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  • Morning Bell: Obama's Speech vs. the Progressive Agenda

    Democratic National Convention

    DENVER — The Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank. We are not experts on what the left wants. But after four full days spent listening to panels of progressive leaders describe what direction they want Barack Obama to take the country, we have to conclude that the left will, after careful reexamination, eventually be disappointed in Obama’s speech last night.

    Sure, the rhetoric was great, and the progressives here in Denver are genuinely excited about the Democratic ticket. But when it came to policy specifics on the issues progressives care about the most, if you listened to what was and was not said, you’ll see that Obama either directly contradicted progressive policy or choose not to run on it at all.

    There are three big policy areas progressives are expecting significant action from Obama early in is administration: global warming, health care and labor. On each of these issues, Obama’s policy specifics fell short of progressive expectations:

    Global Warming: Obama did not utter the phrase “global warming” once last night. Progressives might respond that they prefer to label the issue “climate change,” so Obama should not have mentioned “global warming” anyway. Fair enough. But Obama only mentioned climate change once, and even then it was in reference to “new partnerships” he would form around the world “to defeat the threats of the 21st century.” No mention of cap and trade. No mention of carbon taxes or the preferred progressive term “putting a price on carbon.” All of Obama’s energy policies were framed as energy independence, not climate change. This should deeply worry progressives. If your goal is energy independence and not reducing carbon emissions, then your candidate might say something like this:

    As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power.

    Progressives hate clean coal more than anything and they are no friends to nuclear power either. Now there has been some movement on the left to accept natural gas, but there is a lot of cognitive dissonance (or outright ignorance) going on there. In order to “tap our natural gas reserves,” we will have to drill for it. And drill in places progressives do not want us to. The banned areas in the Outer Continental Shelf have 77 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. And once we’re drilling for natural gas there, does anyone really think we won’t drill for the oil too? Especially when Obama has made the fantastic promise to “end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.”

    Health Care: Last night Obama did promise every American they “will be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves.” Sounds progressive, but to the extent that what Obama actually said is true, this is a long held conservative position. The Heritage Foundation has supported a national health insurance exchange modeled after the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP).

    But there is a huge difference from the FEHBP and Obama’s plan. When members of Congress buy health insurance through the FEHBP, they select from a menu of private health insurance plans and private health insurance plans only. Joining Medicare is not an option. Obama’s health care plan is the exact opposite. He wants to create a new government-run health care plan to compete against the private plans.

    This sounds like a good idea at first until you remember that government will also be setting the rules for competition. In other words, the government will be both player and umpire. To most American ears that sounds like a fixed game, which is probably why Obama did not mention it.

    Labor: Unions are a major force in the progressive movement and the other constituencies in the progressive movement (environmentalists, trial lawyers, etc.) all value labor for their ability to reliably turn out the vote for progressive causes. Problem is, over the past 25 years union membership in America dropped dramatically, especially in the private sector, where 19% of workers were in unions compared to only 8% today.

    Progressives firmly believe they can form a permanent governing majority if they reverse this trend. To do this they support “card check” legislation that would end the secret ballot in union organizing elections and allow union organizers to intimidate or force workers to sign cards, in public, saying they support unionization. While Obama has voted for card check legislation in the past, he did not mention it last night. Even more surprisingly, he failed to utter the words “labor” or “unions” either.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    18 Responses to Morning Bell: Obama's Speech vs. the Progressive Agenda

    1. Pingback: Morning Bell: Obama’s Speech Versus the Progressive Agenda

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    4. Ric says:

      Funny, how when democrats promise to give Americans what they've been asking for, conservatives chime in with, "Well, we support that too!" Talk about being out of ideas.

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    6. vicki, marco island, says:

      I didn't think I'd vote again. Then came Sarah. I can see her taking on the D.C. politicians just as she has the 'good ole boys' in Alaska politics. I'll be Pelosi and Reid are wetting themselves tonight. I hope all of the inbreeding in Washington feels the heat. It took a Maverick to pick a Maverick, I guess. I did not think Mr. McCain had it in him. He is a secure man with guts. I think he's fed of with the Fed. just like many of us are.

