually have to pay more in interest for every dollar borrowed.  This all because uncompromising Republicans refuse to even consider raising taxes.  It’s no wonder Congress’ approval rating is at an all-time low of 14 percent.

Republicans say we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem, and point to Medicare and Medicaid as the primary culprits.  However, the evidence shows we don’t have a Medicare or Medicaid problem.  We have a systemic health care cost problem.  This cost problem stems from continuing double-digit annual increases in health care costs, aggravated by demographics with thousands of baby boomers becoming eligible for Medicare each day.  

You recognized the best way to significantly reduce costs was to replace the current system which spends 25 percent of every healthcare dollar on administration and profits, with a single-payer system, similar to Medicare, that spends only about 5 percent on administration.  However, you gave up even on the public option, and Republicans are promising this super committee will repeal even the modest reforms that did pass.

It is unfathomable that our elected representatives in Congress have manufactured this financial crisis that has resulted in the downgrading of our national credit rating and threatens the global economy.  It is equally unfathomable that no one has taken bold and decisive action to try to stop them.  Yes, you have tried to subtly embarrass and cajole Congress into doing the right thing.  But Republicans are determined to advance their political agenda and poison your chances for re-election at any cost.

Worse yet that this debt ceiling debate and entirely avoidable financial crisis has sucked all the oxygen out of the room and distracted us from focusing on job number one-growing the economy and creating jobs.

So what can be done now?  You took bold and decisive action before to prevent our economy from going over a cliff.  We need you to do that again, and we can’t risk continued uncertainty by waiting until November or December only to find this super committee can’t make the hard decisions.  We know that uncertainty is the last thing our economy needs right now.  Businesses, investors, consumers, and economists all agree on that.  We need you to take bold action now to restore confidence and get our economy moving again:  

1. Call Congress back from their month-long recess, showing that you understand the seriousness of the situation and are willing to take the bold and decisive action necessary.

2. Make clear to Congress and to the American people that we all know the truth-that this crisis was manufactured for political gain.

3. Provide Congress a plan with specific common sense proposals, including those that already have bipartisan support, to reinvigorate the economy and create jobs including establishment of an infrastructure bank, a new highway bill creating or saving 600 thousand additional jobs, patent reform to bring innovative products to market quicker and creating more jobs, extending the payroll tax cut, and the fair extension of unemployment compensation.

4. Put back on the table your “grand bargain” that sought balanced deficit reduction of $4 trillion over a decade, a goal also endorsed by Senator John Kerry.  The United States must show the markets that it is “deadly serious about dealing with its long-term structural debt”.  Make clear that you and the American people expect and demand Congress make the compromises necessary to get a balanced, comprehensive deal done-now.

5. If you are re-elected, develop a new strategy citing the most compelling evidence to sell a single-payer health care system to the American people as the only feasible option to fix an uneconomical and unsustainable system.

All the polls show the American people have lost their patience and are absolutely disgusted with Congress.  We don’t need another super committee.  We need a super President.  You are in the most powerful position in the world-please use it.  The people will wholeheartedly support you and thank you for being the strong leader we need right now.  Taking bold and decisive action will also re-energize your base, and help recapture the hope that all those that voted for you had for our country.  It may not just save our economy, it may be the only hope to save your Presidency.

Sincerely,

Jeff Hart

Denver, Colorado

Do you aree that the President should take these actions?

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52 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ellbee says:

    Jeff-  Could you re-edit that into separated paragraphs?  I just had a seizure.

    xoxo

    Ellbee

    • Jeff Hart says:

      Whoever it is, I don’t appreciate the rude language.  It’s an example of exactly what we don’t want or need in our public discourse.  Thank you.

      • Ralphie says:

        And what rude language are you talking about?

        “He has no plan” is a simple statement of fact.  Nothing rude about it.

        If you don’t want comments, don’t write diaries.

      • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

        You can have one too if you want one. Go to “Jeff Hart’s page” in the upper right hand corner with the other navigation links and enter whatever you want in the signature box under the “profile” tab. It’ll show up in italics below each comment you make.

        Ralphie’s signature quotes another polster, presumably intending to embarrass her by showcasing a moment when she lost her temper and was rude.

        If you would like to participate in a PG forum, I think Disney.com has one, but we do fuckin’ curse around here now and then, so I suggest that you become accustomed to seeing a rude word or three if you’re sticking around.

      • Ralphie says:

        That’s language excerpted from an actual post (about Elbee, as I recall) elsewhere on the site.

