Has it been almost a year already? I have to admit that I haven’t been writing with the frequency I once did. My nearly daily entries have waned to nearly weekly in some cases. But it has been almost a year since we’ve had the chance to read an entry from The Black Sentinel. I was more than happy to see the email saying that she had a new entry. I returned to her blog to see a brand new post after almost a year. My how time flies.
The new post was named “Trickle Down Knowledge” and featured a picture of the participants in the last Republican presidential debate. I was stopped in my tracks trying to exercise a little prejudice by imagining what the article was about. The title was an obvious play on “trickle down economics”, the title of the mostly conservative economic theory that if we take steps to make the wealthy even wealthier they would reciprocate by using their new levels of über abundance to help the rest of us. This seems to be the main message of popular conservative politics these days where candidates promise corporations the perfect environment for business with little government regulation, little fear of judicial interference, little impact from unions or any other organization to challenge big business, no minimum wage, and anything else that promises to benefit corporations at the expense of the rest of us.
It is understandable that these presidential candidates would support such economic theory. These people vying for the presidency are all much wealthier than the average joe. These people push economic and social policies that are bound to serve themselves very well. And no matter which one of these people wins, they all will share in the bounty. But what I really don’t understand is why people who are struggling in their day-to-day would support this corporate welfare on a silver platter.
I find it frustrating to see everyday joes actually advocate that we should cut tax rates so that we can justify cutting back on our investments in education and infrastructure and in our ability to provide for the benefit of all. It is far better that we keep our money to ourselves instead of helping each other improve our collective living conditions.
As a national collective, we think America is the best country in the world. But when some of us think of the concept of us coming together as a nation to develop social programs for the betterment of all of us, America is no longer a collective but a collection of individuals with no social responsibility to help each other. In fact, quit waiting for somebody to help you because if these people had their way, ain’t nobody coming to help. Quit waiting for some kind of handout because the only people who deserve a handout are the people at the top of our financial pyramid who don’t need it at all.
So people who don’t want to see the success of people at the bottom of our social structure look for government representation that epitomizes their social beliefs and wants. If you think that it’s a problem to have a social net that protects everyone and not just the wealthy, then you’ll look for representation that will look to protect the wealthy at the expense of everyone. It’s better to make cuts in education, supposedly the foundation for success, rather than raise tax rates that would help ensure that all of our children receive an education that would prepare them for our collective future.
And so the people in the picture represent the cream of the crop for this kind of thinking. Government is the problem and these people promise to run government under that philosophy. There are conservatives who support education. There are conservatives who understand the need of a balanced approach to taxation. There are conservatives who understand the need to keep government responsible to everyone and not just the wealthy. But such moderate conservative leadership could never succeed in today’s anti-Obama at any and all cost environment.
In today’s conservative environment, nationally mandated government healthcare cost jobs and is just a small step away from socialism and communism and everything that goes against capitalism. But the same mandate from a state level of government is perfectly acceptable. We are told that government interference is keeping companies from being successful, even though today’s corporations are making more money than ever in the middle of an economic crisis. Obama care is what’s keeping America down, but America was going down before Mr. Obama even took office. What gives?
The truth of the matter is that few are taking an honest look at the political situation and are making their choices and philosophies on nothing but rhetoric and long held but unsubstantiated beliefs. If cutting corporate taxes created jobs we’d have tons of jobs by now. Cutting those taxes further isn’t going to create a single job. Cutting investments in education and keeping the populace ignorant isn’t going to create a single job no matter how much rhetoric we hear to the contrary.
People need to read and to learn for themselves. Simply looking for people who do nothing but recite rhetoric isn’t the answer. Listening to somebody recite all the differences between pit bulls and hockey moms doesn’t help. What helps is information. Taking an educated approach to the issues and taking a thoughtful analysis of the solutions being proposed is bound to be a more thoughtful approach. If nothing else it should lead to a better understanding of what’s going on.
Now if you’ll excuse me I have an article to read. It’s been a year since The Black Sentinel has written an article. I need to see what exactly has brought her back on the scene.
Another Republican presidential debate takes place in just a few hours. New to the debating game is Texas Governor Rick Perry. Out of the game is former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is no longer the front runner, ceding that position to Mr. Perry who is currently leading in the polls by double digits. Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann is struggling to survive with some kind of relevancy. And other candidates are scattered throughout the polls trying to get their fair share of attention in what appears to be a mad dash, “Death Race 2000” style to the right.
