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What Obama Needs to Do

[Posted Date: November 7, 2006 – Tuesday – 1:59 PM Under title: “Woot? Early Election Results.” all edits are within brackets]

Well, the early results are in, and things are looking good for the Democrats. Not suprisingly, Bush and the war in Iraq can be thanked for this, according to exit polls.

You know, if you’d told me two years ago that Democrats would win back control of the house in the next election, I would have scoffed at you. I would not have believed that the Republicans could screw things up SO BAD that people would be forced to vote for our lackluster Democratic Party.

So while I’m happy that neo-conservatives and the Religious Right are no longer in charge of the house, I’m unhappy that the Democratic Party seems incapable of making the changes that need to happen. But again, I’m happy that I can now complain about them as well as the Republicans…someone reading my blog in the past might take me for a tried and true Democrat. I’m Liberal…yes…Democrat…not really. I’m way to fiscally conservative and critical to appreciate the “circuses and peanuts” politics so favored by our supposedly liberal party.

So, here’s what I would like Democrats to focus on in the coming years. If they do a good job, maybe we can have a liberal president (If they do a bad job, hopefully we can have an intelligent conservative like John McCain, but that’s another blog):

1) The National Debt. In 2006, $400 Billion will be paid toward INTEREST on the national debt. This is not to PAY OFF our debt, mind you, it’s merely the amount needed to keep solvent. Instead of going into even greater debt, we should tighten our belts and start paying off the 7.3 TRILLION dollars we currently owe.

  • [2006] Likelihood: less than 10%
  • [2008 Likelihood: less than 5%. We are more in debt than ever]

2) Further limiting lobbying and campaign financing by special interest groups. Lobbyist and other special interest groups are buying our politicians. Anybody who is paying attention in the last decade has seen rubber stamped laws being passed that were basically (and sometimes literally) written by lobbyist. The american people are getting screwed, and it needs to stop.

  • [2006] Likelihood: less than 40% unless people stand up for this.
  • [2008 Likelihood: higher than 60%]

3) A Return to the Constitution. Recently the Republicans have violated very basic constitutional concepts, implementing mass wire-tapping, torture, denial of habeas corpus, and greatly expanding the power of the executive branch. The Constitution is in place to protect all citizens from our government, and to make our state work for us instead of the reverse. If we don’t like something in the constitution, there are proscribed methods of changing it. Public officials who violate the constitution should be tried and sentenced as criminals.

  • [2006] Likelihood: 30% or less for strong changes, 90% for weak changes.
  • [2008 Likelihood: 40% for strong changes, weak already happening]

The top three issues are directly related to our ability to function as a nation. Now for other equally important issues that are dependent on that occuring.

4) Attention to The Environment and Global Warming. Parents are naturally protective of their children, and want what is best for them. So why are we leaving them a world destroyed by uncontrolled expansion and exploitation? This is an issue of utmost importance for our generation…we have the power to change things for the better, or not. One way or another, things are going to change…the oil will run out, resources scarcer, and the earth will get warmer. But if we are forward looking we will be able to anticipate and mitigate these changes instead of just reacting to them after the fact.

  • Likelihood: 75%
  • [2008 Likelihood: It’s happening]

5) Raising the minimum wage. While inflation goes onward and upward, minimum wage has been static since Republicans took control. Currently the federal minimum wage is $5.15 per hour. This works out to $824 a MONTH for a full time employee. That’s $24 more than the rent on my modest one bedroom apartment in the Seattle area. We can afford to help the poorest among us, even if it means we have to pay more for the same goods.
[2006] Likelihood: 75% or higher.

[2008 Likelihood Minimum wage now at 5.85o, a 12% increase over two years. Actual inflation went up 12% LAST year. So wage went up, but cost of living went up twice as fast. Sigh.]

6) Increased Respect for Science. Bush and the Religious Right have waged a war on science that is unequaled in recent history. Any scientific results that did not support the party line were ignored and actively squashed. They actively ignored scientific consensus on issues like global warming, creating a “controversy” where there was none. This is incredibly ignorant and arrogant.

Listen, we all have pretty little pictures we draw in our minds to describe how the world works. Why communism is bad and capitalism is good. Why conservatives are wrong and liberals are right. Why our religion is better than other religions. These ideas about the world are necessarily wrong, they are only simplified stories we tell ourselves. Science keeps us honest by requiring that we back up these stories with evidence, and maybe even tell the story BASED on the evidence. This is sorely needed in government.

  • Likelihood: 90%…it would be hard to do worse than it is right now.
  • [Likelihood: still 90%, but it’s a battle every step of the way. Those who accept their pastor words on faith ask for definitive proof of human caused climate change. Sigh.]
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