We now know that the night before Barak Obama’s inauguration John Boehner, Newt Gingrich and Carl Rove had dinner to discuss how to address the financial crises and the new Democratic majority. They could have followed the path Al Gore laid out after the Supremes’ anointed Bush II President: The election is decided: now is the time to work together to solve our nation’s problems.
Boehner, Gingrich and Rove took a different path. They gave the middle finger to the American people. They figured that if they could block all progress, if they could stymie the mandate the people voted for, they could make Obama a one-term President.
The next day, Michael Steele, Chairman of the RNC, went on TV and announced the plan: No hope. No change. No compromise. No cooperation. One term.
In short: to hell with all of you. We are going to drive the economy into the ground so that in four years we can reclaim power.
Obama deserves a share of the blame as well. Economists from both sides of the aisle told him that while an $800 million stimulus would stop the economic decline in its tracks, it would not be enough to spark a recovery. For a full recovery, he was told, 1 to 1.2 trillion was needed. Obama was timid. Obama was naïve. He thought that if he kept the stimulus bellow one trillion he could garner bi-partisan support. As with the debt ceiling negotiations a few years latter, the Republican strategy was brilliant. Make a deal, go back to conference, come back saying, “no, the base won’t buy into it”. And Obama just kept making concessions, hoping for that a bi-partisan break-through that could restore sanity to the political process.
I really do not know if John Boehner is crafty or just a lousy leader. I do know that he is no “speaker” of the House – unless a sock puppet can be considered a leader. A dozen first term Tea Party Republican Congressmen now control the levers of power in Washington and everyone on both the right and the left quake in fear lest Carl Rove or Grover Norquist frown upon their actions.
At the Democratic Convention this week, one point needs to be made sterling clear: by re-electing the President the citizens of the United States of America have spoken a clear message: fuck the partisanship of the last six years. Work together. Cooperate. Compromise. Move to the middle. Cut spending and raise taxes and repair the nations infrastructure and educational system.
That needs to be this week’s message. Nothing else. Reelecting Obama means work together. It is time to cut a deal.