Monday, September 20, 2010

Obama Needs More Of This Clarity...

Sam Stein wrote the following recently for The Huffington Post and I thought it was worth a look:
White House advisers on Monday pushed back hard against a New York Times report that the administration is ready to launch a full-frontal assault on the Tea Party movement as the November elections approach. No such plans are being made, insisted senior advisers. And, sure enough, the Times quickly modified its story into something a bit duller.

In a town hall meeting broadcast live by CNBC on Monday, however, President Obama seemed to be reading off the initial script. Pressed by an audience member to weigh in on what exactly drives the Tea Party, Obama, in no uncertain terms, accused the movement's members of refusing to talk in specifics.

If there is anger over the economic or political landscape, he added, it is being misdirected in his direction.

"The problem that I've seen in the debate that's been taking place and in some of these Tea Party events is, I think they're misidentifying sort of who the culprits are here," said Obama. "As I said before, we had to take some emergency steps last year. But the majority of economists will tell you that the emergency steps we take are not the problem long-term. The problems long-term are the problems that I talked about earlier. We had two tax cuts that weren't paid for, two wars that weren't paid for. We've got a population that's getting older. We're all demanding services, but our taxes have actually substantially gone down."

"So the challenge, I think, for the Tea Party movement is to identify, specifically, what would you do?" he added. "It's not enough just to say get control of spending. I think it's important for you to say, I'm willing to cut veterans' benefits or I'm willing to cut Medicare or Social Security benefits or I'm willing to see these taxes go up. What you can't do, which is what I've been hearing a lot from the other side, is we're going to control government spending, we're going to propose $4 trillion of additional tax cuts, and that magically somehow things are going to work. Now, some of these are very difficult choices."
These statements are very true - visit any tea party rally or website, or listen to any tea party candidate (or pundits like Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck), and you will hear very vague generalities, like "preserving the constitution" or "repeal Obamacare."  Just look at this years biggest tea party Republicans' websites and you will get the idea what Obama means - below are just a few examples:
  • Sharron Angle "supports putting that [education] money as close to the state and local level as possible."
  • Joe Miller supports " reform legislation that is market-based and incentivizes individual responsibility," which "must include allowing and promoting a system of robust employer and/or self-funded tax-free health savings accounts."
  • Rand Paul wants to eliminate government intervention in the energy sector - "the solution requires allowing businesses and ideas to compete."
  • Rand Paul also wants to "fight to balance the budget and dramatically reduce spending."
  • Christine O'Donnell wants to... fight... do... Christine O'Donnell as no "issues" on her website!
So far, the most informative candidate website out there that I have seen belonged to Marco Rubio - I found him to offer plenty of information regarding his positions, and some of them aren't half bad.  If it came to a vote between Rubio and someone like Angle or O'Donnell, Rubio would get my vote because he gave more details.  That was my problem with the McCain/Palin campaign - it lacked details.

As I had written previously, Obama needs to call the Republicans out some more - especially as election day nears.  Americans have poor memory and like to be spoon-fed information.  Conservatives are master feeders and tell Americans what they want to here.  The Democrats need to tell Americans the facts - the GOP have no real plans or solutions except winning back Congress.  If they can get their message across, they should be able to minimize damage this fall...

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