    • Gray in Mountains says:

      but, if the President wants to do something really ballsy he could call back the leadership and make suggestions to reopen the debt celing plan with his Grand Bargain or something even grander. He could also call back the leadership to promote a jobs agenda and have either of those on the table when recess is over. If a plan for either is agreed to by 10 days from now all those Senators and Reps at home could hear from their constituents about them and if, at the same time, the President is actively campaigning for it around the country we could get something very positive done in September.

  2. raymond1 says:

    Provide Congress a plan with specific common sense proposals, including those that already have bipartisan support, to reinvigorate the economy and create jobs including establishment of an infrastructure bank, a new highway bill creating or saving 600 thousand additional jobs, . . . extending the payroll tax cut, and the fair extension of unemployment compensation.

    Put back on the table your “grand bargain” that sought balanced deficit reduction of $4 trillion over a decade, a goal also endorsed by Senator John Kerry.

    Look, I’d kill for these things too — and Obama has argued for them, plus more things (repeal of Bush tax cuts and various tax loopholes), so he does have a “plan.”

    You’re just factually incorrect in saying any of these “already have bipartisan support.” That’s not a who-knows opinion; that’s just wrong, period.

    (1) The House never ever ever will enact these things.

    (2) I frankly don’t think there are enough Senate dems to support certain of them; go tell Lieberman, Nelson, & friends about “goals also endorsed by Senator John Kerry” and they’ll just laugh.

    (3) The $4b “grand bargain” that includes $1b in taxes failed. We lost. Obama tried; his national address was great, but after the 2010 elections, he just didn’t have the votes.

    • Ralphie says:

      But bus tours and telling people to call their congressman is not what I wanted to see in the way of leadership.

      • raymond1 says:

        And (2) meetings at the White House sufficiently often that Cantor stormed out of one while Obama, who rarely loses his cool, stormed out of another?

        Look, I hate that  “our side” didn’t get more, but I haven’t heard anyone say how on earth, with a teabagger-controlled House, new taxes coulda gotten enacted – please let me know if you think you have a secret plan that would’ve worked.

        Posts like this one are exactly like the Romie crap about how Bennet didn’t “fight” to get the health care “public option” enacted.  My fellow lefties can yell “fight fight fight!” all we want; it won’t enact a law.

        • Ralphie says:

          There’s no action, only words.

          As far as Cantor storming out of meetings, how much did Obama get out of what he wanted compared to how much Cantor got?

          • raymond1 says:

            … so I’m not sure what “action” you’re saying Obama shouldn’t bit didn’t undertake.

            Cantor got more of what he wanted, yup. Cantor controlled the House while moderate/conservative Dems (Lieberman, Nelson, Warner, etc) who wouldn’t repeal Bush tax cuts held the Senate balance of power. Cantor also knew that a default kills Obama more than it hurts him. Cantor simply had better cards in his hand.

            • Ralphie says:

              words are just words.

              It’s about time for a fistfight.

              Carter got his ass handed to him, by the way, because he didn’t make the voters feel like he was anywhere close to being in charge.

              Read from that what you will.

  3. ellbee says:

    Can you add “Go on vacation again and play golf [again]”?

      • ellbee says:

        It might be a shitty thing for me to say if he weren’t doing it.

          • ellbee says:

            Obama has played more golf just over halfway through his only term than Bush played in eight years.

            And it looks like it’s not really helping…

            • sxp151 says:

              so maybe he’s planning his vacation days a little better?

              And if you count total vacation days, Bush obviously took a lot more, so you’re not making much of a point.

            • Ralphie says:

              This is just bullshit.

              I know you know that because you’re a smart guy.

              But if you really want to debate playing golf as opposed to chopping weeds in Texas, I suppose we can have that argument, no matter how little it has to do with anything.

              • ellbee says:

                I’m just being a smartass, and I enjoy making fun of his golf when everything around him is falling apart and he’s made such a big issue about scolding Congress over getting things done.

                It’s not a true character or election issue, but I enjoy needling some of the..uh..more ‘high strung personalities’ here with it.  

                It’s the Pols version of yelling “BlГјcher!”.  

                • ClubTwitty says:

                  I find such idiotic propositions worthy of Libby and BJ; because they don’t know better.  I thought you did ellbee. Apologies for my mistake.  

                  • ellbee says:

                    Look at your sig line.  Is that ‘elevated discourse’ that I’ve suddenly stooped below by making fun of the President for playing a shitload of bad golf?

                    You might also want to check the veracity of the sig line.