      I hope McCain/Palin are elected and don't take any prisoners when they arrive in D.C. The money mongers have to be replaced. Our social programs are failures, our fiscal house is in disarray and the morales in D.C. are embarrassing.

    7. Allan, NC says:

      I don't think the left will be disappointed because they know Obama can't really talk about what he is going to do and still win the election.

    8. E Paul Lian, Scottsd says:

      Hey, I'm just a regular guy, I mean no harm. Your news our economy grew by 3.3% in the 2nd Quarter should be a major headline splashed across every newspaper in the United States. While we're at it, let's stand and applaud our leaders in President George W Bush & V P Dick Cheny, I believe they have done a tremendous job leading our country during an extremely difficult and dangerous time in our nations' history. Come on people, let's send both of them on their way with the tributes they deserve.

    9. ian henderson says:

      For gods sake! As a fiscal conservative,Bush and Cheney have been a disaster.

    10. SAJJAD SAMAD says:

      Recent past has involved almost every corner of world, intersted in American Politics.the Republican experience was bitter and distastasful for most. BARAK,may be inexperienced,young or black.Let him lead the American miseries and the world-at-large to a safer corner for a short while. The world needs no more war-Presidents any more.

    11. SAJJAD SAMAD says:

      Recent past has involved almost every corner of world, intersted in American Politics.the Republican experience was bitter and distastasful for most. BARAK,may be inexperienced,young or black.Let him lead the American miseries and the world-at-large to a safer corner for a short while. The world needs no more war-Presidents any more. this is my first-ever comment to the HERITAGE FOUNDATION.

    12. JOHN L TUCKE says:

      In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region with massive casualties and unbelievable property damage. However, when the disaster subsided – most pundits pointed their deadly arrows at George Bush, and blamed him for an inadequate response. However, post-disaster studies concluded that local and state leaders in the Gulf Region [in particular Louisiana] failed to take adequate actions to safeguard their own people and property. While the federal government absorbed more than its fair share of blame, the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Louisiana escaped the wrath of vengeful commentators. In my opinion, the public should have held the New Orleans mayor and the Lousiana governor accountable for gross incompetence. This time round, as Gustav attacks with fury, perhaps local, state and federal jurisdictions can work together as a team to prevent similar carnage.

    13. paul newnam says:

      Go SARAH GO! Just like John! She has the right STUFF! I predict the largest upset in Presidential Election History! Now, We! have a Voice, In! Johns Inner Circle to tell him what the REAL PEOPLE of America think about Our! National Energy Program! and His Immigration Policy! Now we need to Give them help In the Senate and Congress elections! You GO GIRL! GOD BLESS ANERICA

    14. Beaner, Somewhere in says:

      Let's get something straight. When Hurricane Katrina hit we ALL had enough time to get out of dodge. But some greedy people, who thought they could steal stayed behind so that they could loot from every Wal-mart in the vicinity, as well as Home Depot, Kmart, Lowe’s, Sears, Best Buy, JC Penney’s and etc. Our local news channels showed all of this live on the air. We were shown, at one point that there was a gang of thieves who were going through the stores and picking up some HD large screen TV’s and other large items. We saw one group, steal a small boat from a Wal-mart, and then fill it up with about 3 or 4 TV’s from a Best Buy. Camera’s caught everything. They started shooting at the helicopters that were filming all of this live. Police didn’t have time to fight the looters, because they were trying to rescue those whose families left behind, their elderly and immobile members from their families. The looters took everything that wasn’t nailed down and then some. We saw somebody trying to steal a coke machine and put it on an inflatable bed, only to have it sink. The deaths were bad, but not as bad as those who took the chance to stay behind and not help, but to steal and try to make money later on. This time the authorities have said that anyone found looting will be arrested. During Katrina we were given about 2 days to get out of town and this time local authorities were giving about 4 days to get out and also provided needed transportation to remove the elderly and sickly people. All those who want to blame George Bush for what happened in New Orleans, but it was the greedy local politicians especially it’s mayor and looters who are to blame for last time. The mayor was telling people that it didn’t look like it was headed for New Orleans but said if you want to feel safer, leave town. There was NO urgency at all. To watch him return and turn around to blame on the federal government and the President was hypocritical of him as well the Governor of the state.