The popular conservative candidates promise to put America back on track with all kinds of nothing new ideas such as the deregulation of corporate America, lower taxes for corporate America so that it would be more competitive to corporations that operate in other parts of the world, tort reform so corporate America could operate without fear of damaging lawsuits, and changes to the federal government so that it would be inconsequential in the lives of the public. And when these programs make corporate America more profitable, corporate America would hire more people with all the extra cash that would end up in their coffers.
One fact that theses conservatives presidential candidates have forgotten is that corporate America isn’t hurting for profits. It is estimated that corporate America is sitting on trillions of dollars of cash money that is being held outside the country. If that is true, and nobody seems to argue otherwise, corporations are already extremely profitable. How many more trillions does corporate America needs in order to bring a dollar back home to help the struggling economy of the country that made them the profitable global conglomerates that they have become?
It is argued that corporations don’t want to bring this money back to the homeland because of the heavy burden of the higher tax rates on corporate profits. If we want to compete in world markets then we have to have a fair and level playing field. If that’s the case and we need to copy what’s being done elsewhere, why don’t these candidates argue for universal healthcare the way other countries provide universal healthcare to their public? Why don’t these candidates argue that we need to invest more in our infrastructure the way other countries are investing in their infrastructure? Why don’t these candidates argue for educational investments the way other countries are investing in education? Does it not make sense that if we are going to do whatever the rest of the world does for its corporate entities, shouldn’t we be following these same examples for the people?
Instead, while corporate America is promised every handout imagined under the sun, conservatives are promising to give the flesh and blood citizens the cold shoulder under the theory that no flesh and blood body should depend on their government for help. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and we need to practice some tough love in order to get our citizenry to become contributors to our great economy instead of takers addicted handouts. But if handouts and protections are good for our corporate citizens, how come they aren’t just as good for our flesh and blood citizens?
Making people, corporate and flesh and blood alike, at the top of our financial ladder even more profitable won’t have much of an impact on the rest of us. Trickledown economics work only when those that have wealth are required to contribute to the social pie. Corporate America, and other people who are sitting on massive amounts of wealth, don’t come off of that stuff without a fight. Case in point, even though corporate managers see the economy struggling firsthand, these people would prefer to keep trillions of dollars out of the economy because they need more certainty that they can move that money while paying as little as possible. Without some incentive to contribute, most deep pocket entities would keep as much money as possible.
Corporations that operate with impunity will occasionally and regularly fail to rise to a moral or ethical responsibility, but would prefer to operate on the lesser standard of a legally mandated responsibility. A legal responsibility would be something like a government regulation or a court mandated solution. But the conservatives are promising less government and minimal court interference. It is a wealth generation machine that will benefit only a small portion of the public.
In the conservative vision for America, corporations will do very well. But non corporate entities might not be so lucky. A conservative America might bring trillions of dollars back to America, but that money won’t be evenly distributed throughout our economy. It will remain in a few hands and the end result would be nothing noticeable for the average joe. And when we see that all those tax breaks and tort reforms and all those other changes meant to give corporate America a handout didn’t work, we’ll be told that all we have to do is give more tax cuts and more reforms and more opportunities to make wealth to the few and they’ll get even richer while the economy continues to struggle. We followed the tax cuts and tort reform and deregulation formula through the eight years that George Bush Jr. called the White House home. It didn’t work then. It won’t get the economy out of its doldrums now.
While I’m somewhat relieved that a debt deal has been reached and we can put this sordid ordeal behind us to a certain extent, it’s very hard to ignore the fact that I feel politically violated. The people we have voted for to represent our collective interest have allowed themselves to be bent to the wishes of a small but vocal minority. The for right conservatives that call themselves the tea party and their admirers have hijacked the political system and have succeeded in making the fairly routine process of raising the debt ceiling into a Constitutional crises that threatened the global economy. With America on the brink of self-inflicted financial ruin, these people encouraged their Congressional gladiators to shut government down at any and all cost. Cooler heads may have prevailed and the government managed to avoid calamity. But if the details of the debt deal can be believed, the conservatives should be having a hell of a celebration today.
Conservatives claim they are doing whatever they can to protect the economy by destroying it. Any sense of fairness was thrown out the window back when they refused to let anybody keep the tax cuts implemented by former President George Bush Jr. if the wealthy didn’t have the same deal. The right will swear up and down that if the wealthy pay anything more than they already do then unemployment will suffer. So they resisted and refused and low and behold they got their way. The left, lead by President Barack Obama himself, folded faster than Superman in an origami contest.
