tom hayden

Tom Hayden’s Obama Factums

by Robert Hunziker

Tom Hayden was interviewed on KPFK, 90.7/LA by Terrence McNally’s Free Forum on Sunday, October 28th. McNally discussed Hayden’s September 2012 article Saving Obama, Saving Ourselves as well as Hayden’s general support for Obama’s re-election. The interview lasted one hour, and in the final analysis, Hayden’s sparkling advocacy of support for Obama at the polls would push any undecided voter over the top, voting for Obama with both hands.

Hayden: “Obama has had a part in disillusioning of his own base… Obama did not tell his story to the American public.”

In essence, Hayden’s message is: Stop focusing on unemployment which is the only data point the mainstream news and the Republican mouth pieces focus on and take a hard look at Obama’s major accomplishments that will grow and protect America in the future.

As a prelude to why vote for Obama, Hayden cautions that Romney is no more than a Trojan horse for the Tea Party, neocons, and pro-war mongers. Behind the pasted smile that Romney wears is a man who has sold his soul to the devil, all for the grand office, and his selection of Paul Ryan as his VP candidate is the icing on the cake and affirmative proof of Romney’s cave-in to the ultra right wing Republican faction.

It is Obama’s positives that Hayden enunciates so well, and it is the positives that stand out so prominently; however, the public’s knowledge of Obama’s success is nearly zero.

McNally asked Hayden to run through his list of Obama’a accomplishments, but before doing that Hayden first itemized two additional precautions for those who may protest the election (distraught progressives, democrats, or independents) by not voting at all or voting for a third party candidate.

First, something most people do not know, Romney has delegated selection of Supreme Court nominees, should he win, to Robert Bork, who, according to Hayden, “is about as reactionary, angry of a man as there’s been in American judicial history.” This alone is a reason to vote for Barack Obama, whose Supreme Court nominees have been fair-to-excellent. And, this alone should be enough for any voter to the left of a moderate Republican, assuming one can be found nowadays, to vote for Obama.

Secondly, Hayden queries voters who they would rather trust to handle international nuclear affairs, Obama or Romney, who is beholden to neocons and a continuation of the Bush foreign policy years.

Hayden’s positive case for Obama is filled with substance in light of the general public’s lack of knowledge of what the Obama administration has accomplished. For example: According to Hayden, if he were a UCLA student from Mexico, undocumented, he would fight hard to elect Obama, who signed an executive order of Amnesty for Dream Act-eligible parties. Furthermore, and very importantly, Obama ended the Iraq war, which Hayden views as extremely significant. As of today, there are 1,235 U.S. government employees in Baghdad and 12,477 employees of U.S. employed contractors. By comparison, South Korea has a much larger contingent of U.S. troops, as do several countries around the world, e.g.,  Japan.

Obama’s misunderstood stimulus package is the cornerstone of his administration. In this regard, Obama’s advisors committed a major mistake by not trumpeting his accomplishments to the American public. The stimulus package spent tens of billions on weatherization installations, energy renewal resources, and energy efficiencies, e.g., 680,000 low-income homes have been weatherized, 120,000 buildings retrofitted for energy efficiency, ten million smart meters installed and 400,000 LED streetlights and traffic signals. These accomplishments are key to the nation’s efforts to realize maximum energy efficiencies, saving the country untold tens of thousands of barrels of imported oil or other carbon-based energy resources. This alone is a major, but under the radar, accomplishment that any previous presidency would have promoted and trumpeted to the voting public.

Equally significant, solar installations grew from 280 megawatts in 2008 to 1,885 megawatts in 2011, taking U.S. total PV capacity to 3,954 MW or the fourth largest solar market in the world behind Germany, Italy, and China. America has a total of 214,000 PV systems of which 61,000 new PV systems occurred in 2011. Obama, The Solar Energy President, has made a major, major accomplishment considering the U.S. now has enough PV capacity installed to power the equivalence of 4,000,000 homes. Meanwhile, Fox News can’t say enough about Solyndra going bankrupt, a favorite mention of the Romney campaign, and this is what sticks in the public’s mind, a prime example of distorting and obfuscating reality.