      Then, when people returned wanted to find somebody responsible for the devastation they saw, since the Mayor was blaming President Bush, they also started to blame him. What was worse were the insurance companies who have taken people’s MONEY for years, trying to weasel out of their obligations to rebuild and assistance those whose damage wasn’t too bad. Florida Governor Charlie Crist has filed lawsuit upon lawsuit of all those insurance companies who tried to back out of paying those who filed for assistance. The lawsuits are still ongoing in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana for 3 years, where state officials are now getting involved in the lawsuits. It’s as if the devastation means nothing to the insurance companies, some who have been receiving the monthly checks for over 30 years, then turn their backs on those who’ve made payments. Once they pay off for the damage to people’s homes, turn around and either increase the monthly payments by 300% or more. If they have to be forced to pay off, they want to make sure that they recover their money some way. They are the evil ones.

    15. Edwin Buck, Albuquer says:

      We need someone with enough cojones to get rid of these "puercos" in Washington. The only thing I've heard from these pigs is "we want more of your money, and we're going to get it whether you like it or not" Sarah Palin faced down the corrupt republicans and beat the corrupt democrats with 80% of the voters. The corruption in Washington is so endemic, that I don't know whether Sarah can make a dent in that corruption, but I do want her to at least try.

    16. Rooster says:

      Hey, if Sarah Palin doesn't make it to the White House, I'd like her to come to Michigan. Our current Governor flushed us down the toilet.

    17. Barb- st. paul says:

      Obama's actions contradict his words. He wants the perfect world for some by enslaving others. If people were allowed to see everything on Obama, they would see that he has been corrupting the taxpayers at least since his job as "community organizer." Which Jesus Christ WAS NOT! Jesus taught through his preachings. He didn't go where people were gathered, people gathered where Jesus went. He wasn't paid a dime for his teachings that were a benefit to all human life for strength, ability, self control and responsibility, etc. obama wants to keep people weak, as he wants all these social programs to benefit whoever he wants them to benefit at an unnecessary expense to the taxpayers. Social programs just shows WEAK PEOPLE. Jesus gave people the strength to do for themselves at no cost to others. obama doesn't want people to have this strength as he voiced how "John McCain wants you to do it on your own!" Just like Jesus Christ wants for us. Obama will make it impossible to live without government dependence. Again, Jesus taught people to do what they can for themselves, and work harder for anything else, which is what america once stood for. Obama's change is to destroy all of what america once had: STRONG, POSITIVE PRINCIPLES and the citizens to show it. He does not want you to be free to volunteer where you choose and out of the kindness of YOUR heart, he wants to make sure you volunteer by HIS direction. He does not want people to have the strength to live independently. He wants to destroy that strength. Which is being destroyed by democrats national, state, city and local governments now. Without independence there is no freedom. Without democracy, people are WEAK. Jesus showed people their freedom including of choice and did not demean anyone who chose the latter. And pontius pilate wiped his hands clean of the decision of the people. Obama will cheat (some)americans every way he can. He has stated he did not like america, he calls himself a unifier when, as he speaks, he finds fault in this and that color skinned person. Jesus had people figure their faults out for themselves. Obama expresses your guilt whether you're guilty or not he'll make sure you'll feel it at your expense. He can't seem to "overcome." Or "move on."

    18. Raymond H. Lumry; 85 says:

      I am a member of The Heritage Foundation and have been receiving by email The

      Morning Bell for probably about a year. For some unknown reason, none have been received for the past week or so.

      I would appreciate it very much if you would restore my email address to your active list.

      Thank you.

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