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SCOUTER-Terry

Now... Eleven Executive Priorities for Obama

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Before the election I wrote ten reasons why I would vote for Obama. I can think of at least eleven high priority, executive actions he should take now that he's been elected.

 

The job before Obama is as complex and daunting as any President has faced since FDR. A global economy in crisis, two wars, a resilient radical Islamist threat throughout the world Americas hard power is stretched too thin, and our soft power is deeply eroded.

 

Here at home, he faces a workforce still not ready for a flat world, an abysmal secondary education system, millions of Americans without health care, a looming energy crisis and a country conditioned to distrust each other over wedge issues.

 

Many of the things on this list may be naive and wishful thinking... and ideologically drawn from the left and the right. But these are my "armchair quarterback" executive actions the new chief executive for America should take:

Immediately convene an economic council with people like Buffet, Bloomberg and Volkner... even Paulson. Critically review the recent bailout its only been a few weeks, but its not too soon (or too late) to correct course. Fix the unintended consequences of the bailout (i.e. lenders that didnt get low cost cash have slowed their lending because they cant compete at the cost of money).

 

If the government is going to inject more capital into the credit markets, it should spur entrepreneurship and small business and jobs (i.e. loans for equipment and short-term capital needs of companies, and pump up the SBA lending programs).

Close Gitmo and stop extraordinary rendition. Americas actions will speak much louder than words. Make a clear and undeniable statement on torture. Align the State Department to rebuild Americas soft power. Challenge the world and rebuild the coalition against terrorism, and reach out with real diplomacy. Tthe world was united after 9/11 to neutralize this threat the Madrid train bombings, July 7 London attack, Russian school massacre terrorism was not just Americas problem. But we squandered the coalition by focusing on Iraq, and a new call to arms is needed.

Critically review the overhaul Bush did on our intelligence agencies, and whats left undone. We created a Director of National Intelligence in 2004 to serve as the head of sixteen different intelligence agencies within the US government did it work? Is there better information, cooperation and effectiveness in this community?

As Commander in Chief, tell the American people what clear strategic objectives youve given your generals. Retain Bob Gates as Secretary of Defense hes a good man, and an effective manager. Hes also probably closer to your point of view than his current boss. Colin Powell is a suitable alternative. Accelerate the reorganization of the military to be leaner and more agile. Decapitate (again) a resurgent Al Qaeda, make a priority of capturing Bin Laden in Afghanistan or Pakistan or wherever these leaders are hiding. Draw down forces in Iraq. Use the same scheme of bribes to local warlords to surgically fight in Afghanistan (and acknowledge the best we can probably achieve is a friendly dictator and beholden local tribe leaders).

Challenge the country to energy independence within 10 years, and fund a Manhattan Project-style initiative for science and technology research that tackles the energy and climate change issues that are too costly for private enterprise. Private sector investment into these areas is much different than we saw with information technology it costs more and takes longer for real results.

Embrace federalism through your policies and positions, but not through unfunded mandates. Open and maintain a regular, direct, executive-to-executive dialogue with the governors offices. Bring the National Guard home and reaffirm the role of governors in deploying this force, especially for the emergencies that may happen in the homeland. Restructure the education department to fund block grants to the states and spur higher standards, more creative education methods, more free market influence in secondary education, and better pay and more accountability with teachers.

Health care should be a right in this country, and every American should have access to quality care. You said during the campaign that single payer was probably not practical, so lets not waste time on a grandiose, big government solution. Theres a raging crisis in Medicaid, where the federal government requires states to provide health care insurance to the poor, but only picks up 60% or the cost. 53 million Americans receive Medicaid at a cost of $300 billion a year. Costs are spiraling and states are cutting their budgets, and Medicaid is untenable. Reform it, and expand its availability. Let the states administer universal health insurance for the poor, but give them the resources to do it. Provide tax credits to businesses that pay health care costs for low wage earners.

Use the overwhelming influence youve cultivated with young people in this country for a renewed call to service expand on Jim Webbs Veterans Education Assistance Act, making military service a good deal beyond a patriotic duty. Radically grow Americorp and renew the partnering commitment to non-profit organizations, public agencies and faith-based groups. Today 70,000 people join AmeriCorp each year; you should make it a goal of your Presidency to dramatically increase the opportunities for service to our country.

As Vice President Al Gore tried a National Performance Review of the government, and an effort to reduce bureaucracy, inefficiency and waste. That was a job left undone, and the size of government has ballooned again. Waste is rampant, especially after a Bush administration dominated by lobbyist and populated through cronyism. Appoint a new czar, state a goal to cut 15% or 20% of waste from the bureaucracy and hold your Cabinet responsible for cleaning house. You can do this no one will ever see it coming from a Democrat.

