Saturday, March 3, 2012

Some Political Thoughts, Questions, and Worries

Weekend Thoughts

·         The Republican Party continues with its fight against the Affordable Care Act specifically allowing private employers to ‘opt out’ of providing care that it finds to be morally objectionable.  If the private sector starts cutting certain coverage such as contraception does it not open the door for the government to offer a public option?

·         While foreign policy is not on top of voters’ lists of concerns, has there been a President in recent memory that has been more effective in his 1st term than President Obama?  His national security team consisting of Brennan, Clinton, Panetta, and Biden have had their hands full with issues in Africa, Central Asia, South East Asia, South America, and the results are impressive.  This Obama Doctrine of reversing the Bush unilateral war mongering in favor of selective counter-terrorism, coalition building, and diplomatic pressure has returned the U.S. much of its lost global respect.

·         For some time now I have been calling for a national energy policy that lays out a long term plan that insulates the U.S. from supply shocks from the volatile oil producing regions.  This long term plan needs to reduce our dependence on oil.  Not just foreign oil, ALL OIL.  We need to elevate this policy to the same level of importance we placed on the Cold War and the War on Terror.  We must reduce our consumption through improved efficiencies, alternative sources, mass transit, and price.  Yes price.  Since the dawn of time, when governments wanted to dissuade its citizens from partaking in a certain activity, they would tax that activity.  Most recently, look at cigarettes and alcohol.  Could gas be next?

·         I await Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the U.S. with some trepidation and consternation following last year’s toxic visit and in today’s hyper trigger happy Israel-Iran showdown.  Netanyahu is a master politician and he knows his center-right government back home and its backers will expect him to talk tough.  Equally, the audience at AIPAC on Monday will be looking for some delicious red meat including heavy doses of anti-Iranian rhetoric, assertions he stands for Israeli security above all, the need to use force if necessary, and the kinship with the Republican controlled House.  The visit will also include some very critical joint statements by President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu regarding Iranian containment.  Their words and body language will be over-analyzed for any signs of disagreement on what to do with Iran. 

·         Have you noticed since last August’s debt ceiling crisis how President Obama has held the initiative against the GOP candidates and its Congressional leadership.  While the GOP is stuck fielding questions about contraceptives, Rush Limbaugh, the 1st Amendment, moon base colonies, college education, JFK speeches, tree heights, and open marriages, President Obama has taken to the campaign trail talking about a resurging economy, jobs, and a revitalized Detroit.  The momentum is on his side, but everything could easily be derailed by European economic collapse, Iranian/Israeli conflict, and a whole slew of other global issues.

Stay tuned more to come tomorrow.

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