Protecting the candidates

By ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, former U. S. senator


OCT. 15, 2014 -- Now comes Aaron David Miller in The Washington Post (10/10/14) writing "Barack Obama, disappointer in chief." Not at all. When I noticed in the newspaper that Senator Barack Obama was considering a run for President, I immediately called Dick Durbin, the senior Senator from Illinois, and said, "Dick, if Illinois wants a President, run. You were a leader in the House; you are a leader in the Senate. You know the budget, defense, and foreign policy. Poor Barack doesn't know where the bathroom is in the Capitol if he's got to go." Durbin cut me off.

Now we know that Teddy Kennedy and Dick Durbin conspired to merge the Kennedy vote in the Northeast with the Midwest farm and labor vote to elect the first black President. Obama doesn't like politics - always making up his mind. As a state senator in Springfield he voted "present" all the time.

President Obama has learned the wrong lessons. He's learned that drone strikes kill terrorism, whereby drone strikes cause terrorism. He's learned that the National Endowment for Democracy, deployed to spread democracy in the Ukraine, instead, has caused Ukraine to submit to Russia and the Baltic states to lean against the European Union and for Putin. He's learned to start a war without the Constitutional authority of Congress. He's learned to start a war without troops. President Obama thinks he can change a religion with airstrikes.

In Saudi Arabia there's no separation of church and state. The Wahhabi schools teach the Salafi institution that Muslims, not of the Salafi sect, are not really Muslim. They also teach that Christians and Jews are "infidels" and ought to be eliminated - killed. "Beheading" is customary in Saudi Arabia. According to Al Jazeera English, "The Saudi Ministry of Justice has announced the execution of 26 individuals since August 4," (9/2/14). ISIS is only practicing what they've learned in the ninth grade in Saudi Arabia. Since we caused the mess in the Mideast, we ought to drop SEALs or Special Forces into the two headquarters of ISIS in Syria, kill off the leadership, and then clean up the disorganized ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Either get in or get out - don't start another ten-year war.

We face two more years of President Obama, who needs help. I tried to warn friends in the Senate that they were going just "tit for tat." It wasn't going to work. Since the Republicans filibustered all Democratic initiatives, preventing the Democrats from getting a vote, Leader Harry Reid filled up any initiative called for consideration with amendments, so the Republicans couldn't get a vote. Rather I thought that some initiative that the public could get behind would not only help the country but also help voters decide who was for jobs and who was not. Today we go to the polls and can't decide.

The competition in globalization is set by Japan and China with their closed markets and predatory practices - not "free trade." Now all countries must protect their economies. President George W. Bush didn't protect our economy by enforcing trade laws, and President Obama has followed suit. Worst of all, we continue with the corporate tax full of loopholes and not rebatable on exports. The Value Added Tax is rebatable.

If President Obama would enforce the Defense Production Act like President Kennedy in 1961, we wouldn't be begging Russia for helicopters and importing uniforms for our G.I.s. If President Obama would enforce our trade laws like President Nixon in 1971, when our deficit in the balance of trade was a minuscule of what it is today, it would create millions of jobs. If President Obama would protect vital production as President Reagan did in 1984, when he protected steel, motor vehicles, computers, and machine tools, it would create millions of jobs. We can't live on imports.

If the President and Congress would replace the 35 percent Corporate Tax with a 7 percent VAT, closing all loopholes, it would not only give instant tax reform, but release $2 trillion in offshore profits for Corporate America to repatriate tax-free, create millions of jobs, and jumpstart the economy. This VAT tax cut also produces billions to balance the budget in two years rather than ten. Something substantive like this that the public could get behind - and would know who's for jobs and who's against jobs.

Protecting the candidates with "tit for tat," rather than protecting the economy, doesn't work.

Senator Fritz Hollings of South Carolina served 38 years in the United States Senate, and for many years was Chairman of the Commerce, Space, Science & Transportation Committee. He is the author of Making Government Work (University of South Carolina Press, 2008).

© 2014, Ernest F. Hollings. All rights reserved. Contact us for republication permission.

About Fritz Hollings

Ernest F. Hollings served the public for 56 years -- 38 years in the United States Senate and as South Carolina's governor, lieutenant governor and a member of the S.C. House of Representatives.

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