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July 12, 2014

President Obama and the Affordable Care Act

The President has made mistakes that contributed to our government not working as well as it should. We the people elected him even with his lack of experience. He was elected because of his charisma, intelligence and many citizens, black and white, looked forward to having a black President. The country was tired of war and saw John McCain as an old war horse and others were scared of having Sarah Palin so close to the nuke button.

Hindsight says the President made a critical mistake by introducing legislation for universal health care, the Affordable Care Act, early in his first year in office while the country was in the early stages of fighting the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930's. In addition, the President went into hiding for months in order to get up to speed on health care and the process necessary to pass it into law. He turned the process over to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and they showed little respect for the concerns of the Republicans. Not much “warm and fuzzy” was going on in Washington.

The health care law was enacted in the House of Representative with a single Republican vote. All 39 Republican Senators voted against the bill. This clearly contributed to the animosity the Republicans in Congress show towards Obama. If he had more experience he would have known better.

His Chief of Staff at the time, Rahm Emanuel, never was known as “Mr. Nice Guy” as he was not liked by many in Congress. He was elected to Congress in 2002. President Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2005 and was there until 2008 when he was elected President. In February 2007 he declared his candidacy for President. Clearly he was contemplating his run for the White House sometime in 2006. As a result he did not have much time to build solid relationships with other members of the senate and congress before making his bid for the highest office in the land. He spent very little time rolling up his sleeves and working on a bill or selling his ideas to fellow senators. From an outsiders perspective he had an outward smile but was an inner recluse. He was not in the senate long enough to build solid relationships.

President Obama significantly contributed to money being more of a factor in electing presidents and other political figures in this country. He should admit this and push an amendment to repeal Citizens United and drastically reduce the influence money has in politics. The average citizen is not well represented in Washington.

Obama was very soft on the financial service industry which contributed to our economic meltdown in 2008. No senior executive from this industry spent time in jail for their wrong doing while the average homeowner was devastated with huge financial losses.

Clearly President Obama is not an extroverted back slapper. Nor is he a deal maker. He is reserved, very intelligent and keeps things close to his vest. He is an analyzer. To his credit, he makes time for his family.

Republicans have not always acted like adults. My mother had a saying in polish. “Co Jakub z Bogiem, Bóg do Jakuba”. Translated it means don't get mad, get even. The Republicans not only got angry over health care passing, they have been trying to get even ever since its passage. Often they sacrifice doing what was in the best interest of the country just to get even with President Obama. A prime example was shutting down the government in 2013.

Color still matters. There are significant numbers of citizens upset over our President being black. Many are members of the Tea Party. Not all Tea Party members feel that way and some moderate Republicans and Democrats also are prejudice towards the President because of his color.

Obama has tried harder to mend fences than the Republicans. Republicans often try to humiliate him regardless of the cost to the country. This is occurring as the rest of the world is watching and wondering. They are shaking their heads in disgust.

In summary much of the reduction of our influence around the world is the result of other nations recovering from the devastation of World War II. We deserve a pat on the back for helping in their advancement. Simultaneously how we behaved since 911 leaves much to be desired. We have spent billions of dollars on needless wars that resulted in hundreds of thousands of lives lost while accomplishing very little squabbling amongst ourselves.

America, it is time to get back on the right track.

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