According to Dictionary.com the word ‘wonk’ means - a student who spends much time studying and has little or no social life.
While I am not a complete wonk; I am certainly ‘Wonkish’ (if that’s a word) about politics. That being said, what President Obama and other leaders have been doing since 2007 – has awakened me from my wonk-hibernation.
In my ‘Wonkish’ research in the past few months; I have happened upon a few videos that articulate and support my huge concerns about President Obama and the poor leadership we have within Washington right now.
I have taken the liberty of creating a video montage that does not take anyone out of context and clearly supports not only my opinions and positions. It also supports my claims in the recent months that my positions and opinions of candidates and policy are not merely based on what feels or sounds good. No, primarily my positions are based on careful examination, study and research of what has actually worked in the past.
Additionally, I continually question if a candidates rhetoric or promises actually align with what they have done or achieved while in office. Does their behavior match their words?
I told you I am wonkish!
The video montage below will highlight many things I have been speaking out about.
Here are my points:
· The first clip is of meetings before Obamacare was passed. Paul Ryan (who is also a policy and economy wonk, and a good one I might add), is asked by Republicans to address President Obama and Vice President Biden about why Obamacare policy; from a taxing and spending position – as well as a regulation point of view - will quit simply not work. Paul Ryan is stating the bill will not do what Obamacare has promised to do:
o It will not cut costs – or slow down the cost of healthcare.
o It is full of budget gimmicks such as double counting the same funds to be used in different programs (you cannot use the same money twice).
o The CBO itself has scored the bill as being much more costly than what Obama said it will be.
o The office of the Medicare Actuary (another non-partisan group like the CBO); upon their analysis of the Obamacare bill fully supports Paul Ryan’s concerns and claims. NOTE - I wish to point out that in my business, I work with hundreds of Healthcare Finance Professionals; ranging from large hospital systems, physicians groups, specialists and private practices. In my role as a Board Member of the VA/DC Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) – I have had the opportunity to learn of these details at great length since late 2008.
o Paul Ryan in this video is incredibly informed, articulate and even gently chastises President Obama and V.P. Biden for not listening to the American People or the professionals who work in healthcare.
· The Second Portion of the Montage – is a video of Erskine Bowles addressing an audience of students and professionals about President Obama’s Debt Commission and his refusal to follow their suggestions or plans. His address was in November 2011 at Columbia Business School.
o Bowles explains the lengths he went to for 9 months to be sure he understood the President’s goals, so he could work toward those goals.
o Bowles explains his previous experience negotiating budgets and deficit reduction plans with Newt Gingrich on behalf of the Clinton Administration.
o Bowles says that in his opinion – President Obama was too influenced by the partisan and more ideological members of his staff. He mentions, Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod, Robert Gibbs, etc. – Obama Team Members Bowles describes as the “political guys”.
o He does give President Obama some credit – stating that several months after the dismissal of the debt commission, the President has come back with two other plans. Bowles goes on to explain why these plans will not work either.
o Bowles clearly expresses his opinion that President Obama was refusing the debt commission’s recommendations as a “political move”; that he wanted to make himself look like the guy who would fight the Republicans. How? - By making them act first – so he could counter with something that appeared to be in the middle or more reasonable (Is that leadership on the part of Pres. Obama? – I certainly do not think so).
o Bowles is a long time Democrat - Bowles served as Clinton's White House Deputy Chief of Staff, in the first term of the Clinton Administration. He was the guy that helped President Clinton to work with Republicans in the 1990’s – to track back to the middle on tax and fiscal policies – which stopped a short term recession and brought us back in line with Reagans policies of the 1980’s.