And then this crazy ordeal was kicked into high gear with the debt ceiling discussions. Emboldened by the left’s cave to their earlier demands they repeated the process. No debt ceiling increase unless we have spending cuts with absolutely no revenue increase. Any plan that included a single wealthy person paying an extra dime to the federal government would be a deal breaker. Too many politicians signed a pledge not to raise any tax revenue and they were going to live by that pledge no matter the consequences. So we got a deal for a debt limit increase that, at least from the left’s perspective, falls significantly short of the mark. Considering the right’s long sought after goal of reducing or eliminating government funded social services for the not so privileged, it’s a perfect bull’s eye.
In all fairness, it should be noted that Mr. Obama and the majority of the left leaning politicians weren’t ready to deal with the hostage taking tactics from the right. The politicians from the right have been radicalized by tea partiers who insist on taking their country back. I always thought that meant they wanted to take it back as if somebody had stolen it. Now, it appears that they simply want to go back to a time when government allowed big business to operate with abandon. These people act like they want to go back to a time where a lot of people had no access to anything resembling modern healthcare. These people want to go back to a time before America had anything resembling the modern infrastructure that makes life so convenient for us. The same infrastructure that we all take for granted.
The right sent a special breed of people to Washington D.C. to represent their interest. These people had no idea what it means to compromise. In their minds, the whole process was a my way or highway proposition. There was never going to be a compromise. The traditional politician that represented the left was caught off guard with this new opposition. If we are to give Mr. Obama the benefit of doubt, he might say that be is working as hard as he can to govern. But it appears that, as the leader of the political left, he is ill-equipped to hold fast to the convictions of his true political base and wants to compromise on most issues in order to give both sides a reason to dislike his form of executive management or the lack thereof. And too many other politicians on the left are beholden to the old way of doing business to buck their leadership.
Like the people on the political right, the political left may want to vote for people who want to hold fast to their convictions to the point of shutting government down. If the left wants to stop the trend of our political reps caving to their peers on the right time and time again, maybe the left should look for its own hardcore politicians that are willing to hold fast to their convictions just as strongly as the tea party right holds fast to its own. Sometimes you need fire to fight fire. And when government grinds to a hard stop and nothing gets done, at least we can say that we didn’t cave on this one. That might make us feel better when the next bridge collapses and people are killed. It might make us feel better when schools across the country close and our educational system goes back to a one room school house style of teaching.
The founding fathers prepared the United States Constitution for every eventuality that a nation could face, with the one possible exception of deeply entrenched political gridlock, rooted in an intent focus on scoring political points instead of doing the will of the people. It is the will of the people, not the will of all people but the will of the majority, that the United States not default on its debt and protect its fragile economy. At this time, the only way to protect the nation’s economy, and arguably the economy of the world, is to raise the debt ceiling so that we can continue to borrow the money to pay for the bills we have already incurred.
I find it appalling that some of our political leaders, mostly from the conservative side of the political aisle, openly operate under the presumption that America defaulting is nothing to worry about. And some of these people even say that we can default on our financial obligations and our economy would become even stronger. What? Like a lot of people, I’ve missed my fair share of credit card payments. Just didn’t have the funds, I forgot, payments got lost in the mail, whatever. My financial health hardly got better because of it. Credit card companies, banks, and other financial institutions don’t hesitate to jack the payments up substantially with a threefold increase in interest rates. Suddenly I found myself paying a lot more just to keep the status quo. People who have experienced defaulting on a bill or two know what the deal is. Not paying bills does little to give people an incentive to loan you money. In fact, believe it or not it does the exact opposite and you wind up paying more in order to get the credit desired. Protect your credit. It’s why companies like Equifax, Experian, TransUnion and other credit monitoring organizations make money selling us services to protect our financial power.
Even the leadership of second and third world countries know the importance of protecting their credit. Greece, a country right on that cusp between second and third world status and nowhere near the significance of the United States, is working to get the financing so that it won’t trigger a series of unfortunate events that could impact the European countries whose finances support the value of the Euro currency and the rest of the global economy. And with a gross domestic product at a little over three hundred billion dollars, Greece is hardly considered a financial heavy hitter. But nevertheless, people are pulling out the stops to bolster that economy.
