Fundamental Change Is What We’re About

Lincoln Spiking The Football in Richmond--1865

Lincoln Spiking The Football in Richmond–1865

Click the link below to hear my “Pat Political Point” regarding criticism of President Barack Obama’s “fundamental change” comment. This segment aired on last Sunday’s edition of WSGW’s First Day. The transcript is below the fold.

“Pat Political Point” from the 3/1/15 edition of WSGW’s “First Day” show. Topic: Fundamental Change.”

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The recent remarks by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in which he questioned President Obama’s love for America certainly fired-up many people. I have a sneaking suspicion that Giuliani knew full well that by saying something incendiary like that would give him the spotlight for a few days.

However, I noticed the ensuing debate on social media, where the argument fell on predictable ideological lines. Liberals demanded an apology, while conservatives lauded Giuliani. And in some sense, Giuliani was tapping-in to the conservative belief that not only does President Obama not love this country, but that he’s a secret Muslim.

Amongst the many asinine statements said on The Facebook or Twitter, there’s an line of argument that’s been thrown my way which President Obama’s detractors say proves Obama doesn’t have a deep love for his country. A few conservatives told me that no one who says they want to “fundamentally change” the country could love said country. They’re referring to Obama’s statements during the 2008 campaign, in which he told supporters that it was time for fundamental change.

I have to admit, I bit on that argument because it doesn’t make sense to me.

Yes, Obama did say fundamental change was needed. But, I’m not sure how that can illustrate his non-love–or hatred–for the U.S.of A.

Fundamental change is what has made this country great through the centuries. We refused to stay stuck. We believe in forever bettering ourselves to become a more enlightened society.

The colonists fundamentally wanted to change things when they wanted to split from England. And the colonists were worse than liberals: The were radicals!

Abolitionists wanted to fundamentally change the country by fighting against slavery. It culminated with Abraham Lincoln when he decided fundamental change was needed leading the charge against the South to preserve the Union. The Civil War would forever fundamentally change America because by the end of it, slavery was dead.

Teddy Roosevelt wanted to fundamentally change America by fighting for, and succeeding to enact major regulations to end the days of unfettered Capitalism. TR fought against the monopolization happening across numerous industries.

Woodrow Wilson fundamentally changed America with the Income Tax. Actually, Lincoln also championed a tax to pay for the Civil War.

Calvin Coolege fundamentally changed America to end many of Teddy Roosevelt’s economic reforms in the form of deregulation.

During the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt made radical reforms to fix the economy. He also passed Social Security, which is a form of…Socialism! That was a major fundamental change!

Dwight Eisenhower made fundamental change by advocating major upgrades to our highway system.

President Kennedy proposed Medicare and Civil Rights legislation, and enacted policy to unionize federal employees.

Lyndon Johnson enacted Medicare, Civil Rights, and Voting Rights legislation, which helped fundamentally change America.

Ronald Reagan fundamentally changed America by fighting for a repeal of the FDR era, which helped lead to major deregulation in finance sectors and the rapid decline of unions.

And on and on.

The point is, fundamental change is what keeps America fresh. It’s what makes America great. If we didn’t change, we wouldn’t be able to boast about all of the remarkable things this country has achieved.

If it weren’t for some of the disastrous mistakes of the past, we wouldn’t have learned from those mistakes to become a progressing country.

We vote for change. We vote for candidates who we think will best represent our beliefs and worldview. We vote because we want fundamental change.

If anything, I’m certain our Founding Fathers would say fluoride produced a fundamental change! I’m certain George Washington would’ve praised it!

A Sunday Song–”Waters Of March by Susannah McCorkle

MarchThrough my hours upon hours of First Day show research, I was trying to find a song to commemorate the first day of March. There really aren’t that many, unlike for the months of April, May, July, or October.

I was able to find this gem by the late jazz artist, Susannah McCorkle. “Waters Of March” has been covered countless times, but her version seemed to reach me the most.

Enjoy!

pat@wsgw.com

Warren Makes People Pay Attention

ElizabethWarren

A fantastic presidential race–in terms of ideology, policy ideas, and entertainment–would pit Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker against Massachusetts Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. It would be great to see exactly which way the populist vote would go.

Walker scares people like me because time-after-time, he has defeated his liberal detractors. Sure, he may have the help of the Koch Brothers, but he still had to push himself over the finish line. Money can get you recognition, but it still takes a good candidate to win in the end. He’s done that. Not living in Wisconsin, I’m interested to see how he does it. Jeb Bush also has the cash, but Walker won’t be poor on the campaign trail, plus he’s got the Tea Party support.

On the other side, Democrats have settled on Hilary Clinton, even though many aren’t all that enthusiastic about her. However, I still think Elizabeth Warren has an outside shot at entering this race. She’s feeling the pressure, and hears the roar of support from both liberal activists and moderates.

My wife’s uncle is a conservative living in Massachusetts, and has lamented to me how helpless it can be for conservatives in that state. We met for a family wedding last Fall, and I inquired his thoughts about Warren. He said that while she’s “too liberal” for him to support, he was impressed by her knowledge of economic policy. He suggested she’d make a great Treasury Secretary.

I have an uncle who tends to be a bit of a libertarian, but who also is equally impressed by Warren’s bona fides with economic and financial policy matters. He would vote for her, I think.

Why is Warren such a hit with not just liberals, but with populists across the country?

Take her Washington Post Op-Ed today, in which she’s choosing to battle President Obama’s push to grant him fast track authority so he can get the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal completed before the end of his term.

Warren points to an obscure provision in the trade pact’s language that she argues offers more cover for multi-national corporations at the price of the American taxpayer. The provision Warren writes about is called Investor-State Dispute Settlement, or ISDS. Here’s how she describes it:

ISDS would allow foreign companies to challenge U.S. laws — and potentially to pick up huge payouts from taxpayers — without ever stepping foot in a U.S. court. Here’s how it would work. Imagine that the United States bans a toxic chemical that is often added to gasoline because of its health and environmental consequences. If a foreign company that makes the toxic chemical opposes the law, it would normally have to challenge it in a U.S. court. But with ISDS, the company could skip the U.S. courts and go before an international panel of arbitrators. If the company won, the ruling couldn’t be challenged in U.S. courts, and the arbitration panel could require American taxpayers to cough up millions — and even billions — of dollars in damages.

Make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

Warren continues:

If the tilt toward giant corporations wasn’t clear enough, consider who would get to use this special court: only international investors, which are, by and large, big corporations. So if a Vietnamese company with U.S. operations wanted to challenge an increase in the U.S. minimum wage, it could use ISDS. But if an American labor union believed Vietnam was allowing Vietnamese companies to pay slave wages in violation of trade commitments, the union would have to make its case in the Vietnamese courts.

Why create these rigged, pseudo-courts at all?

This push by Obama to get this deal done proves to me that while I applaud him on several separate fronts, he is a corporatist. Teddy Roosevelt would be disappointed.

Warren’s article is the most commented article on the Post‘s website thus far today.

Why does she get so much attention from her fellow American citizens? Matthew Yglesias explains:

And she has a unique knack among today’s elected officials for seizing on things that are languishing in obscurity and making them blow up. The greatest trick the special interests ever played was getting the world to stop paying attention. Warren makes people pay attention, and it’s great.

Exactly.

And as Ezra Klein points-out, Warren has libertarian backing on the ISDS issue by groups like The Cato Institute.

The TPP has even gotten conservatives like Laura Ingraham to join forces with liberals and fight its implementation!

Warren brings actual policies that affect us on an every day level. That’s what makes her a wild card in the 2016 election. She could garner plenty of support and individual donations. But I fear Wall Street and the press would be bent on destroying her from Day 1, if she were to run.

pat@wsgw.com

Wednesday Indie Music Day–Phantogram

This Phantogram song has got to be one of my favorite songs of the past year. Actually, I’m still wondering why I haven’t purchased this album yet. Ever song–and I mean, EVERY SONG–connects with me.

