November 13, 2010 | Stop it! Right now! Since the election the amount of sheer poppycock said about it defies the imagination. Republicans can't help themselves from crowing about how the election has given them a mandate to roll back everything back to Herbert Hoover. And Democrats can't help themselves from drawing all the wrong conclusions. To wit:
This morning's NY Times contained an article about Heath Shuler (D-NC), re-elected for a third term. He is a member of the self-styled Blue Dog coalition. He was also one of the first to call for Nancy Pelosi to step down from her leadership role in the party.
Shuler believes, according to the Times, that "the Democrats’ achievements in the last Congress ... are unpopular with the public because the party’s leadership has been too reflexively partisan. He says a more moderate approach is needed" (NYTimes, 13-Nov-2010)
Au contraire! My opinion is that the Democrats haven't been partisan enough. The Republicans have been rigidly, dogmatically partisan, rejecting out-of-hand every proposal advanced by Democrats, even if the proposal is in large measure made up of things the Republicans previously said they were for.
And what have the Democrats done? They have dithered away almost two years trying to cajole and coax even a handful of Republicans to cross the aisle and support proposals. In doing so they have made concession after concession, watering down programs. What have they gotten in return? Bubkes.
Obama was a terrific candidate. He mobilized a vast coalition behind his candidacy, inspired by the changes he called for and by his apparent determination to get things done. His coattails were very long, sweeping into Congress overwhelming majorities in both houses.
But as president Obama has disappointed just about everyone who was for him. He has been too passive, deferring to Congress, unable or unwilling to be clear and draw any lines in the sand. In short, he hasn't been willing to fight for things. He seems aloof, remote, indecisive.
Terrific example: Most Americans favor either extending the Bush tax cuts only for those making less than $250,000 per year or letting all the tax cuts expire (right) (Gallup, 10-Sep-2010). People get the math — extending the tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans would add $700 billion to the debt. Supposedly, reducing the debt is one of the strongest "messages" that voters sent in the last election. But Republicans are positioning themselves as prepared to scuttle all the tax cuts if the cuts for the wealthy are not extended. Obama and the Democrats should call their bluff; this is a perfect chance for Democrats to assume the mantle of fiscal responsibility. But what has the White House done? Sent all sorts of "signals" that they are willing to compromise on the tax cuts, saying their position is that the tax cuts for the wealthiest shouldn't be permanent. In Washington-speak, that means they're willing to extend them "temporarily," and we all know how those temporary things work out.
Democrats: Find your spine!
Last updated on Apr 13, 2018