                    • ClubTwitty says:

                      No.  It’s a blog.  But presidents vacation.  Bush took a lot.  Obama takes some too.  I think its a particularly weak argument, not that its ‘unelevated’ or unfair.  I get you think that the health care law is worse than forced segregation (worst law in the history of the US, I believe you called it).  That anyone in a union is a ‘thug’ and that the president you voted for is the worst ever who somehow fooled you with his secret plan to convert the US into, what do you usually refer to it as?, a ‘Euro-Socialist’ state.  I’m sorry he fooled you, he didn’t really fool me.  I knew he was a centrist.  Which I believe his record pretty clearly shows he is.  I just think you can do better, perhaps provide more than the occasional troll bait, that you acknowledge was provided merely for that purpose.  But I was kidding.  I learned awhile ago not to expect much more of you.  

                    • ellbee says:

                      I specifically clarified ‘in my adult lifetime’, but nice try with the racist thing.  Geez, Twitty.

                      I don’t think that everyone in a union is a thug, but I believe that some certainly are, and that the union culture of getting their way, particularly when it comes to teacher’s unions is most certainly “thuggish”.  Do I need to demonstrate examples of that again?

                      Does that help?

                      I also said this:

                      It’s not a true character or election issue

                      As it related to the golf thing.  I’m not going to stop making fun of him for it, just like you probably constantly taunted Bush for innocuous, dumb gaffes.  

                      I just think you can do better, perhaps provide more than the occasional troll bait, that you acknowledge was provided merely for that purpose.  But I was kidding.  I learned awhile ago not to expect much more of you.

                      Why even write this?  It’s like a kid in the lunchroom that invites someone to sit at the ‘cool table’ and then changes seats as a total burn on the ‘uncool kid’.

                      Ok.  I consider myself “royally burned”.  Good one.

                    • ClubTwitty says:

                      I pointed out the absurdity of a claim you made, from which you did back down once you got called on it.  Geez, ellbee.  

                      I have not seen anything you have posted to make me think you are a racist.  I have seen plenty of things you have posted that clearly indicates (to me) that you believe any comment like the one I posted is really an accusation of racism.  

                    • ellbee says:

                      Ok. I accept the “absurdity” explanation. That makes sense.  

        • raymond1 says:

          … given that 2 of the 3 last R presidents were non-hard-working folk, while unless you’re completely in Righty Never-Never-Land (which I think you are), it’s pretty clear Obama’s been a workaholic since his 20s.

          But yeah, you and Lib enjoy thinking you’re clever, rather than double-digit IQ mouth-breathers, for thinking you actually have a good point in blasting the Prez for having a hobby.

          • raymond1 says:

            … that he was different from Libertad, either in intellect his posts display, or in willingness to post non-substantive trolly crap just to piss us off?

          • ellbee says:

            What were his jobs?  What exactly was he in charge of?

            Ah – there it is – “You disagree with me and you might be snarky about it so you’re stupid“.

            That old chestnut.

            Look, my friend’s family owns a golf course.  I can play there for free almost whenever I want.  In my job I’m actually encouraged to take people to play golf.

            I haven’t had anywhere near 73 rounds of golf in the last 2 1/2 years, so yes.  I think there’s a point to be made.  That’s all.  It’s not the end of the world, but I think it’s fair game to tease him about it.  Plus, he sucks at golf, apparently.  That’s funny to me.

            On a blog where half the posters are going on and on about a Republican’s ‘crazy eyes’, teasing a Federal Employee for playing golf quite often might seem even poignant to some.  Not you, because you are the arbiter of who works hard and who doesn’t.

            BTW, were you really going to try to infer that Reagan was lazy?  

            Please – make that point.  I think it’s a winner for you.

            I think you should stop taking this blog (and certainly yourself), and most of all me so seriously.  I don’t take myself that seriously, so there’s no reason for you to reply to yourself, heralding to the lunatic fringe that ‘The dullard is coming!  The dullard is coming!’  Unless you really have that much time on your hands, then by all means – go ahead.  Remember – I’m a “mouth breather” so I’ll probably miss the whole thing anyway.

            Sorry if that offends you, but you’re going to have to work through it.

            • raymond1 says:

              1) You imply Obama is lazy

              2) I note he’s a workaholic; you’re trying to be too cute with the rhetorical questions when you ask “What were his jobs?” when his life history is as well-documented as anyone’s (in case you actually don’t know, he was a US Senator from Illinois and, before that, famously held multiple jobs simultaneously – adjunct professor, practicing lawyer, state senator, book author).

              3) You transparently change the subject to What exactly was he in charge of?” You can argue he lacked prior executive experience but that’s not a defense of your bullshit implication that he’s lazy.

