Friday, August 17, 2012

Real criticism versus fairy tales

One of the problems I have with debating with right-wingers these days is that they don't want to talk about policy.  They don't have real criticisms of President Obama; they only advance the conspiracy theories or distorted talking points.  An informed person might bring up the following:

Warrantless wiretapping:
The current administration has continued the policy of warrantless wiretapping, with the approval of Congress most recently in June, that the Bush administration began.

Drone strikes that sometimes kill civilians:
Some of the drone strikes the Obama administration uses to target Al Qaeda have been killing civilians, and some people strongly feel that it's an effective recruiting tool for the very organization the strikes intend to stop.

President Obama has proposed changes to Social Security and Medicare:
This administration has proposed some cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, and a smaller cost of living adjustment for Social Security--thought his proposals do not even touch the degree to which the Republicans want to change these plans, which included complete privatization.  

This list could also include how Wall Street players ended up being part of Obama's administration, how the banks were bailed out but most homeowners were not, and other criticisms that actually have to do with policy.  One might notice that the links I included go to what would be considered left-wing sources, by the way.  I did that purposely, to show that our side will give criticism where it is due.

When arguing with Republicans, however, these criticisms do not come up in the conversation.  Instead I hear:

  • Obama is stealing $716 billion from Medicare.  This number actually comes from what it would cost if the Republicans repealed the Affordable Care Act.
  • Obama is not really a citizen of the United States.  This argument's latest manifestation involves his school records, which allegedly have him down as a foreign exchange student.  It's all part of the stupid and irrelevant birther conspiracy.  Get over it!  He's been President for almost a full term already; let's talk about policy and not about irrelevant conspiracy theories.
  • Obama is secretly a Muslim.  Who cares what his religion is?  Can you demonstrate how his religious leanings have affected his policy?  
There are many more pieces of myth and misinformation out there, and it makes most Republicans and other people who consider themselves conservatives not worthwhile when it comes to political discussions.  It would be great if people would have informed opinions, even if I disagree with them or support a candidate in spite of certain flaws.  Obama has done some great things, but he's not perfect.  I just wish the criticisms I'd hear about him were real and relevant.  

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