To the editor:
Our country has a vital democratic tradition of holding our leaders accountable. In the mid-term election of 2006 and the presidential election of 2008, a Republican administration was held accountable for its disastrous warmongering that cost our country so many lives and so much debt without anything to show for it. Americans hoped for change, particularly on foreign policy.
Looking back over the last four years, this has regrettably not occurred. In American foreign policy we have seen essentially a third term for George W. Bush: the pointless and expensive Iraq War dragged on, an ineffective troop surge in Afghanistan, an unconstitutional and unproductive war in Libya, and, as the New York Times has reported in detail, a long "kill list" that President Barack Obama creepily relishes using to assassinate individuals abroad. At one point the president even had a U.S. citizen assassinated.
In 2008 we hoped for change domestically as well. George W. Bush had bailed out the big banks to the tune of $700 billion, even though it was their recklessness that was responsible for the financial crisis. But the big financial firms backed Obama's campaign in 2008, and as president he did not disappoint, stocking his administration with Wall Street insiders and letting them dominate policymaking, as reporter Ron Suskind has detailed. The crony capitalism of the Obama administration continues to this day with "quantitative easing," a fancy term for the government buying securities from the big banks, which is a boon for the financial sector but ultimately fleeces the rest of us with the resulting inflation.
Obama complains about Republican obstructionism, but he had a comfortable congressional majority for most of his time in office, and has been able to run yearly deficits of more than $1 trillion each year he has been in office. Obama's massive overspending has unfortunately produced woeful results: when you add in long-term discouraged workers (not officially counted since 1994) the unemployment rate in the United States today is 23 percent, on a par with Greece or the U.S. during the Great Depression. We've taken other steps backward: the bloated stimulus from 2009 even undid the welfare reforms of Bill Clinton, exploding the number of people receiving public assistance.
Finally, the 2008 Obama campaign rhetoric of "we are all Americans" has turned into its opposite, slicing and dicing Americans into narrow groups for electoral purposes. Playing one group of citizens off of another in order to win a narrow victory at the polls is cynical partisanship at its most tired and distasteful. Front and center in Obama's intentionally divisive election campaign is an appeal to single women who prioritize, or so Obama's campaign thinks, not having to pay for their own contraception, abortions and sterilizations. With all the problems the country as a whole faces, believing this to be the top concern of single women seems pretty demeaning.
As a country, we need to move on from all this. Voters need to hold Obama accountable.