One mans pork is another mans road, bridge or school. An omnibus appropriations bill from Congress needs the Presidents executive leadership, and an administrative focus on the real infrastructure needs of America, another good chance to work with governors. The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act you sponsored in the Senate is a start, but the country needs even more visibility into spending priorities and projects.

Put forth a conservative balanced budget; temper Congress, especially from liberal excesses. Set the tone with Congress that America will not tolerate a far left agenda, and that the party in power today must be more responsible, more sane and ultimately more conservative than the administration that is exiting. This Congress could waste a lot of time settling scores, prosecuting an administration that broke the law (war crimes and other), and bickering. Or it can chart a sane course, and manage the government in a more responsible way. The latter is what will keep them in power, and move the country forward.

 

Get started with these executive initiatives, and maybe in his second term we can tackle tax reform. :-)

 

 

 

 

TERRY HOWERTON

 

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The 11th priority, IMHO, is the hinge on which the other 10 will swing. And given the past track record....well, I'm not to optimistic that the dem-dominated Congress can rise to the occasion and fulfill number 11. Maybe they will prove me wrong. If they don't prove me wrong, expect a repub. tidal wave in two years that will sweep the congressional elections.

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You say we should embrace federalism.

 

However you say we should keep education block grants to states to fund higher educations standards.

 

Same with health care. You said that states should administer it to the poor with federal resources.

 

Such measures are what kill federalism. It does not allow the states to decide for themselves their own priorities. It directs them from Washington - certain health care and education standards, and fund them accordingly. Your plan would use the states as mere administrative agencies of the federal government.

 

This is not true federalism which recognizes the sovereignty of the states.

 

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::scratching head in amazement::

 

Terry said "Put forth a conservative balanced budget; temper Congress, especially from liberal excesses."

 

Which candidate did you say you voted for??? (You voted for a liberal socialist and now you think he'll change his stripes????)

 

 

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Obama knows who put him into office, and who can re-elect him and it wasn't wellfare queens.

 

It was moderate Republicans and middle of the road independents, who are looking for a fiscally responsible government. The Republicans have shown, especially the neocon, tax cut and spend like there's no tomorrow crowd, that they are not the party of fiscal responsibility. Obama will get tremendous pressure from his own party to open the spending floodgates for their own special interests. Hopefully he has the wisdom to temper their impulses. The current administration didn't.

 

 

We shall see.

 

SA

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I recommend you read the Constitution. Its set forth how our federal government should work. In particular, ONLY those things explicitly allowed by the constitution may be done by the federal government. Everything remains with the states and us citizens. That is the true concept of 'federalism'.

 

As to your points.

 

* the governemnt needs to stay out of the economy. The economic crisis was cause by government interference, and it will be made worse by further. The Great Depression was cause by the interference of Hoover & FDR. The bailout should be recended, bad debt needs to be liquidated, and the Federal Reserve eliminated.

 

* no real issue here.

 

* yes, redundany in many things needs to be eliminated. Along with a lot of other unnecessary federal departments (Education, etc etc)

 

* We need to bring our troops home. We have no business building nations. Our founders warned us of this.

 

* Not the job of the government to do this. The market, if you allow it, will do this just fine.

 

* Federalism means the federal government should restrict itself to what it should, leave the states to their job. Education is NOT the job of the federal government. Hell, government should get out of schools, its just a way of indoctrination. Leave it to the people to decide.

 

* Not the job of the government to provide health care. Health care is NOT a right. The problems in the health care industry are largely the results, again, of government interference in the form of Medicare/Medicaid and such. Again, the market will do a better job.

 

* Don't confuse service with slavery. Volunteer service is when you want to do it. Forced service is nothing more then slavery.

 

* Better idea would be to check the Constitution. If a governement function is not mentioned, get rid of it! That would really shrink the government and bureaucracy.

 

* Better yet, is the get the Congress to understand they only have 17 things they can do. Anything else is unconstitution, ie ILLEGAL. They took an oath to obey the Constitution. Lets make sure these people OBEY their oath. That goes for the President as well.

 

 

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Terry, I agree with you on Bob Gates, but I can't think of anybody less qualified to oversee reorganization of the military than an Obama administration full of Democrats, none of whom like the military. Many of the problems our military has today stem from the Clinton administration.

 

Just guessing who his military advisors will be, judging by the generals who endorsed him, I wouldn't be optimistic. I've worked for some of them and they are pretty scary.

 

I'm afraid we would end up with "lean" and that's about it.

