Our elected officials are often judged through their rhetoric (as reported) and not their accomplishments. Since 2016, a media focus on hyperbolic speech resulted in > 90% negative reporting of our elected Executive branch representatives. Despite this, and in contrast to the perspective in Art Oster’s letter (“Something we can agree on”, 3/11/21), many Americans assess the accomplishments of the past administration while letting the rhetoric pass. These people do not “gaze in awe” as Oster suggests; they form opinions based on measurable accomplishments, good and bad.
Those who focus on rhetoric (as reported) and have blinders to accomplishments may be making decisions that are not in their own best interests. These people may ask What Accomplishments? Here is a short list for 2017-2020.
Record employment for minorities and women with middle class wage increases leading the pack
Union manufacturing jobs returned to the US
Increased energy independence using cleaner extraction methods over foreign producers
Reduced US engagement overseas while still proving US willingness to defend our interests
Middle East peace agreements that leveraged economic benefits to the partners while acknowledging political differences (live and let live)
Created and managed a public/private partnership that met emergency needs in record time (Operation Warp Speed)
~40% increase in the National Debt (from 2016)
What about 2021? It is early, but the trends are illuminating.
Curtailing energy production (increasing gas prices)
Cancelling Union jobs (pipeline construction, energy production)
Green union jobs moving to Mexico (Ford EV)
Increasing illegal migration (lures of benefits, removal of constraints);
Overtures of war (Middle East, North Korea)
Rocky exchanges with nuclear powers (US-China talks in Alaska, Russia President accusations)
~7% increase in the National Debt to date (from 2020)
Based on accomplishments with blinders on rhetoric, the pro-union, anti-war, green job, and American-citizen-first 2020 Presidential candidate is obvious. Focusing on rhetoric with blinders on accomplishments, we see who was widely available to the media and characterized by their reporting of his hyperbolic speech; the other candidate was (and continues to be) unavailable to the media. As we head toward future elections, we should take rhetoric-based reporting with a grain of salt, and measure our local, state, and national candidates by what they have done for our community and our country … their record of accomplishments, good and bad.