Monday, July 27, 2009

Please Mr. President Helpe Me Understand

I begin my remarks with the clear understanding that you are only six months into your administration but as you and Congress move towards your summer vacation I think it is a good time to ask my question.

As way of background, I have four young sons. Young in the sense that last year they were voting in either their first or only second presidential election. All of them took particular interest in following your campaign. Each spoke strongly on why you were the clear better choice for the job of president. They heard your message of hope and change and believed that it meant something. In all honesty, I heard your message and chose the other candidate but you are the President now and we have to deal with the man in office.

So, I ask you Mr. President, with all due respect, why you appear to be working so hard to disappoint my children who thought you would represent hope and change?

Let's review:

First there was the desperate need to pass the Stimulus Package by February 14th or the world would come to an end. You left self proclaimed important matter totally in the hands of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. What we got was not clearly not a stimulus package but pent-up demand for financing all the liberal Democratic ideas with little or no stimulus. In fact as of recently, there has been only tens of billions spent in stimulus with the remaining spread out over the next year and a half. Why the rush? Would not your leadership have turned this into more stimulus earlier when it is needed? Wouldn't this have been a time to engage the Republicans as you promised?

Then came the rush to Cap N Trade. Again, little time for thoughtful debate or public input. Again, you delegated the complex details to the team of Pelosi and Reid. Again, we have what is now being characterized as a poorly thought through plan with little or not thought to the consequences of the legislature.

You have shown that words matter. People listen to you when you speak because you speak well. So, we know that words have meaning to you and how have you used this power. Well, you ended the Global War on Terror ... instead we now have "Overseas Contingency Operations". We have form your OMB Director on February 26th ... "the budget shows the combined cost of operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and any other overseas contingency operations that may be necessary". Your assistant secretary of the Air Force told Congress ... "key battlefield monetary incentives has allowed the Air Force to meet the demands of overseas contingency operations even as requirements continue to grow". So, you change the language as if the issues are now different.

You promised to close Gitmo. Again, your bold public promise with no thought to how it would be done and who would pay for it. So far, your friends in Congress have said no. No money and your not moving those people to my district. Your friends in Europe and Asia have also said for all practical purposes no. Oh they might take one or two but you have several hundreds to deal with and no place to send them. Again, promises without thought.

Health Care is of course the latest demonstration that indirect incomplete speeches are your stock in trade. You speak loudly of the need for reform and yet no where do you or your representatives present specifics of any meaningful reform. You promised in your campaign that legislature would have a 48 to 72 hour reading period before being voted on. You promised that important legislature would have meaningful public input. You promised that you would listen to voices that disagreed with you. The House voted on an 1,100 page proposal with only a few hours of advance notice ... no reading time. The CBO did not have time to score the proposal but again Nancy Pelosi wanted to meet your arbitrary deadline so promises be forgotten.

You tell seniors don't worry their Medicare coverage will be okay. The tens of billions in cuts will not effect their coverage. Who will effect? Oh, the doctors who now must see many patients providing small amounts of time and according to you prescribing unnecessary tests will not receive less money per patient and be penalized for prescribing tests. So can you explain in simple terms how this will improve medical care? You belittle the health care industry for unnecessary procedures and inefficient services and what do you offer? Better computer records is your primary answer. Now electronic medical records are nice but the complete answer ... I think not. You go to Cleveland Medical Clinic to tell the world that they are a shining example of how things should be. Yet, they are not a teaching facility like many hospitals. They are a place where doctors are not in practice for themselves but all employees of one big organization. Is this your goal? If so, please state it clearly and do not hide your intentions.

The CBO Director has read through the legislature being proposed. His analysis says it will not reduce costs as you said it would. His analysis says it will not be revenue neutral as you said it would. In fact his analysis says it will increase medical care costs and cost almost $300 Billion more over the next 10 years. Your answer when questioned about this disparity ... "I don't agree with his assessment". You provide no details, no support ... just "I don't agree".

You label those who agree with you as "stakeholders" and those who disagree as "special interests". You claim the Republicans are road blocks, yet you, Pelosi and Reid do not engage them in conversation. Do you have a Richard Nixon enemies list?

Mr. President, you are the President of the entire United States. People voted for you on the belief that you are a smart man who would do things differently. The hope was that you would lead the country into a new, better day. We acknowledge that you started with a terrible economic situation, two wars and a world that really does not like us. What have you given us? You have delegated leadership to highly partisan Congressional officials. You have done as you promised and pushed extremely liberal legislature but that agenda seems to be afraid of meaningful hearings. The process does not allowed time to think through the consequences.

I acknowledge that this presentation does not cover every step you have made and then only domestic issues. Your foreign policy is not so wonderful ... is there a country you have not apologized to except our allies?

When you come back from your vacation Mr. President, will be there be time for thoughtful legislature. We will get time to read proposals? Will there be time for time for intelligent debate? Will you listen to and take into account dissenting opinions? Mr. President will you talk in specifics and not more generalities? You are the President and not the candidate. Mr. President you can not be all things to all people, you need to stand for something. You need to lead and not delegate that leadership. Only a handful of the nation voted for Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, more than 50% of the nation voted for you.

Mr. President, I implore you ... do not make my sons sorry they voted for you.

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