Tuesday, April 3, 2012

This is the Obama I voted for

This is the Barack Obama I voted for. I wanted a president who'd use that bully pulpit.

OK, Obama campaigned on bipartisanship - and he clearly meant it. For three years, he's bent over backward trying to work with Republicans. But this isn't the old GOP, which would at least try to do what was best for America.

Every since Obama was elected, the Republicans' single goal has been to regain power, whatever they had to do. They've been dragging their feet on the economy - even actively sabotaging the recovery (remember that debt ceiling debacle last summer?) - because an improving economy helps Barack Obama's chances. Who cares what this does to America and Americans!

With the GOP, it's entirely the end justifies the means. However much damage they have to do to America, it will be worth it if they get the presidency. That's how they think. It's no wonder that Mitt Romney is going to be their presidential nominee, because he thinks exactly the same way. The end - Mitt Romney as president - is everything; the means is immaterial. Whatever works.

It's been frustrating to see Obama bend over backward, again and again. He'd give Republicans half of what they wanted, as a goodwill gesture, and then "compromise" by giving them the rest. Actually, it's probably good that Republicans wouldn't move an inch - not even to take a deal with a ten to one advantage, as their presidential candidates so famously indicated in that debate - or he would have given them much, much more.

I sympathize. We need to work together. We need a rational Republican Party. But that's not what we've got. And we also need a president who'll use that bully pulpit to push our side, the progressive side, of things. It might be too late now. I hope not, but we'll see.

Anyway, it seems like Barack Obama is in campaign mode again, and I really like candidate Obama better than President Obama.

But candidate or president, he's a million times better than any of the Republican candidates!


Chimeradave said...

I agree if he'd talked like this and had actions to match, then I would have been a lot happier with his presidency. I'd like to think that he's just done taking shit from the conservatives, but I'm afraid like you said that it's just candidate Obama and he'll disappear forever after the election.

WCG said...

No, John, I really think there's more to it than that. You just can't function as president without the opposition party, not unless you have an overwhelming majority in Congress.

For example, Democrats would need not just 60 Democrats in the Senate, but 60 Democrats who wouldn't join the constant Republican filibusters (like my own "Democratic" senator does).

Filibustering was never intended to be a tactic used for everything. The Senate was supposed to be a matter of simple majority rule, with supermajorities only needed occasionally. But Republicans have broken the Senate.

And, of course, Republicans now control the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court. (Admittedly, they only controlled the Supreme Court the first two years of his term, and it was Democratic timidity that might have lost them the House.) This isn't a dictatorship. There's no way a president can function effectively without the opposition party.

In effect, Republicans have broken America's system of government. Our government institutions don't work anymore, because Republicans value their own political ambition above everything else (or else they've just gone batshit crazy).

At any rate, Barack Obama had the right idea. A president has to work with the political opposition. Unfortunately, he's got the wrong opponents, so there's nothing he could do to appease them. Even adopting their own health care reform plan didn't do it!

IMHO, in a case like this, the only thing you can do is push your own side as hard as possible. Personally, I think that Barack Obama took too long to realize that. On the other hand, we're still suffering from the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. And his compromises - yes, even the tax cuts - have made things better than they would otherwise have been.

He's really been between a rock and a hard place, John. He hasn't had any good options. And note that being an "angry black man" probably won't help him with most Americans, although his re-election probably depends more on how the economy is doing in November than anything else.

As long as the American people don't see what the Republicans are doing to us, we're not going to get out of this mess. I've been unhappy the past three years, but the reason for that has far more to do with the Republicans than with Obama.