Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A tough message for Obama

...and I hope he receives it.

We have minority governments in Canada that govern like majorities. Obama had--and still has--a legislature with a rock-solid majority of Democrats in both houses, but he's governed as though his party were in the minority. Yes, yes, I know there's a yawning gulf between the Canadian system and his own. But am I wrong?

Obama has reached across the aisle ever since he was elected.
Why? To what end? His hands have been clawed every time he's done so. He looks weak and wavery to his enemies, but, even more important, he looks the same way to his own troops.

If he were a blogger, he'd be running his posts past Matt Drudge for approval.

Obama was sent an ultimatum by the electors in one of the most liberal states in the union. It wasn't: please compromise more. It wasn't: don't forget to track down all the nuances before you make the slightest move.

We wanted accessible healthcare, they said. You handed the legislative process over to a gaggle of conservatives, and ended up with two patchwork bills that promise a windfall for insurance companies.

We wanted an end to ceaseless war that drains our resources and kills our young men and women, they said. It's not stopping terrorism. But you sent a whack more troops off to Afghanistan instead--clutching the Nobel Peace Prize as you did so.

We wanted no more torture and extra-Constitutional measures and atrocities, if only because our country is getting a black eye over them. But Guantanamo is still there, a year after you took office. Prisoners may have been murdered there, and the cover-up is happening on your watch. The Blackwater killers in Iraq got off after your Justice Department threw the case. And you have embraced the same notion of Executive privilege that shielded your predecessor from Constitutional restraints.

We wanted a recovering economy and appropriate punishment for the Wall Street malefactors who did our country infinitely more harm than the terrorists. Instead, 2009 was the Year of the Bonus for the very people that got us into the recession in the first place. Bonuses that we effectively paid for ourselves with bailout money.

We wanted change. We got the same old, same old, same old, same old.

Yes, we're pissed off enough to put a homophobic Cosmo nudie with a taste for waterboarding into the Senate. Did that get your attention?

Good.

Now, for crying out loud, do what we sent you to the White House for.

So what if the other side can filibuster now? Big deal. Abolish the filibuster with a simple majority vote. It's high time. For goodness sake, stop cowering and wringing your hands.

So the Teabaggers and talkshow barbarians are on your case? Here's a thought: pay no attention. It's not your job to medicate them.

Use your majorities. Act like a doggone President. It's not too late, but it's going to be by the Fall. Don't try to pacify the Republicans: fight them. Stop saying "Nice doggie" to that bunch of rabid wolves.

Don't play to the centre. There's no political there there. What was it some blogger once said? "Pleasing your enemies does not turn them into friends." Except that you aren't pleasing either your enemies or your friends. Stop trying! Choose!

******

I wish Obama were a tenth the radical his nutbar antagonists claim he is. Instead, as it turns out, he's just Michael Ignatieff South. And the poorest Americans, not to mention struggling middle-class Americans, are carrying his failures on their backs, and too many are cracking under the strain, wondering what the hell went wrong.

But the bankers, the Wall Street gamblers--the whole of corporate America is even now saying, "Yes we can!" And Rush Limbaugh is cackling: "See? He is failing! The audacity of hope, my friends!"

Get back in the ring, Mr. President. And this time land a punch or two, instead of trying to hug the other guy. That makes your fans unhappy. Besides, the shot to the head you just received should let you know that he's not looking to hug you back.

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