With a gross domestic product at more than fourteen trillion dollars, the United States is forty-five times the size of Greece, and its impact to the world economy would be like the tidal wave that sank the Andrea Gail in The Perfect Storm. The United States has gone to war with other countries to protect the dollar and to enforce its reputation as the monetary standard of the world. America’s credit is like gold, you can take it to the bank. At least you used to be able to take it to the bank.
Now, some of our political leaders want to make our economy so unstable that cash would need some kind of collateral to back up its value. Why, because some of our politicians insist on curing our debt woes solely by cutting back on spending. How many times have we heard the mantra that Washington doesn’t have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. People want to insist that any plan to solve this crisis must be revenue neutral because getting more money into the nation’s treasury is a problem. Some of our politicians insist on protecting the financial pockets of the wealthy, hereafter to be referred to as job creators, even though these people already sit on top of enough cash and wealth to hire an entire squadron of additional workers to any workforce. The reasoning for not raising revenue simply doesn’t add up. But it is true that Washington doesn’t have a revenue problem. What it does have is a common sense problem.
When I didn’t pay a bill because I didn’t have the funds, I did whatever I could to raise the money to pay it. I did what I could to cut back on expenses and I did what I could to raise revenue. I had a combination of a revenue problem and a spending problem that contributed to my debt problem. And politicians should be willing to do the same thing when our national treasury falls short. Go figure.
Back in 2001, when times were still fairly good, government enjoyed a surplus, but a recession was beginning to form on the horizon, the conservatives sold the American public on the idea that a cut in taxes would generate jobs and keep the economy afloat. Back then, we had a revenue problem and we had to reduce taxes to give more money back to the public. And even though the vast majority of that money went to the job creators (formerly known as the rich), jobs started to evaporate. Now that the economy has tanked, conservatives are now telling us that we have a revenue problem and that the only thing we should do is now cut spending. Unfortunately, as soon as we get our spending under control, against common sense, somebody might start selling the idea of more tax cuts again and we’ll be back in the same boat.
On Thursday’s Morning Joe, political analyst Mark Halperin called President Barack Obama a “dick” for the President’s press conference where he ridiculed Republican’s for the delay in getting a budget deal done. The President compared the conservatives to his daughters saying that Sasha and Malia don’t wait until the last minute to get their homework done because the girls have the good sense to get their work completed in a timely fashion and that the congress should do what’s necessary to work out a compromise on the budget before the United States government defaults on its debt instead of going on vacation with a deadline looming.
Arguably Mr. Obama was rather condescending. He pointed a damning finger at his political opponents and used his unique position as President to bring attention to their foot dragging on something a lot of people feel is very serious. He did what any politician would do when trying to force an unwilling opponent to compromise more than he or she or they might wish, he took his argument to the public. Mr. Obama may not do it as much as others, but as a politician, he can be expected to participate in the blame game just like any other politician.
For Mr. Halperin to label the President with such a slur for doing what politicians do is truly “dick” behavior. In an attempt to explain himself for his rather unique critique as a supposedly respected political analyst, Mr. Halperin says that Mr. Obama was not being helpful to the negotiating process and was merely playing to his political base. Just think of the audacity of a politician like the President trying to show the people most likely to vote for him in an upcoming election that he can be trusted to fight for their political beliefs in this budget showdown.
So if it is true that Mr. Obama is acting like a “dick”, the where is Mr. Halperin’s condemnation of the conservatives for acting like “dicks” as well? Don’t conservatives deserve the same label for trying to play to their own political base? Or does Mr. Halperin feel that conservative political leaders are trying to appeal to the President’s base and liberals everywhere when they make their announcements that any attempt to increase revenue into the treasury is a non-starter? Where was Mr. Halperin when Republican Majority Whip Eric Cantor walked out of budget negotiations? Was Mr. Cantor a “dick” for his grandstanding to the approval of his conservative base?
It is my guess that Mr. Halperin is being very biased in his judgment of what makes a “dick” and what is responsible political theatrics. And I do believe that when he referred to the President as a “dick”, the conservative Mr. Halperin was doing what he could to appeal to his own conservative base. I might be wrong, but I do believe a lot of conservatives approve of Mr. Obama being called a “dick”. But such a label really does nothing to help move things along. So if Mr. Halperin was judged by his own standards, maybe it would be fair to say that Mr. Halperin was just being a “dick”.
