Monday, October 24, 2011

A Lesson for Obama - President of Argentina Wins Landslide Re-election

Barack Obama, who continues to run away from supporting marriage equality for all USA citizens might learn a lesson from Argentina's Cristina Fernández de Kirchner who won re-election by a huge margin. As some may recall, when the Argentine Senate was posed to possible kill the same sex marriage law that had previously passed the lower house, Kirchner - who was out of the country on a trade mission at the time - spoke out in the strongest terms via video supporting passage of the law. Moreover, she pointedly condemned efforts by the Catholic Church to block the legislation and slammed the Church for its many wrongs (See the video here). In short, she used the bloody pulpit of her office and likely tipped the scale for passage. To date, Barack Obama has not had the spine - or core belief in equality for all under the civil laws - to use the power of his office in a similar manner on virtually any issue. The New York Times looks at Kirchner's election victory. Here are some highlights:

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina cruised to re-election on Sunday, riding a wave of economic prosperity in her quest to continue the political dynasty begun by her late husband, former President Néstor Kirchner. As recently as two years ago, Mrs. Kirchner had seemed a long shot to win a second four-year term. Her combative style, highlighted by a heated dispute over agricultural export taxes, sent her approval ratings below 30 percent.

But on Sunday, one year after her husband died of a heart attack, Mrs. Kirchner, Argentina’s first elected female president, completed a remarkable political turnaround. With about 81 percent of voting stations tabulated, she was leading with about 53 percent of the vote, while her closest challenger, Hermes Binner of the Broad Progressive Front, had about 17 percent. The ample margin would be enough to avoid a runoff and be the widest victory since democracy was restored in 1983.

The economy emerged as the central issue on voters’ minds. By many measures Argentina is booming: the economy is expected to grow by 8 percent this year, the fastest growth in Latin America; employment has reached record levels; and the poverty rate has been cut by more than half since 2007, the government said. The country continues to benefit from heavy government spending, high commodity prices and strong demand from China for its agricultural products.

A story in the Virginian Pilot on Kirchner's re-election had this quote that I believe is most applicable to the spineless Obama:

U.S. President Barack "Obama could take a lesson from this," said Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington. "It's an old-fashioned message of democracy: You deliver what you promise and people vote for you. It's kind of forgotten here in the U.S."

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