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|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 2 - January 2010|
|Written by *|
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
I am very late in responding to the letter printed in your November issue from a Mr. Craig Barnes of Santa Fe, New Mexico. I believe that certain claims and observations in Mr. Barnes’ letter need correcting or at least, in the interest of accuracy, clarified.
First: Mr. Barnes stated that “A president [Obama] was elected in a landslide by the whole of our electorate”. While President Obama was elected by a large majority of voters the actual numbers were hardly a landslide. Obama received 69,456,897 votes which is 52.9% of those who voted, a good win but not close to, for example, Reagan over Mondale (1984).
A closer look at the numbers shows that despite huge efforts by Democrats to get out the vote only 63% of registered voters actually voted. By comparison with previous years this was a good percentage but it still means that 37% of registered voters did not vote.
Taking the magnifying glass up a notch and compare that with just how many persons in the USA are eligible to vote? The US Census Bureau estimates that there are 207,643,594 persons eligible to vote (they have deducted felons and non citizens, etc.) When using those numbers, then President Obama received the vote of just 33% of the total electorate.
I am not in any way nay saying his victory because as most political scientists will tell you, if you enlarged the electorate in the USA you would be pushing it further left. But calling this “the whole of our electorate” and “a landslide” is at the very least, an exaggeration.
Second: Mr. Barnes bemoans the fact that 100% of Republicans oppose Obama on 100% of the issues and says that since the President is an intelligent person he cannot be wrong on all the issues. Far from being absurd, as he suggests, I believe this is normal in a two party system. It was certainly normal during the Bush years and there is a simple reason for this. The two parties have almost diametrically opposed viewpoints on what is best for the nation. In Great Britain the party out of power is called the “loyal” opposition. They oppose everything the party in power wants to do except on “non partisan” issues. The issues the Obama administration is trying to push through are “partisan” issues and of course it is the role of the GOP to oppose them.
Lastly on the Nobel Peace Prize: I would make one correction to Mr. Barnes letter. It was not the Nobel Prize Committee in Stockholm who awarded the Peace Prize to President Obama. It was in fact the Peace Prize Committee in Oslo, Norway, made up of five Norwegian politicians. However since Mr. Barnes wrote his letter President Obama has now accepted the prize and his acceptance speech was, in the most part, very well received by Republicans. So the 100% negative record against the President was certainly broken on this issue.
As Mr. Barnes says, the President is an intelligent person and likely saw through the attempts of five Norwegian politicians to influence the foreign policy of the USA. Perhaps the heaviness of the crown President Obama now wears has brought him a little closer to the views of his predecessor.