- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Recent editorials from Alabama newspapers:

August 25

Anniston (Alabama) Star on the critics of Obamacare:

At some point, we predict, Obamacare’s opponents will have to switch tactics. Killing the health-care reform outright will become either politically impossible and/or a waste of energy. Then, and only then, will reform and adjustment be possible.

We are not at that point, however.

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court called the Affordable Care Act constitutional. Yet, the opponents were not slowed down.

Later that year, President Barack Obama was elected to a second term, an accomplishment that made legislative repeal of the ACA impossible. Yet, the opponents were not slowed down.

Predictions of failure for signup deadlines in 2014 did not come true. Yet, the opponents were not slowed down.

The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision allowing closely held corporations to evade contraception coverage based on religious reasons was a win for opponents earlier this year. As an appeal to a D.C. federal appeals court last week demonstrates, this fight is likely heading right back to the Supreme Court.

With congressional elections a little more than two months away, Obamacare opponents have no incentive to chill out. In fact, opposition to health-care reform is an easy position for a politician to take. Consider the landscape in the typical Republican-friendly congressional district: 1. The surest way to lose support of voters is to say a kind word about Obamacare. 2. Opposition is cheap politics when a legislative kill isn’t likely and therefore the candidate won’t have to worry about what follows Obamacare’s execution.

So, prepare for more stalemate, more lawsuits, more political posturing.

The law needs adjusting. The law could be fine-tuned. Yet, it’s still the closest the nation has ever come to universal health care for all citizens, something that would finally put us on par with the rest of the industrialized world.

Such is the state of our politics.

The only health-care reform that a Democratic president could produce was one created in a right-wing think-tank and first attempted by a Republican governor. And still the lawsuits and reluctance to reform the law from conservative Republicans roll on.




August 25

Tuscaloosa (Alabama) News on presidential vacations:

August, with its somnolent heat, was once the universal vacation month. Paris virtually empties as the French seek a more hospitable place to spend the dog days. Where school isn’t in session, people flock to the beach and mountains.

The same goes for the world’s leaders. The U.S. Congress recesses and the president trots off to his favorite vacation destination.

Yet nothing seems to inflame some members of the public more than seeing the president take time off to do things these same people would gladly be doing themselves.

Vacations and time off have often been disastrous for a president’s image. Dwight Eisenhower, critics claimed, was perpetually on the golf course. Richard Nixon looked like a nerd strolling down a California beach in long pants and black, lace-up shoes. Jimmy Carter likely will never live down having to fend off a “killer rabbit” with a boat paddle when it swam toward his canoe while he was on a fishing trip.

Some people thought George H.W. Bush should have been closer to home, rather than fishing in Maine, as the first Gulf War geared up. George W. Bush was no stranger to vacation criticism, either. The younger Bush learned to take his off time on his ranch rather than on the golf course. What critics called his “frat boy” persona seemed to give people the impression that he needed to take his business more seriously.

Now it is Barack Obama’s turn to take his licks for taking some down time while serious problems evolve around the world. His decision to make a bee-line for a Martha’s Vineyard golf course immediately after denouncing James Foley’s beheading did appear insensitive and has created the latest - but not first - stir over his vacations. But The Associated Press cites sources documenting that Obama takes less time off than his predecessors. Perhaps it has merely been more visible (which reportedly is why the younger Bush gave up golf) or more ill-timed with world crises.

With today’s communication technology, however, the president has at his fingertips the ability to connect with anyone he needs to reach; he easily can obtain any information he wants. He doesn’t have to be in the White House to lead the nation.

Presidential vacations make easy targets, but they have little bearing on the job the president does.




August 27

Times Daily, Florence, Alabama, on fighting in Iraq:

President Barack Obama has not shown an inclination to use significant military force in Iraq in the wake of the Islamic State’s bloody incursions there. Ground troops have disengaged after a long war, leaving only advisors behind to assist training the thus far ineffective Iraqi army.

But the horrors of the Islamic State’s policies in captured areas are such that more than a few surgical airstrikes might become necessary.

Anyone who does not profess a fundamentalist Sunni Muslim faith is subject to heavy taxes, forced conversion or death. Tens of thousands of Christians and people of other faiths have fled before them, seeking shelter in Baghdad or the Kurd-controlled north. The Kurds have been the only force capable of checking the Islamic State, and have carried out rescues of thousands of people trapped by the terrorists.

When the United States went to war with Iraq under the false assumption that Saddam Hussein was harboring “weapons of mass destruction” that could be used on Americans and others, then-President George W. Bush and his administration made an attempt at nation building. It has been less than successful in a region where western-style democracy is largely unknown, and has suffered even more under a regime that has excluded Sunnis and Kurds.

A new administration in Iraq, headed by Haider al-Abadi, promises to be inclusive, which would help stem the spread of the Islamic State extremists by uniting the country’s factions in a common cause.



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