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Obama keeps calm

Posted: December 10, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 10, 2013 2:00 a.m.

There is no denying that Barack Obama has had a long and difficult row to hoe. On the night of his inauguration in 2009, 13 Republican House and Senate leaders, plus Newt Gingrich and spinmeister Frank Luntz, met secretly in Washington to coordinate tactics to destroy his presidency.

They hatched a plan to deny the president any legislative victories with the goal of winning back the White House in 2012. The cynical partisan divide born in that meeting has cast a pall over Washington, D.C., ever since.

The American people and a troubled world were not considered. The Republican Party’s electoral success and political power were the only concern.

To give credit where credit is due, the Republicans have been very successful in bringing governing to a standstill, culminating this year with the disastrous shutdown.

No president or political party can accomplish anything on its own; there must be some semblance of bipartisanship to achieve anything of value in Washington, D.C.

The 113th Congress is the least productive in United States history, with only 55 bills passed and signed into law.

Given the current hyper-partisan Republican opposition to anything and everything proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats, Washington, D.C., will continue to be part of the problem and not the solution it was meant to be.

I am frequently accused of being quick to point out the errors of the Republican way, yet failing to inform the public of the good that has been accomplished by President Obama.

Believe it or not (I’m talking to you, conservatives), the list is quite substantial — too big for this column. For a full accounting, just Google “Obama accomplishments.”

However, I can offer a smattering of what the Internet will reveal.

The administration ended the Iraq War and by this time next year our troops will be home from Afghanistan, as well.

President Obama’s economic policies pulled us back from the brink of a worldwide recession, and despite no assistance from congressional Republicans we have recovered from the worst recession since the Great Depression.

The budget deficit the Obama administration inherited has been cut in half and is predicted to continue to decline for the next 10 years.

Stock markets are at record highs.

The administration has ruthlessly pursued al-Qaeda terrorists, wherever they may be hiding. Obama reauthorized the search for Osama bin Laden and under his watch, bin Laden was found, captured and executed.

Brutal Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown with the assistance of the American military but with no American casualties.

Sanctions and diplomacy have brought Iran to the bargaining table, and there is an excellent chance its nuclear weapons program will be dismantled without a single shot being fired or bomb dropped.

Wall Street remains a top economic predator, but regulators have regained some teeth and are reining in some of the worst excesses.

The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has given American citizens an agency to protect them from the worst predations of banks, credit card companies and private equity firms.

The environment is cleaner, greener and we are producing more renewable energy than any time in history.

Thanks to President Obama’s signature legislative victory, the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans will now have access to low-cost, high-quality medical insurance plans.

Some of the ancillary benefits of the ACA include free preventive medicine, and insurance companies can no longer deny coverage for pre-existing conditions nor can they drop coverage on sick people.

Lifetime caps on benefits have been removed. Children can stay on parents’ policies until they are 26 years old.

The new market-based health care system will reduce the federal deficit by $124 billion in the first decade and up to $1.2 trillion in the second decade.

Republicans loved this plan when the Heritage Foundation proposed it as an alternative to Bill and Hillary Clinton’s health plan in 1993, yet sadly, the Obama Derangement Syndrome that currently infects the Republican Party prevents them from now supporting the same plan they themselves once proposed.

Government exists to serve the American people. It does that best when the free exchange of ideas leads to compromise and legislative balance.

The current partisan black hole has distracted many from that goal, but thankfully, the president is not one of them.

Kevin Buck is a Santa Clarita resident. “Democratic Voices” runs Tuesdays in The Signal and rotates among several SCV Democrats.



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