What's All This Then?

commentary on the passing parade

Agree? Disagree? Tell me

My Other Blog

Sunday, December 05, 2010

And the madness continues. Republicans in the House and Senate are thumbing their collective noses at the American people and at the President and what is incredibly sad is that the people who voted for them don’t get it - and neither it seems does Mr. Obama. Republican Senators and Representatives , who have expressed such great concern about our growing deficit, are acting as they always act when it comes to. taxes. They act as though the nation can function without the need for any tax revenues. They frequently run for office and for re-election on such a theme and low information voters will nod approvingly when one of their heroes proclaims that he or she has NEVER voted for a tax increase and never will!! Yeah. Hooray for the tooth fairy.

That is the charade being acted out in the Senate this weekend as Republicans - and a few so called Democrats - block the extension of the Bush 2001 tax cuts for middle class tax payers - unless its also extended for millionaires and billionaires. Give us what we want or we’ll pick up our filibusters and go home. And if we don’t get what we want, that lazy unemployed riffraff can just forget about more unemployment insurance. Let ‘em put some string and different shaped stones in the Christmas stockings and tell the kids to use their imagination - like we had to do when we were kids. And they’re going to win of course. The two sides are negotiating a "compromise" - which means that there’ll be a "temporary’ extension of the current tax rates for everyone and a few more weeks of benefits for the long term unemployed - even though Republicans know that as long as they’re getting those few weekly dollars, they won’t bother to look for work. But what the hell. It’s a compromise. And the President will have lost any chance of being reelected in 2012.

He ran on a number of absolute promises - among them a guarantee that there’d be no tax increase for the middle class and the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy would expire at the end of its ten year wealth enhancement spree. Now he’s talking "compromise" - a self invented euphemism for surrender. He’s given in without a fight - and I think Tom Harkin was being optimistic when he said that Obama better hope and pray that Sarah Palin runs. I’m not sure he could even beat the half governor self promoter if he chooses to run for a second term. The base of his supporters have given up on him. He’s not the man they put their faith in and voted for - as witness their absence from the voting booth at the mid term. I was a big supporter but I’m not sure if I could vote for him again. If a Republican is elected in 2012, at least it would be likely that we’d know what we were getting. We thought we knew with Obama and we were wrong.

There’s still hope. All his supporters want him to do in order to continue to be supporters is to fight for the principles they thought he stood for. The Presidency is not the office of community organizing. It is the world’s largest bully pulpit. The people who voted for Obama want him to say what Mitch McConnell and his gang of 41 have said - that there will be no compromise when it comes to taxes - that he will veto any extension of the Bush tax cuts that includes those making in excess of a quarter million dollars a year. And he should hammer at the hypocrisy of Republicans agreeing to extend unemployment benefits for those in dire need only if the Bush tax cuts are extended for those who are far from in need. They have thrown down the gauntlet. Obama’s supporters want to see him pick it up and throw it right back at them - preferably across Senator McConnell’s protruding jowl.

The Republicans insist that it would be catastrophic to raise taxes on the wealthy during a time of recession. The lack of logic in that statement boggles the mind. What do they think will happen? That there’ll be catastrophic drop in caviar sales? A slow down in yacht production? A delay in mansion construction? Yes the rich have more money to spend - but it’s the millions of the rest of us who do the day to day spending that keeps the economy rolling - even when it slows to a crawl.

There has never been a clearer distinction drawn between what the blinkered Republicans and the rest of us stand for. It’s an opportunity for the President to go before the American people and point it out - not in professorial and conciliatory terms but in the kind of language we’ve been waiting for him to use for the past two years. He should have started after he met with Republicans at the White House and announced that they seemed to want to stop the partisan deadlock and work for the good of the nation - only to have them announce their "screw you" response the next morning. He needed to say that it’s obvious the Republicans have no interest in working with his administration and that from this moment on - unless and until they change - he will respond to them accordingly.

He needs to learn from Ronald Reagan. The Russians didn’t tear down the Berlin wall because he said - "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" - but he knew the effect of style over substance. Win or lose on any issue, Obama’s supporters are waiting for him to draw a line in the sand - any line on any issue. It’s only from behind such a line will his supporters join him and fight for another four years of hope and change. A lot of people are trying to tell him just that. We can only hope that he will hear through the noise of Presidential paraphernalia and listen to what they’re saying.