              4) When you’re transparently trolling just to piss off us folks who disagree with you, spare me the dishonest oh-I’m-high-minded “I think you should stop taking this blog (and certainly yourself), and most of all me so seriously.” You’re trying to be a asshole and you’re stupid enough to be infuriatingly excellent at it, so don’t feign surprise when you succeed at pissing someone off; it’s showing you to be a dishonest man in addition to a class A A-hole.

              • ellbee says:

                He’s showing a commitment to golf that is anything but lazy.  I don’t think he’s lazy at all, I think he’s inept and unqualified.  I am happy at the prospect that it appears that he has a great chance of losing the next election, because I think that would be better for the country.  I realize you feel the opposite way, and that’s cool.  Why make it personal?

                If that “pisses you off” so badly, like I said, you’re going to have to just deal with it.  

    • Middle of the Road says:

      August recesses.

  4. SamCat says:

    Thank you very much for your diary!  You said a lot of things I have been thinking too.

    Don’t feel bad about the comments you are getting.  The problem is your audience.  You see, most of the regulars on this blog are insiders and politico junkies.  Many of them just don’t have any patience with us dumb voters who don’t know as much as they do.

    There are many thoughtful and insightful posters.  My suggestion to you is to generally listen to Progressive cowgirl, SSgt, Grey in the mountains, Sir Robin, and a few others.  I’ve left out a lot of names, but listen for the sanity in their posts.

    There are also quite a few who seem only to relish flame wars and petty tit-for-tat commentary.  Those posters are not interested in solutions.  They are interested in name calling and petty feuding. Most of them fall under the catagory of MFO-SFO  (Mouth falls open-Stupid flows out)

    My suggestion to you is to lurk, listen, learn and then go work like Hell for your party and your candidate.

    God bless America and keep your passion going!!!

    • Jeff Hart says:

      I appreciate it…and I have to wonder why almost everybody here uses screen names instead of their real name?  

      • SamCat says:

        Do read the rules.  I trust they have good reasons.  You and I don’t have names that the public would recognize.  Some of these folks do.  Some are currently serving politicians who post under their real names, but most seem to choose a nom d’plume.  It is considered very bad form to even try to “out” someone.  In fact you can be banned from the blog.

        Peace

    • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

      Who’s been telling you there’s sanity in my posts? Whoever it is, I clearly haven’t sent them enough ridiculous limericks lately.

      (Or as RFK said about the man who’d been calling him ruthless…)

      • SamCat says:

        btw nice post on internships.

        I did 6 months at Boulder County Safehouse and 18 months at Porter hospital outpatient, with a lot of that in the womans trauma group, plus 40 hours per week at AT&T.

        It doesn’t leave time for ANYTHING else, not family, not church, not self.

        PS I was much, much younger then

  5. dwyer says:

    I disagree with some of your recommendations.  I believe that until and unless the PResident has a good political strategy in place, he can do very little.  He must rescue public opinion from the right wing.  I specifically disagree with these recommendations:

    1) The 14th Amendment proposal was fraught with legal complications.  Scholars were not in agreement that the President had the authority to exercise it. I respect his decision to take that option off the table.

    2) Calling Congress back to DC is same old, same old.  His statement that Congress needs to listen to the folks back home is right.  Now, the Democratic Party should be organizing its members so that every Senator and Congressional Representative hears from the Democratics.

    Are they doing that? NO.  Now, given your considerable

    credentials, perhaps you could explain to me, why they are not.

    • ellbee says:

      Nice first diary.  Welcome.

      • dwyer says:

        That will give me an excellent opportunity to demonstrate what is wrong with the Democrats.

        • dwyer says:

          The letter to Obama is really an ultimatum.  Jeff outlined the terms under which he would volunteer to work for the President’s re-election.  I don’t know if the GOTV work that Jeff did was part of a Democratic party effort or OFA. It was effective in 2008, helped Bennet win in 2010 in Colorado but only after Buck and the republicans imploded.  Nationwide, the dems had no plan and no strategy. If the dems had been paid by the repubs, they couldn’t have done a better job of destroying the Obama presidency.

          Obama and the dems never acted to protect their fragile  2008 victory, They failed  to hear the repubs organizing from the day after the 2008 election. They were arrogant and ignorant.  The repubs refused to cooperate at all, from the get go, in Congress. They then took over the House in a landslide and left the President with virtually no ability to maneuver.

          The President has been hit in both knees. Now, Jeff Hart and David T and others are blaming him because he can’t walk.

          Jeff didn’t answer my question because, I think, he thinks it irrelevant. He fancies himself a “policy wonk” and I don’t think he understand the basic tenets of power.  The first is that you have to have the power in order to lead.  It is precisely that power that has been denied the PResident.

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