It’s hard to believe that Phantogram didn’t make my Top Five Indie Songs For 2014, but I think if I had to do my list today, they would.

Voices has so many songs I’d like to feature here, but I’m going with my personal favorite. Please, check them out on their website. You won’t be disappointed. Listen to songs like “Fall In Love,” and “Blackout Days.”

Enjoy!

Minds Made Up

This is a scary poll Talking Points Memo has posted today. Republican voters resoundingly back Rudy Giuliani’s claims that President Obama doesn’t “love” America.

ObamaPollLove

A HuffPost/YouGov poll released Tuesday found that just 11 percent of Republicans believed Obama loves America.

Meanwhile, the poll showed 85 percent of Democrats said they believed Obama loves America.

The poll also found 47 percent of respondents overall believed Obama loves the country while 20 percent weren’t sure.

As much as I disagreed with George W. Bush during his presidency, I never thought the man despised his country. He believed what he believed, and I didn’t. Why can’t people believe the same when it comes to Obama?

I’ve gotten into discussions with conservatives who argue that someone bent on “fundamentally transforming” America just can’t love America.

When then-Senator Obama said those words, they resonated with millions of Americans tired of war and of an economy benefiting those at the top. Ronald Reagan fundamentally changed America with his economic and foreign policies. FDR fundamentally changed America. Lincoln fundamentally changed America.

Yet, all of those men loved America.

And Obama hasn’t even sent the Army to invade a state…yet.

pat@wsgw.com

Obama’s a Marxist–Despite All Evidence To The Contrary

RudyGiulianiThe Daily Caller’s Keith Farrell has written a defense of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s recent statements that President Obama doesn’t love America. Farrell argues that Obama is indeed a Marxist!

Yes, nothing new there from the anti-Obama crowd. Here’s my favorite section:

Analyzing the president’s policies may overly complicate the matter. The easy question to ask is this: If Obama had to choose between a state-managed economy and a free market economy, which would he choose? The answer is clear to anyone who has been paying attention the last six years.

And after all the needless nitpicking over what is socialism and what is communism, the core remains the same: a belief that free people will make decisions that harm the collective, and therefore their economic decisions should be subject to government management. It is the antithesis of freedom, and an ideology that has caused millions to suffer and perish since its inception. Perhaps that’s why the left doesn’t want to broadcast their relationship with it. But calling a spade a spade shouldn’t be controversial.

I suppose he’s calling FDR, JFK, Ike, Truman, and Abraham Lincoln all “Marxists.” Oh, we could throw the Pope in there, too.

Yes, analyzing the president’s policies would “complicate that matter.” Knowing that the President has protected the big banks, and is currently pushing for a multi-national business-friendly trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Obama picked-up the mantle of the conservative alternative to Hilary-Care by passing a health care law containing an Individual Mandate to end free-loading.  Obama kept most of the Bush tax cuts in place, except for those on the very rich who saw their rates return to the Clinton decade. And what a horrible, oppressive decade it was! Well, Right Said Fred wasn’t did make you feel like you were being tortured a bit.

Obama has followed precedent by passing a stimulus bill during economic crisis. Obama has followed precedent that having a solid infrastructure is key to a thriving and efficient country. Obama has followed precedent by asking private industry to join-in creating new and cleaner energy technologies. Obama is calling for investment taxes on high-income families to return to the rates of 20 years ago.

Socialism has been sprinkled in our democracy ever since the early days of this country’s inception when George Washington squelched the Whiskey Rebellion. Lincoln passed taxes to pay for Civil War expenses. Teddy Roosevelt understood that the so-called “free-market” wasn’t so free and that rules had to be created to save capitalism. Same with FDR.

A little sprinkling of socialism is hardly “Marxism.” Not that I’m going to change Farrell’s mind, I know.

Farrell’s mind is made up, despite my efforts to “complicate the matter.”

pat@wsgw.com