brotherpeacemaker

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Who Wants Weak Leadership?

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?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 - Posted by | Barack Obama, Democrats, Healthcare, Healthcare Reform, Life, Politics, Republicans, Thoughts

5 Comments »

  1. Interesting perspective. It will be interesting how the President and his administration react over the coming weeks to this setback.

    Comment by slamdunk | Wednesday, January 20, 2010 | Reply

  2. I think sme conservative pundits take it a bit to far when saying this is a chastisement towards the Obama administration and its policies.

    I think first and foremost it is a chastisement of congress and the way our government is and has been operating in general. While the people want healthcare reform,they dont want it in the form that is being pursued by the morons we have sent to Washington. Many want one extreme of healthcare options, and they want it now. Not an hour, a week, or a year from now, but literally right now. The other side wants things to be thought out a bit more, and refined to a more common sense form of healthcare that can be truly an American system, but improved well beyond what we have now.

    A bigger issue as well, is with the economy. It started with the last year or so of the Bush Administration and the bailout packages, and when the Obama administration pursued further stimulus, it snowballed from there. We just keep spending tax payer money on projects while the common man suffers, and that money is only making things better in the lives of those who already have fat pockets, if at all.

    But honestly, I think any chastisement is more with the legislative representatives in both houses, as most of Obama’s policies were already in the works prior to him coming on board. He just gave them a nudge to get going with things instead of the old Washington ways of talking a lot without doing stuff.

    Somedays, I think we ought to just have a lottery off the voter rolls in all the districts, and send those people to Washington for 4 years to hash it out. I seriously doubt they could mess things up anymore than they already are.

    Comment by Mike Lovell | Wednesday, January 20, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback Mike Lovell,

      I still think it’s a chastisement of Martha Coakley more than anything else. But you do have some valid points.

      People are tired of this dog and pony show. People want our politicians to work together and they do anything else but work together. And it doesn’t matter who’s in charge, when election time rolls around, people will send a message that we want what we want without excuses. I think the biggest problem we have now is that there is so much dissatisfaction with the way government is operating that soon we will be governed by people who aren’t really interested in governing but want to block the other guy from governing, hence the filibuster as an often used resource these days.

      I actually like the idea of having a lottery. The only problem is that I am truly more afraid of getting people up there who truly have no clue of what’s going on. Have you been in a jury pool lately? Imagine if some of those people were your legislator. Oh wait…I believe some of them are.

      Peace

      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, January 20, 2010 | Reply

  3. The only real democracy that has ever existed was in Athens a long time ago. Citizens were only allowed to hold any public office for one year in their entire lifetime and all decisions were made by up to 5,000 people in a auditorium. Because of the large number of meetings and the fact that this was voluntary, different people would show up for different agendas. This republic worked very well for over 200 years and failed only when overrun by pillaging hordes.

    Comment by Chris Tidman | Wednesday, January 20, 2010 | Reply

  4. I agree with some all 3 sentiments here. I feel that this was definitely a message to Coakley who was an idiot. And partially one to the legislatures. And I wholeheartedly agree that we should limit our government staff to one term and that term should not exceed two years.

    I think one year is a bit short to get anything accomplished. But, it should be revolving and encompass ALL people of the country. Not just those with enough money to bribe their way in. We are not a true democracy and the sooner we all understand this, the better off we will be in trying to fix our broken government.

    Thanks.

    Comment by theblacksentinel | Thursday, January 21, 2010 | Reply


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