Sunday, February 7, 2010

Now ... Obama wants civility

Our current president campaigned by relentlessly criticizing the previous president. Despite the rhetoric, and despite being graded as the "most liberal" member of the U.S. Senate, the American people accepted Barack Obama's word that he would bring a new kind of politics to Washington.

But within days of being sworn in, President Obama let his Republican counterparts know who was now in charge:

President Obama listened to Republican gripes about his stimulus package during a meeting with congressional leaders Friday morning - but he also left no doubt about who's in charge of these negotiations. "I won," Obama noted matter-of-factly, according to sources familiar with the conversation.

The first initiative of the Obama Administration was to push through an $825 billion stimulus package - promising in part that the stimulus bill would keep unemployment under 8%. Despite campaign promises to work in a bipartisan manner, Obama allowed the stimulus discussions to be held behind closed doors - with congressional Republicans shut out.

A few months later, Obama's political capital would rise further with the swearing in of Al Franken as senator of Minnesota. Upon the seating of Franken, the Democrats held all the power in Washington: the presidency, the House, and a filibuster-proof Senate. The Republicans, as of July 2009, did not have the numbers to stop any Democratic initiative.

Meanwhile, depsite promises that it would not rise above 8%, unemployment had gone over 10%. And the economy continued to sputter. But rather than address the economy head-on, Obama and the Democratic congress decided to spend its time on environmental legislation (cap and trade) and healthcare reform.

Despite having the numbers to pass whatever bill they wanted, Democrats couldn't agree among themselves on cap and trade. It died after passing in the House. And then the Democrats spent several more months arguing among themselves about health care - again closing Republicans out of the process - failing again to pass anything.

Despite having more than enough Democrat votes to pass these proposals on their own, President Obama continued during this time to deride Republicans as "the party of no" and "obstructionists," raising the question: how can you be an obstructionist when you do not have the ability to obstruct?

After months of watching Rome burn on the economy, the voters of Massachussetts let the Democrats know they had had enough, handing the country's safest Democratic senate seat over to Republican Scott Brown.

Obama and the Democrats held all of the power in Washington for about six months, ignored the economy and unemployment during this time, and instead tried unsuccessfully to cram unpopular social legislation down the throats of Americans who didn't want it. And only in retrospect did Obama realize the consequence of his actions. Losing the 41st seat in the Senate now means that Obama has to go through the Republican party to get anything done. And do you know what is suddenly important to Obama? Civility.

After a year of bashing Republicans as obstructionists - following two more years on the campaign trail criticizing his predecessor, Obama now suddenly sees the importance of civility (which was of such urgent importance he spoke of it at length ... at a prayer breakfast), even taking time to preach a little to Republicans about the topic. To bellyache now about civility sure does take some nerve and arrogance, but we have just the guy for it.

Obama's message here follows his usual theme of political calculation. To get any legislation through now, Obama needs the cooperation of at least one Republican. Obama wants that one Republican to think he's civil, rather than the guy he's been behaving like for the last year. But on the other hand - if the newfound civility doesn't work and Obama's legislative initiatives are stopped cold - Obama wants to be able to say he offered civility and the Republicans didn't reciprocate. Because you see, it's all just a political chess game for Obama.

[Rebuttals welcome]

21 comments:

  1. I just read that to myself in my best Rush Limbaugh voice possible.

    Now, onto a side of fries, quarter pounder, and a milkshake!

    But, yeah, Obama is the great punchline right now. What a failure!

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  2. We were worried that Obama was a socialist, maybe so maybe not---maybe he's just incompetent.

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  3. Hillbilly DemocratFebruary 7, 2010 at 6:27 PM

    This post is horrible. What a joke. PRESIDENT Obama has done everything in his power, with the advice from top financial advisors, to boost the economy. Give it time to work. As for health care, I have heard from MANY people that they are paying over $400 dollars a month on health insurance, with a portion being paid by their employer. Nobody can afford that! We need a solution; maybe not the exact plan that has been proposed, but something. I don't have the answers and neither does the author of this post.
    Washington=politics; deal with it and make the best out it.

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  4. Excellent post and very accurate.

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  5. How come all of these post on this DARKE journal are so negative towards our president especially after he has only just begun? I thought he was elected to a four year term to which to TRY to accomplish the many heavy burdens left to him from the GREAT past administration. While I certainly don't agree with everything that he & Congress have done thus far I am willing to be fair & allow him the opportunity to fulfil his term to that which he was elected by an overwhelming majority of the American people before judging his presidency or like some being so hateful, disrespectful & negative as so many have been thus far. Hell we gave BUSH 8 long years to prove himself why can't "some" give OBAMA his 4 years?? This article was typical of the RIGHT bashing the left ... it would be nice to see something written for a change that was fair & balanced offering both constructive critisism as well as the many positive things for which he has already accomplished. The personal attacks on his religion, citizenship and character are really pathetic & proven to be totally untrue. It just shows you how far people will go & that in itself is a very troubling & sad commentary on our society my friends! Thats why I dont like the 2 party system as it simply further divides us as a nation, as a people! Too much hatred, corruption & division & too little unity & compromise getting things done for America & her people which so direly needs accomplished!!