The automobile industry is another cornerstone of the administration’s stimulus program. Not only did Obama save the auto industry with a bailout package, but also, his administration has doubled fuel efficiency standards on automobiles from 29 mpg to 54.5 mpg by 2025, which will save the nation tens of thousands of barrels of imported crude oil.

In total, the administration has positively impacted alternative energy resources the past four years more than previous administrations of the past 20 years combined. Historians will likely label the Obama presidency the all-time “Clean Energy Efficiency” administration to the year 2012, setting an all-time record pace for converting America to clean, renewable energy.

Referenced by Hayden, Michael Grunwald’s The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era Simon & Schuster, 2012 sums up as follows: “The Obama Recovery Act, in constant dollars, was the biggest and most transformative energy bill in US history, the biggest and most transformative education bill since the Great Society, a big and transformative health care bill, too, the biggest foray into industrial policy (the auto bailout) since FDR, the biggest expansion of anti-poverty programs since LBJ, the biggest middle class tax cut since Ronald Reagan, the biggest infusion of research money ever, and it extended high-speed Internet to under-served communities, a twist on the New Deal rural electrification program. And it contained virtually no earmarks.”

The media seldom mentions Obama’s accomplishments, which only serves to expose a hidden agenda behind isolated news stories like Solyndra, repeated, over and over again. However, in stark contrast to one-off mistakes that weak-kneed news sources grind-on about, the reality is, according to Grunwald, Obama’s policies came straight from his campaign agenda: “Change we can believe in.” Obama’s stimulus plan built power lines and sewage plants and fire stations, and refurbished parks and train stations and libraries. It delivered broadband to underserved areas, expanding the world’s communication systems to rural America. He did deliver his promise of “change that we can believe in.”

Within the first two years of Obama’s presidency, by February 2010, according to a CBS/New York Times poll, only 6% of Americans believed the Obama stimulus plan created any jobs. Well, perchance the 94% still believe Obama did not create jobs, consider this, according to the Baltimore Sun, October 29, 2012: If Romney were to add the same percentage of jobs as president as he did as governor of Massachusetts, he would add two million jobs during a four-year presidency versus his claim to be able to add 12 million. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney’s state was fourth weakest in America for total job growth and only Mississippi and Minnesota had worse private sector job growth. Whereas, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.4 million jobs have been created under Obama, more than his predecessors George H W Bush and George W Bush combined, and Obama was bushwhacked by a cascading economy from day one. Because of the deep hole Obama inherited, the nation was shedding 4.3 million jobs during the early days of his administration. So, his net gain in jobs, including the waterfall drop in inherited, is less than 4.4 million, but his administration did add 4.4 million jobs, stemming one of the worse tides of unemployment in American history.

Tom Hayden is attuned to the progressive/independent argument that, in the final analysis, a vote for Obama is no different than a vote for the opposition party. However, he counters by saying that those who say the two candidates are the same are ignoring the social and economic differences between the bases of the two parties. And, the differences are substantial. Unfortunately, it is too easy for voters to be dismissive under the droning influence of mainstream media that consistently cherry-picks negative stories that grab headlines rather than focus on stories of success that positively influence the nation’s future. Accordingly, informed Americans are increasingly turning to Al Jazeera News and RT News for full-story, in-depth coverage of serious news… ignoring the fluff, which has grossly distorted a reasonably balanced, effective and forward-looking administration that, in the main, kept its campaign promise of “change we can believe in.”

Robert Hunziker View more

Robert Hunziker
Robert Hunziker (MA, economic history, DePaul University) is a freelance writer and environmental journalist whose articles have been translated into foreign languages and appeared in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide, like Z magazine, European Project on Ocean Acidification, Ecosocialism Canada, Climate Himalaya, Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Comite Valmy, and UK Progressive. He has been interviewed about climate change on Pacifica Radio, KPFK, FM90.7, Indymedia On Air and World View Show/UK.

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