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Making Sense of Barack Obama, What He Says and the American Dilemma

by Peter Stern
I need to preface this commentary and say that I have been a member of the Republican Party since the Eisenhower administration of the 1950's.

I need to say that because there will be quite a few folks pointing their fingers and tongues at me as a "Liberal" and that's just not true.

I am just like so many people who are trying to make some sense of the past several decades of Democratic and Republican mismanagement of our nation, and also more or less "soul-searching" and wading through the seemingly endless well-practiced speeches of the candidates of the current presidential "primary", which has evolved into an Ironman marathon of candidate "two-stepping", media rhetoric and political gamesmanship.

Honestly, how the heck can you make any real sense of all this chaos?

I have been forcing myself to listen to the speeches of each of the candidates: John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I have come to some conclusions that some people may or may not agree with, but I have based my presumptions and opinions with careful consideration.

Consequently, it is my opinion that Barack Obama is the more intelligent of the 3 candidates. Please note that I am NOT stating that he will win come election day or that he is the best candidate for the position.

I simply am saying that Obama is the "brightest" of the bunch.

That said, let's review a few of what Obama and I believe are urgent issues:

The war in Iraq
Middle East Nations
U.S. Budget and Expenditures
A Stagnated Congress
U.S. Economy / Recession
High Cost of Gasoline
A National or Socialized Health Care Program
Creation of Jobs

Now, whether or not you like or agree with Obama you have to admit that at least he discusses some urgent issues and he believes in initiated action to attempt to resolve some of them.

War in Iraq

Obama believes we have spent too much time and money in Iraq. I happen to agree with him. In the 4 years after our occupation of Iraq the U.S. has spent TRILLIONS of dollars on Iraq's rebuilding, organizing a democratic government and development of Iraq's infrastructures.

During that time period, Iraq has become a wealthy nation and it is time for Iraq to step-up and accept responsibility to manage itself. This would enable the U.S. to cut initially some of that ongoing astronomical expenditure and instead divert those tax dollars towards resolving some of our own domestic issues.

Whether you like the idea or not, it does make sense.

Middle East Nations

Senator Clinton has issued strong words to Iran that if it invades or attacks Israel the U.S. will retaliate. Whether you agree or not with her actions, her words are a threat to the leaders of Iran.

Senator Obama is the only one of the 3 candidates who has stated that he believes in opening diplomatic communications with Iran and the other nations of the Middle East. Not meaning any disrespect in quoting this old saying, "You can catch more flies with honey." Meaning also that you can get more respect and positive response by sitting down at a table and discussing normal and volatile issues rather than using threats and/or violent behavior.

Agree or not, I believe that former president Jimmy Carter's actions and recent journey to the Middle East has persuaded the Bush administration to send Condoleezza Rice to schedule a trip there to open discussions.

U.S. Budget and Expenditures

As previously stated, the U.S. is spending far too much overseas than it is at home. Obama wants to use some of those tax dollars here at home to provide some relief to the majority of Americans.

He believes that all U.S. citizens should share in the American Dream. I agree with Obama on this issue. While I believe that U.S. businesses should be able to make there profits here and abroad, more Americans should be able to reap some economic advantages as well.

Obama wants to provide middle and lower income taxpayers with another "stimulus refund" because it would provide some more immediate relief.

A Stagnated Congress

Senator Obama believes, as I do, that there is too much political gamesmanship in Washington D.C. and that it's time that both parties work together to improve all our lives here at home.

Every year officials promise to resolve urgent issues and provide relief to hardworking Americans; however, every year it's the same old thing. Nothing is accomplished and very few issues are resolved or improved.

It is time to stop the promises and initiate action and positive change for everyone, including businesses and the general public.

U.S. Economy / Recession

Senator Obama believes that it's time to stop the discussions on whether or not the U.S. is or is not in recession and instead improve the overall economic status so that more Americans can improve their own lives.

In doing so we should not prevent business and industry from acquiring profits, but they should not be greedy and aim for profits that continue to exclude hardworking Americans from improving their life styles.

There is no reason why all of us can not win together.

High Cost of Gasoline

There is no shortage of oil and gasoline. There also is no reason that here in the U.S. the average cost of gasoline at the pump is $4 per gallon while the cost of 1 gallon of gas in Mid-East countries is an average of 45 CENTS!

If there is a shortage, we all should be paying $4 per gallon.

Obama places a good part of the blame on the Bush administration and congress.

We have reserves that the president and congress refuse to utilize.

Many point fingers at the Democrats who have been in power for the past year. They say that the democrats refuse to take action and in part that may be true, but republicans were in power previously for approximately 7 years and they also have done little to improve our energy status.

Again, there have been many promises by each party; however, little has been accomplished.

Part of the issue is that environmentalists have lobbied successfully against drilling for oil off American shores as well as against drilling in various states including Alaska.

The Bush administration has not worked well in collaborating with the OPEC nations, who appear to manipulate the laws of supply and demand to their advantage.