In response to Mr. Halperin’s remark, MSNBC has announced that Mr. Halperin will be suspended indefinitely. Liberals will applaud the response while conservatives will cry foul. It’s no different than when Mr. Halperin called Mr. Obama a “dick”. Conservatives applauded the assessment while liberals cried foul. But that’s no different than when the President said conservatives act like irresponsible children who know that their homework assignment is coming due. Liberals will applaud and conservatives will moan. Just like when a conservative negotiator walks out of a budget meeting. Conservatives applaud while liberals howl in protest. And on and on it goes.
The bottom line is that the way things are going we all can be considered acting like “dicks”. We are a country of “dicks” run be a political system that encourages people to act like “dicks”. We are all part of this “members” only club. Mr. Halperin may have been right in his assessment of Mr. Obama, but unfortunately it appears that he was totally off the mark in his assessment of just about everything else in the world of politics. Instead of acting like a responsible political analyst with a bias for their own political leanings and letting the “dick” behavior happen, Mr. Halperin made the choice to show his own “dick”-like behavior.
A lot of talk is being made about the midterm elections next week. By most political analyst estimates, the conservatives have a very good chance of retaking the House of Representatives and a slimmer chance of retaking the Senate. It should be noted that the Republican Party and tea party landslide that people have been predicting for a long while gets a little more tempered each and every day as voting day gets closer and closer. The overwhelming enthusiasm that conservatives share is being mitigated by a fear by liberals that conservatives will take over the Congress and sabotage the fragile economic recovery as well and implement policies that could potentially damage the country further.
Conservatives appear to be chomping at the bit. According to one political analyst that appeared on the MSNBC show Morning Joe with Joe Scarborough, brought to you by Starbucks Coffee, senior Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell admitted that his primary focus is to assure that President Barack Obama serves only one term. Screw whatever else is going on. If Mr. McConnell can throw a monkey wrench into Mr. Obama’s agenda, regardless if it can actually help the country or not, it’s all good. It goes back to that conservative mantra, they hope he fails and the country wallows in misery so that the Republicans can return to power and continue the dismantling a lot of the lessons that have gone into building this country over the past two centuries plus.
One monkey wrench that conservatives will get if they can take over the legislature is the congressional subpoena power. The conservatives are looking forward to gaining the ability to investigate everything and anything that happens in the White House. Think back to the days of President Bill Clinton. Early in the beginning of his first term, Mr. Clinton was being investigated for his dealings in the Whitewater real estate scandal. Special investigator Kenneth Starr examined documents and back accounts. He interviewed people that knew Bill and Hillary Clinton before they were the Clintons. He investigated every lead down to its nothings here conclusion until he discovered that Mr. Clinton lied to investigators about his highly public and embarrassing sexual encounters with Monica Lewinski. It wasn’t quite the smoking gun people expected. It was more like a lukewarm water pistol. But it was enough to impeach Mr. Clinton and give his administration a humiliating black eye.
Mr. Clinton’s successor, President George Bush Jr., suffered from no investigation when the liberals took over the Congress back during the midterm elections of 2006. Although there was plenty to investigate, how oil industry executives formulated the Bush administration’s energy and environmental protection policy, what was done to push the country into war in Iraq and Afghanistan, no bid contracts to Halliburton and all of its subsidiaries, the relationship between government officials and the mercenaries for hire company Blackwater, the federal government’s response to hurricane Katrina, the outing of undercover operative Valerie Plame, and a lot of other things that could use a little public attention.
When he took office, Mr. Obama and the Democratic leaders of our federal legislature made it clear that there would be no investigation into the happenings of the previous administration. To investigate his predecessor would be looking at the past and Mr. Obama wanted to focus on the future and put a rather contentious race for the White House behind him in an overt attempt to bury the hatchet and bring bipartisan cooperation to our federal government. That really didn’t work out very well. Mr. Obama and his Democratic cohorts appeared to be quick to surrender on issues that were important to its base of support. The result may have been an unenthused base making it look like there’s all that Republican and tea party enthusiasm mentioned earlier.
Now that there’s a very real danger of losing control of what gets investigated, Mr. Obama and his Democratic cohorts are worrying about what gets investigated. They know what’s coming. Conservatives can’t wait to make the Ken Starr investigation that resulted in Mr. Clinton’s impeachment look like a molehill. I have no doubt that there will be a mountain of investigations into everything Mr. Obama, the Democratic Party, the Obama family, and even Bo’bama the dog.