· This brings me to the last portion of the Video Montage – this is a Fox News Video interview with Art Laffer; Saturday September 8, 2012 – former economic advisor to the Reagan Administration who CLEARLY says what I have been articulating recently.
o President Clinton – working with Erskine Bowles and the Republicans under Newt Gingrich cooperated with conservatives. The bi-partisan agreement that came from these negotiations were for the most part conservative fiscal policies that continued to maintain the economic boom that started under President Reagan. President Obama has not been cooperating with Republicans the way that Clinton did.
o He is critical of both President George W. Bush and President Obama for not embracing conservative economic policies. I have been saying for years now that Bush was not an ideal president when it came to economic policy and regulations. President Obama is quite clearly even worse.
o Laffer goes on to express why Obama is not working and why he should not be re-elected.
Please Note – for several months now – every time I hear President Obama say; he is simply continuing the same policy that Clinton used to lead a great economy and a balanced budget… I know that his claims are completely inaccurate.
The Fox News Video; of which the first few seconds of introduction were cut off – is an analysis of former President Bill Clinton’s claims in his speech at the DNC this past Wednesday evening he gave as an endorsement of Obama. In the 90’s I paid close attention to Clinton and studied his policies as well. I nearly fell out of my chair as I watched Clinton’s speech the other night. I was amazed how willingly he put down or misrepresented his own legacy in order to provide support and cover for President Obama. In his speech the other night; he claimed that no other president could have done a better job than Obama did with the situation he inherited when he entered the oval office. This is a great speech to excite the base at the DNC in Charlotte – but it is pure conjecture and best; and it completely ignores the facts. To put it plainly – even if that is truly Clinton’s opinion – there are many respected and credible experts such as Erskine Bowles and Art Laffer – people from both the right and left of the political spectrum; who have stated strongly that Obama could have and should have done a much better job. Four years from the collapse; we should be much further along in our recovery than we are. We are not due to Obama’s failure in leadership and his failed policies.
President Obama in his nomination acceptance speech at the DNC Thursday evening – he made mention of the debt commission and that he is now willing to ‘endorse their recommendations’. In this speech he also said, "Last summer, I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut $1 trillion in spending --because those of us who believe government can be a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it so that it's leaner, more efficient, and more responsive to the American people." – I am very sorry President Obama – you are at least two years late and $3 Trillion short. You had your chance to lead and you have squandered that opportunity much to the pain, loss and suffering of the American people.
Clearly – the video of Erskine Bowles’ sharing his experience working with President Obama and the debt commission efforts proves that Obama’s motives are not healthy for America. Furthermore; Obama has become a master at saying one thing and then doing something else entirely – and for this reason; I simply do not believe the rhetoric of his speech at the DNC last Thursday night. His credibility is shot.
Bottom line is - Obama has had 4 years to do the right things. He has had more than enough time to prove his claims, keep his promises and most importantly – Lead! President Obama has failed across the economic board. I strongly believe he must go – that if he is re-elected, his lack of experience, inability to show leadership and what I believe is his inability to compromise and shift away from his ideology – will virtually guarantee that our nation and economy will get worse. As close to the fiscal cliff as we are – that is a terrible choice.
Romney & Ryan – upon examination of their record; have not kept every promise they have made or achieved every policy or program goal they stated in the past. This is to be expected in the muddy world of politics. That being said – they have a much better track record. Romney’s success as a turnaround specialist in the private sector, later for the 2002 Olympics and then success as Governor of Massachusetts; in a state house that was 70% Democrat – proves him to me a MUCH BETTER bet.
Ryan has the budget and fiscal leadership experience and ‘wonkish knowledge’ – combined with charismatic leadership skills to be a great partner to a President Romney. I see them both ushering in more Reagan or even Clinton like fiscal and economic policies for our great nation. That presents a much greater chance for the best possible outcome than another four years of an Obama Administration.
The Romney Ryan Plan is nearly identical in principal to the policies and efforts of the Reagan Administration; with exceptions for our specific needs at this time.
For those of you who are on the fence, undecided - or perhaps you have decided but you are open to hearing things out and changing your mind – I urge you to vote for Romney / Ryan.
Columbia University Business School, November 2011
C-Span, February 2010
Christian Post – Politics