At the start of each of Bush's 2 terms he advocated providing the tax dollars along with incentives for the research and development of alternative energy sources.

Despite those promises, little has been accomplished that would provide relief to American consumers.

It's time to stop pointing the fingers and instead initiate action to resolve this urgent issue.

A National or Socialized Health Care Program

Look, let's face facts. The wealthy health care, medical and pharmaceutical industries in the U.S. have lobbyists to maintain the status quo.

Those industries are earning billions in profits each year, so why would they want to change what works for them?

Obama knows that continuing the current status eventually will cost those industries more money because the majority people and businesses no longer can afford to pay for health care insurance, medical services and prescription medications.

These industries have become greedy. Those in congress are afforded excellent health care, medical and prescription medication insurance plans at the cost to U.S. taxpayers.

So, why shouldn't hardworking Americans get the same plans for the same premium costs?

I don't want to get into a major discussion here on National and/or Socialized Health Care Programs. It is a topic that would take a whole other commentary by itself.

Suffice it to say that such programs are good and bad. They are NOT all bad. We can equate it to our Medicare Program. There are some very good provision in that system and yet there are some issues that are horrendous.

Such a national or socialized system most likely will never be accepted by the current industries. They retain expensive lobbyists and attorneys to ensure that they remain in the market they have placed themselves in, to be assured of continuing the huge profits being made currently.

Whatever happens with this issue, congress is going to have to act on modifying the current systems because they are NOT working for the majority of Americans and they have become unaffordable for most.

Creation of Jobs

During the past decade, hundreds of what were jobs held by Americans have been outsourced overseas for cheaper labor.

Obviously, since labors here is so costly it is no surprise that more and more businesses have been hiring in countries like China, India, Mexico and South America.

Perhaps the most effected has been the manufacturing sector, although a large amount of jobs outsourced also have been customer care positions.

The problem really isn't how many jobs have been outsourced, rather, the issue is that too few jobs have replaced them. While some jobs have been created here, the salaries are less than those that were outsourced; consequently, few U.S. workers can pay their daily living expenses with those new jobs.

Senator Obama recognizes this and he wants to work with congress to develop new jobs via an incentive program to businesses that will hire Americans at more reality-based wages.

No matter who becomes president, this is an issue that must be resolved.

In addition, we need to resolve the issues pertaining to our immigration laws or else the problems we have with millions of illegals will continue to fester and grow.

Currently, there is lax enforcement of our immigration laws for several reasons. It is impractical and unfeasible economically to arrest and imprison the illegal population living and working in our nation.

Secondly, it is an opportunity for American businesses to increase their profit margins by hiring illegals. They can pay lower wages and not provide health care and other benefits.

Thirdly, even if we were to prosecute and/or collect fines from businesses who hire illegals, the fines still make it a profitable undertaking.

Obama know this is an issue that must be resolved expediently.


American education is failing our children. That's a fact.

Children in other nations, e.g., Japan and India, are out-learning our children more every year.

Our public school teachers are attempting to get our children to pass various state exams instead of doing what they are supposed to do: teach children how to learn and how to enjoy learning.

We are NOT teaching our children the various skills and abilities they need to learn in order to be successful in the business world.

In addition, if our children lack such skills and abilities they will NOT be able to take over the management of our nation. They will be our leaders.

We are failing our children. Senator Obama knows this and wants to make this a priority.

Our nation's most valuable resource = our children.


Senator Obama recognizes that one of our major concerns is to develop and maintain our domestic transportation infrastructures.

Our roads and bridges are antiquated and decaying.

The huge expenditures overseas on the Iraq War and Reconstruction have left us without the financial resources to ensure safety of our roadways and other transportation infrastructures.

Instead, federal and state government are looking at developing toll roads as a means to collect addition tax revenue to build and maintain our roadways and to develop alternate methods of travel, e.g., railroads, monorails, buses, etc.

Tolls are NOT viewed as new or additional taxations, but that is exactly what they are.

Our population is increasing and so is the number of vehicles on our roadways. Already, most states are witnessing traffic issues and other problems that will continue to escalate.

Senator Obama knows that we must curb our extravagant overseas expenditures and divert those tax dollars at home where we are in dire need of them.


Whether you like or dislike Barack Obama, whether you believe he will make a good president or not, whether or not you agree with his resolutions regarding the many issues now being faced by hardworking citizens, American businesses, our resources and our various infrastructures, one thing is very clear.

Our next president must be a leader of action and one who can transcend partisanship in order to enable congress to work with American businesses and communities so that we may resolve many of the urgent and crisis issues that have plagued us for many years.

In addition, we must work together to enable positive outreach to our world neighbors and attempt to work out our differences and various needs in a more peaceful manner.

While it is obvious that our world has become smaller, in many ways it has become more treacherous and volatile.

We need to work together as a nation and as a world leader so that we all may live in a more peaceful and harmonious world community for the sake of ourselves and future generations.

No problem or issue is too great, if we can all work together to resolve it.

Barack Obama is a man who at least is attempting to convey a plan of action instead of more vague promises.


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