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emb021,

 

You must be a libertarian.

 

My biggest concern regarding an Obama presidency is his belief in positive rights. Once you do that then everything becomes a right. Education, food, housing, health care, Internet access, cable television, electric cars and pool cleaning.

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Kahuna,

 

Hooey! Saying that Democrats dislike the military is a talk radio talking point. I hate to break it to you, but the military is made up of people of all stripes within our society. The military is not made up soley of big straping, square jawed, blue eyed, high school quarterback, card carrying Republicans. A good number of Democrat politicians served our country with distinction.

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"You must be a libertarian."

 

yes, I am.

 

"My biggest concern regarding an Obama presidency is his belief in positive rights. Once you do that then everything becomes a right. Education, food, housing, health care, Internet access, cable television, electric cars and pool cleaning."

 

'positive rights'. Never heard that term.

 

But what you list are not rights, but priveleges/entitlements. If someone has to pay for it, its not a right.

 

To claim such things as a 'right' seems like socialism to me.

 

 

 

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"Negative rights" are rights which permit inaction. You are free to speak, but you are not required to speak and the government is not obliged to provide you a means to speak. The rights laid out in the Bill of Rights are all negative rights that the government is not allowed to interfere with but is under no obligation to provide.

 

"Positive rights" are rights that require action. You have a negative right to be secure in your person. Make this a positive right would mean that the government is required to provide you the protection needed. Anything can be made a positive right, although you are correct in describing then as entitlements. When something becomes a "positive right" it is at the expense of negative rights.

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Saying that Democrats dislike the military is a talk radio talking point

It's also been my personal observation. Of course, there are exceptions, but when Democrats are in power, the military suffers.

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It's a very common misperception that the Constitution enumerates limits on what the federal government can do. While it does list some restrictions (no bill of attainder, no removal of habeus corpus), it doesn't restrict the federal government to a list of items it is allowed to do. Most people who state this point to the list of items in Article 1, Section 8 as the only things the government can do. But that isn't what this article does. Rather, this article restricts the list to the federal government alone (or to show the difference - it means "Only the federal government can do these things" NOT "The federal government can only do these things"). Only the federal government can borrow money on the credit of the United States - not the states. Only the federal government can issue patents and copyrights - not the states. Only the federal government can raise a navy or army - not the states.

 

Article 9 lists what the federal government can't do - and it's not a very big list.

 

What the Bill of Rights and the rest of the Amendments to the Constitution provides either further limits on the federal government (no quartering soldiers, no congressional pay raises effective until after the next election) or further protect rights of the people by enumerating them specifically (even though the people still have unenumerated rights). Still, at 27 amendments, it's also a very small list.

 

The Constitution is worded in such a way as to provide that the federal government can do things not specifically listed as a power of the federal government, provided they are not specifically restricted.

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"It's a very common misperception that the Constitution enumerates limits on what the federal government can do. While it does list some restrictions (no bill of attainder, no removal of habeus corpus), it doesn't restrict the federal government to a list of items it is allowed to do. Most people who state this point to the list of items in Article 1, Section 8 as the only things the government can do. But that isn't what this article does. Rather, this article restricts the list to the federal government alone (or to show the difference - it means "Only the federal government can do these things" NOT "The federal government can only do these things"). Only the federal government can borrow money on the credit of the United States - not the states. Only the federal government can issue patents and copyrights - not the states. Only the federal government can raise a navy or army - not the states."

 

Oh my Calico. My heart sank when I read this. This is the worst interpretation of the constitution I have ever heard. Try reading the works of any of the founding fathers on the constitution and you will quickly see that you are in error. I don't even know what to say.

 

Article I, Section 8 clearly says:

 

"Congress shal have the power . . ."

 

And only there does it list the powers of Congress. Also many of the early Constitutional amendments included an enforcement clause which allowed Congress to enforce the amendment. Another realization that Congress did not have unlimited power.

 

Further the 10th Amendment says:

 

 

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

 

Another clear indication that the powers of the federal governement are quite limited.

 

I must point out that there is no Article 9 of the Constitution as you claim, which only further shows your lack of understanding of the document.

 

You do correctly point out that the Bill of Rights further limits the power of the federal government. However recall the reason why it was not originally put in the Constitution and why Mr. Madison at first opposed its adoption: Why should Congress be barred from doing things that it had no power to do it the first place. Such as why should Congress be barred from abridging the freedom of speech when it had no right to do so in the first place.

 

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In my haste to write, I said Article 9 rather than Article 1, Section 9 which is what I wa referring to. I'm hopeful most people understood what I was referring to.

 

 

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