THE DEFINITION OF INSANITY
"...to continue to perform the same action over and over expecting different results."
The Wall Street Journal is full of stories about the electoral smackdown endured by the President and the Democratic Party on November 2, 2010. 60 plus seats lost in the House of Representatives and 7 seats in the Senate. According to various pundits, it was a political tsunami, tidal wave, earthquake or landslide. (Jon Stewart pointed out all of these metaphors kill thousands of people each year) While some stories analyze the results, most are concerned with how the President and resurgent Republicans will get along. The punditocracy is awash with shouts of "...accomodate, knuckle under, no more business as usual, give in, capitulate." Karl Rove, Fred Barnes, David Brooks, Newt Gingrich and others offer Obama advice on how to remain relevant in the upcoming debate. Not surprisingly, they call on Obama to move farther to the center (meaning more regressive), find ways to compromise with Republicans, abandon his agenda or risk losing he re-election big in 2012. Like they really care.
For his part, President Obama is once again reverting to type. After squandering his political capital and alienating his base by trying to find even one Republican to vote with him to reform health care, re-regulate Wall Street and stimulate the economy...after giving away everything but the kitchen sink in order to chase the chimera of bi-partisanship...after abandoning a public option, real competition in health care, comprehensive reform of the banking industry and passing too little too late in the form of economic stimulus, the President is quoted today as being open to compromise on the Bush tax cuts. Here we go again. On the heels of Obama's jelly legged response, barely re-elected Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid chimes in he is open to compromise as well. Will they never learn?
Conservative and moderate Democrats, the so-called Blue Dogs, were slaughtered in the mid terms. 22 out of 53 lost their seats while only 4 out of 83 progressives were defeated. The reason why so many moderates lost is because there was no difference between them and the Republicans. They watered down health care reform, Wall STreet reform and opposed further economic stimulus. I was so please to see Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln get her walking papers. She was a political wind sock and deserved what happened to her. Yet, despite the fact progressives faired well, the President is already making noises about accomodation. He says he has been too tough on business. He says he shouldnt have been so harsh on Wall Street. He hints he might allow the richest taxpayers to continue to enjoy the lowest tax rates since 1951 at a cost of over $1 Trillion to the treasury and added to the deficit. The President has already abandoned his energy bill. Meanwhile, Republicans have announced they will oppose extensions of unemployment insurance and refuse to fund the regulatory agencies needed to oversee health insurance companies and Wall Street.
The latest polls show the highest percentage of voters wants Washington to improve the economy and create jobs. Only 8% want a balanced federal budget as a goal. It's time for the President to "man up" and lead the Democratic party and the nation. Increase taxes on the top 1% of taxpayers and put the money into research and new technology industries. Bring home the troops and cut the military budget and start rebuilding the nation's roads and bridges and electrical grid also creating jobs. Raise the capital gains tax and use the revenue to pay for more students to go to college. Fund high speed rail in key regional corridors creating immediate jobs and developing technology exportable to other parts of the world creating even more jobs. Give tax breaks to business who hire new employees. Dare the Republicans to oppose you. Confront them and force them to defend the rich and the banks and demand they produce a plan to improve the economy , create jobs and not just be the party which opposes everything.
It may not be possible for Obama to fight back. He may not have it in him. Compromising and back-filling and accomodation got him no where in the last 2 years. The American people do not give him any credit for the legislative achievements he managed and rewarded the Republicans for doing nothing but scaring people and opposing anything he proposed. The American people rewarded the Republicans for rooting for the President to fail. Why does he think it will be any different for the next two years if all he does is the same thing he has tried in the past? They say you need a fire in the belly to want to be President, someone needs to relight Obama's pilot light.