If the fiasco with Mr. Obama’s birth certificate is any indication, all investigators into Mr. Obama’s happenings have to do is make the suggestion that there’s impropriety involved and that’ll be all a lot of conservatives will need to call for Mr. Obama’s impeachment, removal from office, imprisonment, and eventual deportation because so many of us are so sure that he’s not one of us. If the Republicans retake the legislature like a lot of people say they will, the result has the potential to make for some truly great political theater.
According to recent polls, President Barack Obama’s popularity is continuing to fall to record lows. A lot of political pundits are dismissing Mr. Obama and the rest of the Democratic Party as losers when America does its midterm elections later this year. A lot of talk is going on about how many seats the Republicans will be able to pickup this year. The Republicans are practically drooling over the prospect of winning back control of the Senate or the House of Representatives or possibly both. Robert Gibb, the President’s Press Secretary, is resigned to the fact that his party will lose and should take steps to minimize the political losses.
I’m not surprised that Mr. Obama is going down in the poll numbers. The man spends a lot of time turning his back on supporters to embrace people who’d never support him. Some people would prefer to support Beelzebub himself than give Mr. Obama the time of day. But that fact would never keep Mr. Obama from trying to appear to be a centrist as he trades away the faith his own political base has in him. If the people who voted to put Mr. Obama in office wanted a public option then I would think that Mr. Obama would do what he can to keep that public option on the table. Too much is given up to win a halfhearted compromise.
But what is truly disappointing is how quickly Mr. Obama will distance himself from people or entities that have supported him. Yesterday, the Obama administration worked to distance itself from Shirley Sherrod, a bureaucrat for the USDA in Georgia who was unceremoniously kicked to the curb because of a video that showed her talking about a situation that happened more than twenty years ago where she was being asked for help from a white farmer who was about to lose her job. Based on a video clip that clearly took Ms. Sherrod’s statement way out of context, officials in the Obama administration did not hesitate to ask Ms. Sherrod for her resignation without giving her the slightest benefit of doubt.
That seems to be typical operating procedure for this White House. We saw evidence of this before Mr. Obama was elected President when videos surfaced of one of Mr. Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, surfaced during the primaries. Mr. Obama tried to distance himself from his spiritual mentor. But when that didn’t work well enough to put the whole issue in the past, Mr. Obama found it convenient, as well as politically expedient, to kick Mr. Wright to the curb.
The same thing happened to Van Jones who was appointed by Mr. Obama to head the newly created position of Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Mr. Jones became embroiled in a controversy over his political past that included a public comment disparaging congressional Republicans. Conservatives launched an aggressive campaign against him and Mr. Jones resigned from that political post just a few short months later. Way to support your supporter.
What happened to the organization formerly known as ACORN is a crying shame. ACORN no longer exists because of the outright distortions that were attributed to it. A video is made showing an ACORN worker talking to an undercover conservative posing as a pimp about utilizing government assistance in order to get a house where he can run a brothel. Based on one video out of one office the Obama administration allows ACORN to be banned from receiving any federal assistance and the agency crumbled and crumbled hard.
The former White House Social Secretary Desirée Rogers was at the center of the controversy surrounding the Salahis, a couple who managed to crash a state dinner hosted by President Obama in honor of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The Secret Service ultimately took the blame for the failure after members of the House Committee on Homeland Security voted against issuing Ms. Rogers a subpoena. But shortly thereafter, Ms. Rogers resigned the position. Although it was reported that the decision to leave was Ms. Rogers’ to make alone, the White House quickly named her successor in time for the next state sanctioned party.
These are the more high profile resignations and stiff arming from Mr. Obama and his administration. There are others for sure. But one thing I do notice, it seems to happen a lot to people who once called themselves close friends to Mr. Obama and his family. And the example of ACORN is one of many exceptions. But considering that this was a community oriented organization, you’d think Mr. Obama, a man with a history of being a community organizer, would be more compassionate and willing to stand up for this institute. Instead, Mr. Obama manifest the type of behavior more associated with the proverbial phrase” don’t let the door hit you where the good lord split you.”
