Wow ... did you hear the president's voice recently when he sang the first lines of "Let's Stay Together" by Al Green? This is one cool dude. In addition to being the "Leader of the Free World" and the "Commander in Chief" of the United States of America, he can also sing, not to mention his hoops skills. How do ya think Jennifer, Randy and Steven would judge the prez if he stepped out on the stage in the first round. I'm thinkin' that he's goin' to Hollywood!
I don't think it was happenstance that he chose the song "Let's Stay Together" to sing on television. Let's face it, the relentless noise from the wing nut right since the day he took the oath of office has probably taken its toll on the faithful. That's why it's so important that we stay together. There are compelling reasons why President Obama is the favorite in this fall's election irregardless of which candidate gets the GOP nod.
No. 1: The Economy. Americans vote with their wallets. The answer to the question "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?" is the defining moment for any incumbent president. There is no question that the answer in this case is a resounding "YES."
Four years ago, our country was teetering on the precipice of another Depression. Eight years of Bush failures had brought the country to its knees. The stimulus package did work. Increased federal government spending is the primary reason that we avoided a complete and utter financial meltdown and is also the reason that the economy is in full-on recovery mode as I write this commentary. The unemployment rate has dropped to 8.3 percent. It will drop below 8.0 percent before summer and it will probably drop another .5 percent to a little under 7.5 percent by this fall's election! By the way, the stock market finished at 12,862 - an 11-year high! This good news bodes ominous to those nagging nabods of negativism. Hey Mitt, if you don't think the economy is improving, YOU must be on Mars! Obamanomics are working.
No 2: Housing. Housing is coming back. The Phoenix metro area will experience its first real equity gains since the mid-2000s during 2012. Foreclosures are down. Short sales up. Inventory is at about the same level it was in 2005-2006 when real estate was "flying like an eagle" and would have continued to do so if it hadn't been for predatory lending practices and "liar's" loans. I project a 15 percent real equity gain in housing for 2013. The market has turned. It is now a seller's market.
No. 3: Ending the Wars. The War in Iraq is over and our troops in Afghanistan are beginning to come home. I'll never forget the day in 2003 when I was watching President Bush lie to the American people about the so-called existence of the weapons of mass destruction as being just cause to declare war on Iraq. This wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time is finally over. We will never forget the lost lives, those injured and the trillions of dollars spent on the Bush family's feud with Saddam Hussein. What a horrible injustice to America.
No. 4: National security. President Obama has made America safe at home. This guy has turned out to be al-Qaeda's and other terrorist networks' biggest nightmare. He has talked the talk and walked the walk. Come on ... George W. Bush and his group of losers couldn't track down and kill bin Laden in his eight years of errors. Bush was fixated on Iraq. Hey George, they went that away.
No. 5: Health care reform. The passage of Obamacare is a landmark piece of legislation that will only mark the beginning of better access and more affordable health care for all Americans. No more exclusions for pre-existing conditions. No more cancellations for having the audacity to use your health care insurance. No matter what the ideologues on the right yell about on television, we're not going back to the failed policies of the past. Finally, in my lifetime, we had a president with the vision and the fortitude to lead the fight for our right to health care. If national health care is our birthright, then signing up for the program is our personal responsibility.
Frankly, this list and the good news goes on and on. Think about how far we have come as a culture in the last four years. The end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the acceptance of same-sex marriages, medical marijuana, etc. You're right, Newt Gingrich, if you can't stop us in 2012, you might as well fold up your tent and go to Mars. The bottom line is that there ain't no stopping us now. Let's stay together ... get on that love train and complete the change of the world as we know it. Peace and love.
• Jon Beydler is a 32-year Valley resident and the former mayor of Fountain Hills who now lives in Chandler.