Unemployment figures have given President Barack Obama a boost domestically. After inheriting a jobless rate hovering at 10 percent or better, his policies have gradually taken it down to 6.3 percent.
Predictably, Republicans have dismissed the progress as too slow - citing that many have been discouraged for looking for work. On this matter they place little responsibility on the individual and prefer to blame Obama instead.
It is a shame that Republicans take such an adversarial role that they do not make sense. Certainly, they offer no viable alternative, preferring to tout the failed policies of George W. Bush's administration domestically and advocating a foreign policy which is even more absurd than Obama's. Thus the electorate is stuck with the president's leadership, despite the faults. The public is given a choice which is not all that inviting. It is Barack with all thy sins.
For instance, Obama has been friendlier, if it is possible, to corporate America than either Bill Clinton or Bush. He has chosen a center-right policy on the economy, but compared to the GOP critics he still appears an agent of change. All they can grouse about is the Affordable Care Act, which is now working. Their approach to foreign policy is intervention and even more intervention. You can criticize Obama's policies internationally but not through the Republican party.
On that score, it is a difference between ugliness and obscenity. Obama plays the human rights card when it suits him and John McCain shakes his fists and hopes for military involvement. Only Rand Paul has stated policies that truly challenge Obama on foreign policy. But his domestic alternatives come up short.
On the government's role with economic heavyweights, there is not a dime's worth of difference by corporate interests, whether it is Warren Buffet for the Democrats or the Koch brothers for the GOP. However, Obama does try to have the government work for ordinary citizens, whereas Republicans offer very little but more superfluous tax cuts.
During election season Republicans mumble about family and flag or, in the Democrats' case, "rights." None really question the problems that face Americans in the 21st century. Economic inequality is not about purchasing power but concerns political strength. Average citizens are locked out of the millionaires club known as the U.S. Senate and are barely competitive in the House of Representatives. Yet Obama and his Republican enemies prefer side issues, some of which would be better handled by state or local governments.
This game of Trivial Pursuit confuses and produces more heat than light to today's world. When he is under fire, Obama will comment on Donald Sterling or the NCAA rather than discuss his lack of commitment to issues dealing with economic power. It beats the GOP's defense of guns and other diversions, but it is not really satisfying.
Obama has tried to bring up big issues such as healthcare. And even his foreign policy has been better than his predecessors. However, he needs a second wind.