With such disregard for any type of loyalty to his closest supporters is it really surprising to see so many supporters abandon Mr. Obama and consequently the rest of the Democratic Party? At the first sign of trouble, Mr. Obama runs like a political Scooby-Doo that heard his partner Shaggy say he just saw a ghost. No investigation necessary. Just put those feet in high gear and sort out the details long after any hint of danger is gone. If Mr. Obama can turn tail at the first sign of trouble from any of his supporters, especially the ones closest to him, it would only be karma if his supporters turned tail and ran from Mr. Obama.
A week ago, when I heard what was happening in Massachusetts in the Senate race to replace long serving Senator Ed “Ted” Kennedy, I really had to shake my head in disgust. State Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democrat, was running against conservative State Senator Scott Brown. It was in the bag for Ms. Coakley. I think I heard an estimate that said she was leading in the polls by more than twenty points early in the campaign. The odds of a Senate seat long hold by Democrats falling into Republican hands seemed about as likely as a snowball surviving hell. So what did Ms. Coakley do? She counted her chickens before they roosted. She went on vacation while Mr. Brown continued to work and chipped away at her lead and managed to surpass. The chances of anybody finding a more appropriate political example of the tortoise and the hare are about as likely as that proverbial snowball.
Ms. Coakley’s campaign tried to recover. They tried to talk sports. It was pretty obvious Ms. Coakley had no idea what she was talking about when she accused high profile Brown supporter Kurt Schilling of being a Yankee’s fan. They tried to refocus people’s attention away from issues that highlighted Mr. Brown’s strong suit. But too late they realized Ms. Coakley really was a poor candidate without much in the way of her own strong suits. And then, out of a sense of desperation, they reached for the hotline and called on their big gun with seconds before midnight. Mr. Obama flew into town with his charming smile blazing and pulling out all the stops, trying to inspire the Democratic base. It was all too little too late. The political landscape has changed in Massachusetts. Mr. Brown goes to Washington. Ms. Coakley can go back on vacation.
The Wednesday morning quarterbacks are working hard this morning. The election is being pitched as an early glimpse of the American people’s disapproval of the Obama administration. People are upset that terror suspects are being prosecuted in our judicial courts instead of being railroaded in a military court. People are upset that a weak healthcare bill is being foisted on the American people. People are upset that the Obama family chose a Portuguese water dog instead of a mutt from the Washington, D.C. humane society. Mr. Obama’s approval rating is running just short of fifty percent instead of the nearly seventy percent he had right after the election. We can second guess this until the cows come home.
If this is a referendum about the President and the way things are going then I’d like to add my two cents to this mix. If Ms. Coakley had stayed on the ball, kept her eyes on the prize, had not taken her ascension into the Senator’s club for granted, everyone would be singing a different tune. It is unfortunate that the impact of Ms. Coakley’s incompetence has such national repercussions. At the moment, Ms. Coakley appears to be little more than the Democrat’s version of Sarah Palin. She may not have quit her job in order to not look like a quitter, but she quit campaigning long enough to let Mr. Brown get his foot in the door. But one could hardly say that Ms. Coakley is awful and so therefore the President’s agenda is awful.
If this translates to a wakeup call for the Democratic Party, so be it. If this election is the defibrillator that restarts certain politician’s hearts, so be it. From the time Mr. Obama got into office he does his best to be cerebral and appear above the fray instead of mixing it up with people who are throwing political mud. We didn’t elect the President to be a consensus builder. We elected the President to do the job of governing this country. The President wants lead the Democrats and embrace people like Joe Liebermann who have publicly demonstrated their contempt for the Democratic Party. The President will turn the other cheek when someone boldly calls him a liar and would be more likely to have a low key beer summit than openly address issues that keeps us divided. The President is willing to compromise away the very issues he campaigned on instead of holding fast to his platform.
The conservatives are pulling out all the stops to stop the President and the Democratic Party. These are the kind of people who’ll celebrate the fact that the Mr. Obama was unable to convince the Olympic committee to have their games in Chicago. Too many people are operating as a collective to do anything to make Mr. Obama look bad. The filibuster, traditionally a tool used as a last resort, has become the mainstay of the opposition arsenal, and Mr. Obama wants to act like it is business as usual and govern like people he’s working with reasonable people. If people want to use the filibuster as a means procedural obstruction, then it’s time to put that often talked about reconciliation maneuver on the table. If people want to act a nut, then it’s time to get nutty. If this is a wakeup call, then hopefully people will wakeup.
