Friday, August 21, 2009
What Little Difference a Year Makes...
It's not often that I get to almost word for word recycle an old blog post. Apparently today is the day I can.
It was exactly one year ago, that on this very patch of cyberspace I vented my frustration with then Candidate Obama's inability to grasp what he was up against in terms of the Republican attack machine. It seems I was not the only one at that time expressing real concern that then Senator Obama didn't have what it took to win the fight. He seemed to be under this fantasy impression that somehow Republicans wanted to have a decent honest campaign about issues and the insane attacks on his character, citizenship and patriotism were merely "disappointing".
So now we flash forward exactly one year, and I have the same urge to bang my head against the keyboard and shout at the television; "HELLO!? Is ANYBODY IN CHARGE OVER THERE AT THE WHITE HOUSE?!"
So here, slightly edited for 2009, is my blog post from August 20th 2008. Updates are in italics.
I have been watching the game of political tether ball that the Congressional Republicans have been playing with you for the last month. What I have seen is disturbingly familiar.
The days and weeks following your incredible inaugural, you had the momentum, the free world had stood up and cheered the hope that America would return to a path of sane, rational global leadership. A hope that now had a face and a name. Yours.
And then, your administration dropped the ball.
You allowed attack after ridiculous attack to go basically unanswered. You allowed a political party of lobbyist's pets to question your ethics. You allowed people who have voted consistently against supporting the men and women of our military, to question your commitment to the troops. You allowed those who employ lobbyists for foreign nations to question your love of country. You allowed pundits who think that having over 40,000,000 Americans without health insurance isn't a real problem to cast doubt on the need to address the problem., In the past few weeks, you allowed an industry led by billionaires to say that you were elitist and out of touch with the needs of working families.
In response? You mumbled tepid statements of disapproval of "old style politics." You frowned at the camera and said how you hope you can achieve bi-partisanship. I have news for you. The Republican Party is not interested in working with you on anything, and at some point, unless you are happy with the idea of watching the 2012 Inaugural from the bleachers, you are going to have to accept that.
I feel like screaming at you. "HAVE YOU TALKED TO JIMMY CARTER OR AL GORE LATELY???" Yes, playing defense will make you feel very noble and allow you to say how you are leading a "new kind of Administration." Sorry but there is nothing new about losing. Your Administration seems to be heading down a frighteningly similar path as those in 1977 and 1997.
I hate to break this to you but there is a truth to your Presidency that you seem to be unable to grasp, so let me spell it out for you:
The Republicans will say anything and stop at nothing to win.
They will lie, they will cheat, and they will steal. They will say your health care reform ideas are a plot to kill old people, and they will criticize you for every thing you do, then turn around and criticize you for everything you don't do.
GOP Surrogates will spew the most insane nonsense about you with impunity on Fox News, which will then be repeated in the rest of the media as "covering the debate". You CANNOT play defense. You will LOSE.
Not only that - you have yet to get your OWN house in order. This lunacy of trying to appease the GOP in hopes that they will like you has to stop. You WON the election, will you please ACT like it! The era of the "permanent GOP Majority" is OVER. The time has come for you to say to every Blue Dog Democrat who is still whining about the need for "bi-partisanship" a simple question. "Why do you want to help right wing ideologues at the expense of the American People?"
You need to state in clear terms the choice in 2009 is this; "If you oppose a public option for health care, you clearly think poor people who can't afford insurance should die."
You need to state clear terms the choice in 2009 is this; "If you believe our economic and national security, and the lives of thousands of uninsured Americans should be sacrificed for Health Care industry profits, then by all means vote against a public option."
You need to state in clear terms the choice in 2009 is this; "If you believe members of congress have has a greater right to affordable health care than the citizens who elected them , then by all means support the GOP."
You need to state in clear terms the choice in 2009 is this; "The Republican party has no plan to repair any of the damage done to our economy, national security, global standing or environment by their own hands. The GOP's only plan is to continue doing more damage. The Republican Party can't offer America anything to vote FOR, they can only try desperately to scare enough of us to vote against anything different."
You must be willing to stand up and say out loud that the GOP has nothing to offer this nation but exactly what we have had the last time they were in charge. Economic disaster, loss of American lives in a health care crisis with no end, and a philosophy of Government that sees helping its own people at best, as a nuisance, and at worst, a threat to its power.
Unless you are willing forcefully articulate the choice between your administration and the insane nonsense of those who want you to lose. A choice that is, in fact crystal clear. You will allow the GOP to once again cloud the issues of the day with mud, flung without conscience or restraint. The time has come to stop lying to yourself by thinking that deep down the Republicans want the same things as you do.
They don't. They want you to lose, that's it.
The time has come to call liars what they are. Time has come to call cowards what they are. The time Mr. President, has come for you to stand up and say you are a better man, a better leader and your vision is far better for this nation.
Please President Obama, stop being the tethered ball on the GOP playground
Meanwhile back here in 2009: