Go down with a fight.

Thursday, September 1st, 2011 @ 9:52 am | Barack Obama, Crazy Tea Party People, Economy, Election crap

On knowing that whatever jobs program Obama proposes is DOA in the Republican-controlled House (and that Republicans will gladly turn around and blame Obama for not doing anything about jobs):

The Republicans are going to deride whatever he does as Son of Stimulus, the right-wing propaganda apparatus will put a fatwa on the head of any wavering House member or senator, and no plan with “Obama” in its name is going to clear the Senate, let alone the House, and that will be that. We know this.

This is why it’s so chillingly disheartening to read quotes like Carney’s and Earnest’s. The plan can be bold. The plan can be modest. The point is that he has to fight like hell for it. But he won’t. He is the anti-Broder on this front. Remember how the late David Broder wrote all those columns lamenting partisan gridlock, carefully blaming both sides, pointedly ignoring the mountains of evidence that it was chiefly Republicans driving the divide? Well, Obama, rather than blaming both sides, blames neither. He speaks of ending partisan gridlock in a disembodied and remote way, and he talks about it as if it’s an act of God that has descended on the capital, like Irene did—and one that can be overcome if we all just put our shoulders to the wheel.

But the truth is that our gridlock is an act of man—or men. Particular men. They even have names. They are McConnell, Boehner, and Cantor. God forbid the president criticize them. It’s two more syllables than “Martin, Barton, and Fish,” the trio of Republican obstructionists FDR famously called out (read this for a little background on how Obama could be behaving differently), but the president’s an articulate fellow; he could handle it.

President Obama seems to be dipping into the crazy juice when he still talks about how Washington is going to come together and work to solve our problems. Yes, that’s what’s necessary, but it isn’t going to happen, and he needs to acknowledge that and choose how he’s going to spend the final year of his first term. There’s a terrific case to be made against Republicans for what they’ve tried to do to sabotage the economy and prevent any successful legislation that even appears to have come from President Obama, but Obama simply cannot move forward acting like anything’s going to change in the next year. Why should it? As stupid and destructive as it is, the GOP cockblock strategy is hurting Obama’s ratings and that’s all Republicans care about, even if it means cratering their own. Maybe it won’t work for them next year, but there’s no reason for Obama to let them have the chance. He needs to be the guy we elected the next year, the guy who ran on change we could believe in, who ran on standing up for progressive principles, for working families, for all the people the Bush/GOP years left behind.

The most important thing people need to see is that Obama cares and he’s fighting for them. If he fights for them and the Republicans oppose everything he does, then the Republicans are opposing the people. This is already the case, but it needs to be made crystal clear. Republicans are bullies. They will talk shit, they will insult, they will lie, they will make up anything they want about Democrats because they can usually expect Democrats to not fight back, and slowly the taint creeps. But when you fight back, Republicans scatter, whine, cry, complain, and moan about how hurt their feelings are. So Democrats veer between being wimps and, the second they fight back, mean ole’ meanies who are so very cruel and shrill. That’s falling right into the GOP playbook.

No, what you do is keep pressing forward, keep pointing your finger, and keep touting your values, the positive values that lead you to fight for all Americans, not just the wealthy and white. President Obama has actually done some pretty significant things for the poor, most importantly health care reform, but he can’t rest on his laurels and wait for progressives to kiss his ass, as his admin has sometimes signaled they’d like to do. The political capital is burned up. It’s time to earn some more.

-hw

6 Responses to “Go down with a fight.”

  1. AJKamper Says:

    I wonder if his spouting of bipartisanship right now isn’t preparation for the 2012 election. That is, if he stays relentlessly positive now, come election season he’ll have lots more ammunition to say, “See, the Republicans are screwing us!”

    Of course, then he’s sacrificing the present in order to win four more years of Presidency, which isn’t that dissimilar to what the GOP’s been doing.

  2. Henry Whistler Says:

    I’d say that it’s a tragedy the public took the “Tea Party” at their word that they were anything other than the GOP base, so apparently we needed to let them demonstrate who they were again. That said, case made! Obama needs to shift gears now. He can rope-a-dope later, but keeping the Republican message machine off guard is essential to preventing them from defining the election on their (stupid) terms.

    Nothing’s going to change with Republicans. It’s time to go to the public and say, “Are you for doing something, or are you for nothing? Or just handing more money to the rich and saying you did something?”

    That makes 2012 an easy choice.

  3. Barack Obama: the Peter Principle in (in)action « Common Sense Political Thought Says:

    […] known it, but our friends on the left are starting to realize it as well. Henry Whistler knows it, writing an article today saying that the President needs to actually fight, and fight back, against …, but, deep down, Mr Whistler knows that Mr Obama simply doesn’t have what it takes. He needs […]

  4. Henry Whistler Says:

    Apparently Dana, unable to create a compelling reason to vote Republican, has decided trying to harp on liberal dissatisfaction to keep Democrats home in 2012 is his best bet.

  5. AJKamper Says:

    I love that! What is it with conservatives so eager to find a reason for liberals to be less than fully pleased with the President?

  6. Henry Whistler Says:

    Like I said in a Talking Points Memo thread on FB the other day, who’s your favorite president in your lifetime? Because Bill Clinton signed DADT, repealed Glass-Steagall and failed to pass healthcare reform. And failed to whack bin Laden (although more forgivable pre-9/11 than Bush blowing it at Tora Bora). Obama reversed all those, more or less.

    We need a lot more of what Obama did get done and a lot less Republican obstruction.