Friday, January 29, 2010

State of the Disunion

Well, I made my prediction, and it didn't pan out. This is why I don't gamble at the race track. Or at the casino. Or anywhere, for that matter. (Except, one day, I hope, the stock market.) Looks like the freeze on government spending is not being done as a reciprocal countermeasure to the likely failure of healthcare. Instead, the President openly scolded the Republicans for requiring 60 votes in the senate to get anything done. I'm sure that they'll lose plenty of sleep over that chiding for weeks to come. (Not!)

Oh, there were some bi-partisan moments. Like when Obama supported the building of new nuclear power plants. Both sides cheered. That's something I've backed on this blog, too. Our President also pointed out that even if one doubts climate change, the transition to cleaner energy is the right and necessary thing to do, and this also got bipartisan cheers.

Say, I wonder if they might actually be reading this blog?

Still, for the most part, I noticed the same sort of partisan lack of cheering for stuff that should be universally endorsed, making me recognize that there really isn't going to be much bipartisanship. Because, of the Republicans currently in office, there isn't a single Obamacan among them. Not one! And that's amazing since it was arguably the Obamacans who got our President elected. So where did they all go? Well, they're still there, but it seems they just haven't been elected yet. I hope some of them do get elected, because that's the only way any deadlock is going to get broken. I hope some sitting Republicans get challenged by some more centrist Republicans and get defeated.

It wasn't too long ago when being Republican didn't necessarily mean you were a conservative. Nor did it mean you were a liberal if you were a Democrat. There used to be a lot more crossover. And it pays to remember that Abraham Lincoln, the founding father of the GOP, was quite liberal, while William Jennings Bryant, the creationist conservative battle-axe who prosecuted the Scopes trial, was a Democrat. It would be nice to see the days return where people could disagree, yet still listen to and comprehend the views of the other side. Right now, it seems that sitting Democrats, especially our President, have that ability, while Republicans don't. Eventually, that closed mindedness will cost the GOP dearly, but at the cost of everyone.

Yes, it was one hell of a State of the Union speech, and one which illustrates two things: One, we have the right President for the job. And two, we have the wrong congress! It's as if you put Peyton Manning in as quarterback of a high school football team, and then tried to win the Superbowl with it. Can't be done. We've got a general, but an army of stumblebums who think that they're generals, too. 2/5ths of them want our President to fail, fuck all of us.

Just for the sake of discussion, let's say they succeed. Let's say that they derail all of Obama's plans, and he loses re-election in 2012 because he couldn't get the job done. Is that really anything but a Pyrrhic victory? And what about the aftermath? Obama is such an iconic and intelligent leader, that losing with him in the Oval Office would feel much the same as the Patiots failing to go to the Superbowl after a 16-0 season! It would ignite a pro-liberal backlash the likes of which have never been seen before. I would seriously hope that's not the future conservatives are boneheadedly aiming for.

Simple formula: The president succeeds, we all usually win. The president fails, we all usually lose. That's why, even with George W. Bush in office, the President had my respect and support. One may disagree with him (and I did!), but damn it all, he's President. So the best strategy for our nation is this, if you happen to be conservative:

Let Obama win some legislation!

You know, the best achievements of both Democrats and Republicans came when there was a Democratic President, Bill Clinton, and a Republican Congress. We could do with that again.

Of course, back then, the Republicans in office were young, idealistic members of the Contract With America, which brought about a sweeping breath of fresh air and fresh thinking. These guys were just the sort of mavericks brave enough to balance a budget and boost an economy. They were good people.

And let's be honest: What today is the Conservative movement, the neocons of today, are largely the aftermath of those brave people who DIDN'T march in lockstep with party leadership. They are the wishful memory of what once was. They look back to those days, not realizing that it was their LACK of partisanship which made them great! It was their centrist thinking which was their primary strength.

Today, there's very little left of those brave souls. The ones who were elected took a pledge of self-imposed term limits, because they believed, quite rightly, that a two-term limit was enough for Congress -- that career politicians make poor choices. The ones who are still around today from that movement are there precisely because they took that two-term pledge and pitched it out the window, which lets us know how much they truly valued their promises then. Or now.

We need a new Contract With America. Both Conservative and Liberal. Republican and Democrat. Let's get some new, fresh faces in there. Let's impose a two-term limit on Congress members. Because right now, we've got a bunch of stodgy old farts who care more about party loyalty than about American loyalty, and it's killing us.

Eric

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