One thing I do have to say about President George Bush was that he didn’t spend a lot of time appealing to people who didn’t care for him. If somebody called Mr. Bush a liar during his administration, I seriously doubt if that person would ever be heard from again. Conservatives know how to deal with dissension in their ranks. When former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed Mr. Obama, the conservative political machine switched into turbo mode and put the word out that Mr. Powell was no card carrying Republican. Imagine what they would have done if Mr. Powell appeared on stage with Mr. Obama or even considered being his running mate. That wouldn’t go over very big at all.
One thing I must say is that the conservatives don’t hesitate to get the job done. Consensus is nice. But in no way is it important. What’s important are results and principles, two things that liberals seem willing to compromise on these days. The fact that this administration’s agenda can be unhinged so easily by the minority in the legislature proves how weakly we are being governed. With a majority in both houses of the Congress and the White House healthcare reform should not be in jeopardy. That’s just weakness. And who wants to be governed by a weak governor?
Senate Majority Leader Democrat Harry Reid from Nevada has been exposed as the latest white politician to make an insensitive comment about a black person. A new book, Game Change, says that Mr. Reid essentially made the comment that then Democratic presidential hopeful Illinois Senator Barack Obama would be an ideal candidate because he was a light skinned Negro and had the ability to sound black only whenever he wanted. And now, conservatives are crying foul because they contend if one of their own said this, they would be deemed a racist and therefore, Mr. Reid should resign.
Okay I’ll bite. When was the last time any high profile political conservative ever expressed the slightest concern about somebody using racial slurs against a black person? Was it when Rush Limbaugh was playing that Barack the Magic Negro song? Was it when South Carolina Senator George Allen referred to the minority in the crowd at one of his rallies as macaca? Did conservatives care when a conservative bureaucrat distributed an image of all the Presidents with Mr. Obama depicted as little more than a pair of bulging eyeballs on a black background? The answers are nope, nada, and hell no.
Conservatives are accusing liberals of having a double standard. And that might be true. If liberals heard somebody like South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson, who is already on their shit list for shouting out his infamous comment calling Mr. Obama a liar during a formal address to the Congress, they’d have a totally different reaction.
But the conservatives are guilty of their own double standard. Conservatives have never expressed any concern over anyone using a poor choice of words in reference to the black community. Rush Limbaugh makes racial offenses part of his standard operating procedure on his conservative talk radio show. Way too many conservatives applaud when black people are the subject of some racist rant. It ain’t black people watching reruns of Seinfeld with Michael “Did someone say nigger” Richards, Duane “My son ain’t going to date some soulless nigger” Chapman, or Don “Nappy headed ‘ho’s” Imus. Compared to these offenders, Mr. Reid calling Mr. Obama a light skinned Negro shouldn’t even register as a blip on their offense meter.
But now that Mr. Reid is the offender, the conservatives are pulling out the stops, pointing the figure in feigned astonishment, trying to make a case on black people’s behalf. I think the last time conservatives did something specifically for blacks was when President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. And even with that gesture of racial generosity on conservative’s part, it is a matter of contention whether or not it was for the welfare of black people. A lot of white people were complaining that they couldn’t find work as long as black people had to work for free. Mr. Lincoln’s personal opinion was that no black person would ever have the same status as any white person. No doubt, Mr. Lincoln could have given a rat’s ass about black people. And that conservative mindset appears to be the popular sentiment of today.
So now a lot of conservatives want to point to liberals and cry foul and we’re supposed to take them seriously. This morning Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele wants to point his subjective finger at Mr. Reid and say if a conservative did it the liberals would be having a field day. Yes, and if a conservative did it, Mr. Steele would be on the other side of the fence as well. That’s what happens in political circles.
In the game of politics, nothing is done with fairness in mind. No decision is made with impartiality. It’s all about whatever benefits my side. Do the conservatives care what white people in high places think about the black community? No. Do the liberals give a damn about the black community? Hell no! Nobody is saying that the Democrats have the black community’s best interests at heart. Our politicians ignore every social problem that continues to plague the black community. But somehow we’re supposed to believe that Harry Reid’s comment about a black man a year ago means something to someone now.
Everybody who sits in one of those high seats of government has referred to a black person some time in their life with a derogatory racial slur. Harry Reid is definitely not the first and he certainly won’t be the last. But now Republicans want to call for his resignation. I say good luck. If it didn’t matter to them then it probably doesn’t really matter now. But in the game of politics, it’s hard to pass up a chance to score points.