Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What Has Happened to the Agenda of President Obama and the Democratic Party?

During the 2008 presidential campaign so many, including millions of young, first-time voters, were inspired by the words and vision of a youthful, brilliant and charismatic leader hailed as the newest torch bearer of the Democratic Party. Then candidate and now President Obama excited and inspired his audiences much the same way as another youthful, charismatic leader of my generation had, John F. Kennedy. He rallied the masses on issues of grave importance--much needed reform of the nation's health care system, a promise to wind down operations and bring troops home from Iraq, pledges to do more to help the middle class with their tax burdens, growing job losses, rising energy costs, increased foreclosures and victims of a greed-plagued, deregulated banking industry with new restrictive lending policies and near punitive credit card standards for even its most loyal and dedicated customers. The Obama crusade swept into office and carried huge majorities of Democrats into the U.S. House and Senate--a mandate for change from the Republican policies of the previous eight years that had drifted too far right on the political spectrum. What has happened to this momentum for change? Sadly, it appears we now have a Democratic Party not knowing what it wants to be and seemingly on the defensive from a vocal, fear-mongering Republican minority. True health care reform, inclusive of a public alternative, is in trouble thanks to a misinformed public and splintering party support, the Iraq timetable has been altered and troop levels continue to rise in Afghanistan with dangerous Vietnam-like parallels, large banks are announcing "profts" thanks to taxpayer-funded TARP funds, shrinking assets and more restrictive lending and a rash of new account and credit card fees, including huge interest rate bumps levied on customers with sparkling credit records and payment histories. A long ago proposed Home Affordable Refinance Program or HARP designed to assist distressed homeowners with needed loan modifications has been a dismal failure to date, and much needed financial system restructuring and reregulation has been stalled. Yes, I realize these are all huge problems but the American public voted in a new President and a new Democratic-majority Congress to effect change. Rather than carry forth with this much-needed change once bold iniatives have become watered down by a Democratic Party in disarray and a President seemingly caving into the old politics and special interests of the Washington establishment. Mr. President, we need your leadership and a renewed vigor evidenced so strikingly during the 2008 presidential campaign now more than ever to lead our elected representatives out of the current legislative morass. As you have stated so many times before, the status quo is not acceptable. We need change that is responsive and morally responsible. American's citizens, especially its overly burdened middle class, deserve no less.

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