Vail Daily letter: Cheers for Obama |

Vail Daily letter: Cheers for Obama

Ted Springer
Vail, CO, Colorado

In his commentary (Vail Daily, Jan. 27) our resident conservative ideologue, Butch Mazzuca, in effect joins the far-right group whose goal is to “break Obama,” in the words of a Republican congressman. He’s on thin ice, and centers his major commentary on Obama’s handling of the intelligence services.

Truth is, Obama headed into a troubling situation in the intelligence services and dealt with it. Obama is a pragmatist, and risks making decisions that may not be popular, but are thoroughly thought through.

In chastising Obama regarding his treatment vis a vis the terrorist problem, does Mazzuca really believe that Obama, his State Department (Hillary Clinton) and Defense Department (Robert Gates, a Republican) aren’t fully aware of and dealing actively with the threat of what Mazzuca characterizes as other Islamic “franchise groups” in addition to al Qaida?

And he no doubt agrees with the conservative Wall Street Journal columnist whose quote he uses: “Rather than focus on terrorism, Obama frittered his attention on issues that were secondary and tertiary — climate change, health care — while the terrorists moved and the system stuttered.”

Truth is, Obama and his people have been actively pursuing the terrorist problem, but that is not the kind of thing they choose to do through the media.

And are climate change and health care secondary and tertiary considerations? Tell that to all those Americans whose health insurance has been denied because of change of jobs. Or because of a pre-existing condition. Most bankruptcies are because of the inability to pay for the health care costs people have necessarily sustained. And talk about frittering.

What have the Republicans done regarding health-care plans other than to say no to everything put forth by the Democrats and floating a laughable half-plan that basically let the private health insurers off the hook as they continue to increase rates substantially (most recently just before they thought the health care bill would pass)?

Obama headed into a decades-long need for a re-do on our health-care system. The U.S. is the only first tier country (of some 17 industrialized nations) to deny universal health-care coverage to its citizens. That seems to be fine by the Republicans. Their plan left tens of millions uncovered.

What else has Obama been doing? He successfully headed into the economic mess left by the private sector practicing, basically, unchecked free market capitalism (Mazzuca’s first love). Mark Zandi, one of McCain’s economic advisors, has said: “The stimulus is doing what it was supposed to do — it is contributing to ending the recession. In my view, without the stimulus, GDP would still be negative and unemployment would be firmly over 11 percent.” Most economists now agree that the economy is, in fact, on the rise. Shall we give Obama a whole lot of credit? Of course.

Regarding foreign policy, Obama has put America on a new footing with the rest of the world. Can anyone deny, even Mazzuca, that Obama has given hope for a better future to billions (billions!) of world inhabitants?

Who could argue that America’s image around the world has not been immeasurably improved (as compared to the previous policy of unilateralism and disdain for other cultures)? The key to a successful future for us all lies in building an international community of cooperation and respect. That’s why, by the way, Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Hope.

Again, regarding foreign policy, Obama’s decision on, for instance, Afghanistan, was done intelligently and pragmatically and only after he reviewed all aspects of the situation, listening to those representing all viewpoints, including, importantly, Gen. Patraeus and his colleagues.

On the question of pushing for a green evolution-revolution, Obama is doing right by the planet and our economy by creating jobs. He has made the EPA responsible for carbon emissions in opposition to the conservative stance of protecting the energy industries and awarding them huge subsidies.

And, unlike previously, scientists are given full voice instead of being discounted and blatantly censored by an administration which throttled free discourse on the subject of global warming.

Lo and behold, many Republicans actually believe we have global warming and it is largely being caused by humans. Those that argue that the planet warming is simply due to natural fluctuations, deny the effect of human-caused carbon emissions. That’s what has made the difference.

We are blessed with the leadership of a president who is extremely intelligent yet pragmatic, compassionate and has the temperament and skill to solve the nation’s problems successfully. OK, now you know where I stand.

Ted Springer


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