Obama, WTF?

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Though I would have preferred that Barack Obama not appear for an interview on a network that is openly hostile to Democratic candidates, for the most part he seems to have done well dealing with a much more hostile interview than, say, the President of the United States might have faced.

That being said, a few of Obama’s remarks were surprising and a bit disappointing.

OBAMA:Well, I think there are a whole host of areas where Republicans in some cases may have a better idea.

WALLACE: Such as?

OBAMA: Well, on issues of regulation. I think that back in the ’60s and ’70s a lot of the way we regulated industry was top-down command and control, we’re going to tell businesses exactly how to do things.

And you know, I think that the Republican Party and people who thought about the markets came up with the notion that, “You know what? If you simply set some guidelines, some rules and incentives, for businesses — let them figure out how they’re going to, for example, reduce pollution,” and a cap and trade system, for example is a smarter way of doing it, controlling pollution, than dictating every single rule that a company has to abide by, which creates a lot of bureaucracy and red tape and oftentimes is less efficient.

That’s just flatly wrong. Market-based regulation certainly hasn’t worked for pharmaceuticals. It hasn’t worked for meat processing. It certainly hasn’t worked in the financial sector, as recent events make abundantly clear.

More broadly, I don’t understand why Obama is promoting a right wing framework that positions Democrats as the defenders of failed, big government regulation and Republicans as the defenders of a mean, lean, efficient combination of government and the private sector. The reality is, and has been for some time, that Republicans are unwilling to impose sensible government regulation to protect the American people. The only thing mean about the Republican framework is the lean protection it offers Americans.

For one election, can Democrats please fight the urge to concede the core issues to the Republicans? Americans are tired of a government that puts the interests of corporations ahead of the interests of the people. Let’s fight for those values instead of sliding away from them.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

9 Comments

  • That is disappointing, but I am going to choose to believe this: one demographic watches Fox News and thinks it’s news. Why not give that demographic what they want and NOT give Fox News what they want: another sound bite that they spin to make Obama look like a Marxist(!)?
    Okay, that’s a lame excuse, but Fox presents a fairy tale world, why can’t I add to the story?

  • It is a bit of a fallacy to say that market-based regulation has failed because of a few situations where it didn’t work out. I will refrain from arguing with the examples you give here, but it is hardly fair to say that three examples make a rule.

    That said, it is a problem of the Democrats that they are turning to Republican/conservative ideology to draw on their ideas. Why isn’t the left taking advantage of the more innovative groups in its coalition that have come up with really interesting alternatives to market-based regulation, small government, and other conservative solutions?

    The left needs to stop thinking it has to come to the bargaining table with Republicans with a compromise already in hand that will further be compromised. It is time to shift American national sentiment back to the left. But, it is hard seeing even Obama pulling that off yet.

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