Monday, January 25, 2010

Game Over, Obama?



GOP and winger sorts in general seem mired in that fallacy that saying something, naming something makes it real.

Following setbacks for progressives and moderates — think CA Prop. 8, Maine's plebiscite taking back SSM rights, and of course, a nothing GOP state senator taking Ted Kennedy's long-held U.S. Senate seat and the SCOTUS decision to let corporations buy elections — the cackling has been incessant. Like the witches in Macbeth or some Disney feature, cauldrons seethe and portends are uttered.

I hope for both history and theater's sakes that pundits are recording the outrageous and asinine absolute statement in the air, on the net and on paper. We all (I certainly am included) get excited and make absolute claims and extreme judgments, but the recent versions say much about the political divisions in the U.S.

It's been a combination of the D.C. version of the blue screen of death, the GAME OVER screen, and baser schadenfreude. Looming Senator from Massachusetts Scott Brown is the 41st vote against health-care reform. That is supposed to prove, among other thing, that:

  • Health-care reform in any permutation is permanently dead
  • All GOP Senators and Reps will ignore the needs and desires of their voters to stick it to Obama
  • Democrats will lose the mid-term Congressional elections wholesale
  • Americans will ignore the Bush/Cheney culpability for our national disasters and blame the current Dems
  • Anti-choice and anti-marriage-equality groups will return to their protected status under Bush the Lesser
  • American voters in a bunch will suddenly remember they are not the moderate to left-leaning types they've been for many decades

If the likes of FOXNews and other winger bloviaters were not delusional and running on emotion instead of brains, all of that would happen and by 2011 we would have a very different nation, one in the idealized mold of the basest of GOP operatives. Yet, they have been wrong so many times, so badly that you would think that even the stupidest of their followers would have caught on.

Regardless, Obama's team has gotten slapped around recently and more is in the works. His number one lesson is certainly not that Americans seek to return to a 1950s world of racism, lip service to fundamental religious nuts, and subservience of the middle and poor classes to a not so benevolent despotism of giant corporations. Instead, our President has to act on reality — his pledge to find a middle ground of bipartisanship to support progressive goals will happen only when he drops the Goody Two-Shoes act and behaves more like another President, one Lyndon Johnson.

As pseudo-news talking head Jon Stewart has noted and been quoted (segment below, minutes 6:36 to 9:20), even with only a 59-vote Senate majority, Dems have a greater majority than George the Lesser ever did. Plus, that Prez rammed through one major law after another.

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At least starting with Wednesday's first state of the union address, Obama needs to stand as high and tall as his ideas and ideals. There's debate over individual next steps, such as the power and meaning of denigrating bankers and forcing some financial-industry accountability. There's no debate over the miscalculation of assuming the GOP and blue-dog Dems have the welfare of the nation in mind.

Obama can consistently stand at the tiller and stand up to the bad guys. He must. He has to get directly involved in setting the agenda for health-care reform, as in what is acceptable in the bill, damn it. He has to frame that argument in terms of the millions of us at risk and who is to blame if this fails.

He has to remind us constantly that the winger way played out extraordinarily badly. The borrow-and-spend, the guns-and-butter GOP put us in unbelievable deficits and far worse national debt than any taxes possible. Thousands upon thousands of Americans and others are cremated, buried or missing from those wars of adventurism.

Above all, our President has to show as much courage has he has delivered rhetoric. Make the bad guys filibuster. Make them explain why they would screw millions out of lower health costs and greater security. Make them stand up and speak out against the commonweal. Make them show their constituents how lowbrow and mean-spirited they are.

Don't play their game. Make them show their hand.


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1 comment:

Bill Baar said...

Wait for the Blagojevich trial to start this June with 400 hours of tapes of Obama's crew talking with Blago, Rezko, and the rest of the scoundrels from Illinois.

That's a talking-point you don't hear much about but it's train wreck coming for sure.

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