Sunday, November 09, 2008

Obama Team Ready To Undo Bush's Parting Shots


A few days ago we talked about the Bush Regime's last ditch efforts to let loose with a barrage of deregulation meant to devastate environmental and consumer protections. Apparently we weren't the only ones concerned. President-elect Obama's transition team is watching closely so they know what to repair on January 21. According to congressional watchdogs, they've "compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse the president on climate change, stem cell research, reproductive rights and other issues."
A team of four dozen advisers, working for months in virtual solitude, set out to identify regulatory and policy changes Obama could implement soon after his inauguration. The team is now consulting with liberal advocacy groups, Capitol Hill staffers and potential agency chiefs to prioritize those they regard as the most onerous or ideologically offensive, said a top transition official who was not permitted to speak on the record about the inner workings of the transition.

In some instances, Obama would be quickly delivering on promises he made during his two-year campaign, while in others he would be embracing Clinton-era policies upended by President Bush during his eight years in office.

"The kind of regulations they are looking at" are those imposed by Bush for "overtly political" reasons, in pursuit of what Democrats say was a partisan Republican agenda, said Dan Mendelson, a former associate administrator for health in the Clinton administration's Office of Management and Budget. The list of executive orders targeted by Obama's team could well get longer in the coming days, as Bush's appointees are rushing to enact a number of last-minute policies in an effort to extend his legacy.

Obama will reverse Bush's corporate-inspired decision to deny California the authority to tackle global warming by regulating carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles. And he certainly "intends to reverse Bush's controversial limit on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, a decision that scientists say has restrained research into some of the most promising avenues for defeating a wide array of diseases such as Parkinson's." Planned Parenthood, among other groups, are certain that Obama is going to do away with Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's global gag rule barring international family planning groups that receive U.S. aid from counseling women about the availability of legal abortion.

So what to do first? Bush is leaving behind the worst situation of any president since... Hoover? James Buchanan? Most of the people who voted for Obama expect him to take n the economy first. That should take all of his first term to get it back to how it was before Bush appeared on the national scene to loot it. This morning's NY Times says the list of priorities is long, getting longer and... basically impossible. Obama "explicitly ranked his priorities, starting with an economic recovery package that would include middle-class tax relief. His second priority, he said, would be energy; third, health care; fourth, tax restructuring; and fifth, education."



At 7:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think in one sense the "economy first" idea is a trap. Conservatives and Very Serious People of a pundit persuasion will be arguing for this, knowing that if nothing else is done in a major way before the economy is repaired, then Obama's first term will be all about the economy, and nothing much else. Especially with the large pair of holes in the US ship called Iraq and Afghanistan, which Obama doesn't intend to plug anytime, soon.

But I'm hoping that such matters as re-regulating the media via the FCC, clamping down on Homeland Security, setting up a truly meaningful dialog with various forces in the MidEast, establishing a one-on-one relationship with Russia, and investigating possible crimes under the previous federal administration will be tackled, at once. All are important; none can easily be put off, as I see it. And anybody who advises doing so is a stealth conservative, or someone who prefers a warm feeling to genuine accomplishment, IMO.

At 9:00 AM, Blogger Bloghead said...

An open letter to David Plouffe

First and second, congratulations and thank you. You masterminded the best campaign in history for a man I have the highest hopes for.

I imagine you are not done yet. I am sure that you will have something to say about the inauguration speech, and that is the subject of this letter.

JFK’s best line in his inauguration speech was arguably “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” This dovetails quite nicely with Obama’s theme that this was our campaign, and is our victory. What must be said in this most important speech is what we the people must do to help our country. The American people are willing to be told in no uncertain terms what we must do, and in my humble opinion need to be told so.

Economic recovery, which we all want, needs to be put into our hands in small deeds that we can all achieve. This recovery is obviously not just bailing out Wall Street and banks. It isn’t just about shoring up Ford and GM. Granted all that is important. But, this speech must give us clear and decisive ways for each American to assist those efforts, not just tell us what the government plans to do.

Economic recovery is a spider web of interconnecting possibilities and needs. One thread of this web is to stop sending billions of dollars overseas for oil. To get back to a superior economic status in the world we need to be energy independent. Obama has made the promise that if elected he will make us energy independent in ten years. We need to know how we the people can help make it happen ourselves. We want know what we can start doing now and not wait for the molasses to flow from Washington. Some ideas follow.

Combine the idea of shoring up the auto industry with federal loans to retool so that “Detroit” is building not only the most energy efficient cars in the world but that they are building only extremely energy efficient cars. In the speech Americans should be asked to start demanding this type of car the next time they are in the market, settle for nothing less. They should also be told to start to demand that the content of these vehicles be American made. As you probably know David, an “American” made car will probably have a transmission from Japan, and alternator made in Mexico, and so on. We need those jobs back in the USA as a part of our recovery, and Barack can ask us to demand that as well. Yes, the bailout money to Detroit could and should demand higher American made content in vehicles, but is up to we the people to buy cars truly made by American labor, our new President should tell us that.

Energy independence also will require going green. The speech should encourage all of us to do things like solar installations on our homes wherever possible. The government can aid us by helping green power startups and providing tax breaks for us to purchase the systems. Not everyone can go solar, but the speech should tell consumers to start demanding that the energy grid in America be fed by renewable sources and lobby their representatives to find a way to make this possible.

In short, I hope that in this speech our new President puts the impetus on we the people. It should be a matter of patriotism to work every day in our own small way to get our economy growing again. Barack must inspire us with definite tasks that we can do for our country. Don’t leave us wondering what we can do. Tell us. Then help us.

At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sure hope the Obama team can do something about these faith based charities and the religious fascism that goes with it. I hope to the Universe the Obama team can squelch the Christian Reich before they go nuts and use violence to the extreme. I feel like anyone who supports the true words of Jefferson, et. al. is VERY up against a bunch of people who are psychologically and spiritually challenged.

At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laura, don't hold your breath. Quoting the Pew Forum on Faith-Based Initiatives:

"In a July 2008 speech, Obama announced a plan to establish a Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. It would expand upon President Bush's faith-based initiative, primarily by allocating $500 million per year for summer learning camps that would aim to narrow the achievement gap between poor and wealthy students. Under Obama's plan, groups receiving federal funding would not be allowed to take religion into account in hiring."

To my ear, this is awfully dodgy. It appears to be aiming at giving money to faith-based initiatives, per Bush's own stamping on the Constitution, with the cover that religion not be involved in hiring. Riiight...because plenty of non-religionists are going to want join a faith-based initiative program, correct?


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