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  6. I dont think the economy can be fixed I think it is to far gone.It will take someone a lot greater than obama to fix it.I think he was about a year to late.

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  7. NO amount of money can help this economy, it's gotta come down to the fat lazy overpaid people who think they are entitled to a certain wage… Sack up work hard and earn what you deserve people, this isn't anything like your parents economy. Who exactly am I speaking to, if you are sitting around in tiny little online forums pointing the finger at one man, who has done more in one year compared to the previous administration, and you blame him for all of your woes, you are who I'm talking to…

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  8. Obama stopped the economic freefall that the past admin had allowed to happen. Everyone wants instantaneous results from a man in office a year?? What, you think Palin could do a better job?...she seems to be the Republicans next great hope...what a joke!! God help us if she is ever elected to ANY office by the tea party crazies.

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  9. nobama will go down as an ineffective president. "give it time to work"....HA! he's been in office for over a year now and he has accomplished nothing. Well... he has managed to raise the national debt to the highest levels in history... cut NASA programs that will cost over 300 jobs and make us rely on Russian space programs...want me to go on?

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  10. If you want to talk about disastrous candidates who almost becamse vice president, you all are forgetting how close we came to having that sleazeball John Edwards as the #2 guy ... and he came in 3rd for the Democratic nomination just two years ago.

    I'd still pick Palin over Obama or Edwards. But I am now starting to be happy that Obama beat McCain ... Obama is bringing America back to its conservative roots faster than McCain ever could have.

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  11. They need to do something about healthcare, the Anon above is right, the costs are astronomical, one illness can put you thousands in the hole,even with insurance.
    And a lot of working people are just getting by in the first place.
    Maybe Boehner has a decent plan......

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  12. These posts are a microcosm of our actual problem. If we continue the "us vs. them" attitude, along with playing that ill-fated game, "Ha, Ha, your half of the boat is sinking," we are all sunk. Obama is no savior, nor was Bush, nor is Palin. If we keep it up, we had better learn to tread water.

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  13. Boehner has a decent plan for his own continued re-election. As long as he breathes, and wants to be there, he will be in Congress.

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  14. 2012, what a ticket, Palin & Boehner!

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  15. Obama is turning out to be no better than the 3 presidents before him. Truth.

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  16. We should all practice the old addage of "United we stand, devided we fall". But that is something the republican party will never buy into. Just listening to John Boner, oops Boehner, will let you know how much he wants to see anything united in the United States.
    The citizens of the US gave Bush 8 years to drive the country to it's lowest point in history so how in the world can anyone get us out of this hole in even 4 years.
    Any person that believes that any one party is the only party, is only one step from believing in communism. That is their philosophy to the perfect form of government.

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  17. You can not fix the economy by throwing borrowed money at it! It takes jobs to fix the economy. All of the government has to quit spending and operate within their means. Give-me programs and subsidies have to quit.

    President Oboma knew what he was taking on, he campaigned that he could make things better for 2 to 3 years before taking office. Quit making excuses for him, he said he could fix, with all of his promises. Yes his opposition made promises, but they didn’t get the job, President Oboma did! He has done nothing to fix the economy, only threw borrowed money at it. Unemployment is still at record highs, people are losing their homes at record numbers. His answer is healthcare? His answer is Cap & Trade?

    I’m not blaming President Oboma for all of the economy problems, but he knew what he was getting himself into, for over 3 years he said he could fix it with his Change… He has all 3 branches of Government at his beckoning call, Quit making excuses and push him to get it done.

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  18. Obama has all 3 branches of government? That is patently false. Do you also think he approved of the most recent Supreme Court decision to allow unlimited corporate (domestic & foreign) monetary participation in politics?

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  19. I never wrote that Obama had all 3 branches of govt. I also never said, or implied, that Republicans have all the answers (I hope they get their crap together - soon - but never said they have all the answers). I also didn't blame Obama for all of our current problems.

    Basically, the only point I wanted to make is that it's pretty rich for Obama to be talking about civility now when he has exhibited none himself up to this point.

    Those of you who are accusing me of other things are readings arguments that aren't there.

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  20. You didn't say he had 3 branches, but John 2:41 PM did.

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  21. I am all in favor of the government subsidies only if every cent is spent on buying goods and materials that is manufactured in the US and services must be provided by US citizens that are registered and paying taxes.
    That is the only way that subsidies will get the US economy turned around.

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