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I’m Back! Did you Miss Me? November 4, 2009

Posted by Kate Ryan in Barack Obama, Democrats, Economy, Health Care, National Politics, Obama Administration.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

relaxed_kittenIn case any of you were wondering, my kitchen table has taken a very much-needed vacation from the blogosphere.  Thanks to all of you regular readers who stuck with me and sent messages wondering if I were sick or expired.  Obviously, neither was true, but as October wore on I believed my left-wing head was going to explode.  A vacation was certainly in order.

The reason for my distress, of course, is the fact that the change I believed in seems to have turned into the same old crap dressed up like change.  The Health Care reform debate finished me off.  We want a public option, no we don’t, how about a trigger?  Well, we got Olympia Snowe, NOT!  Harry Reid says the public option is back in.  Oh, wait, he doesn’t have the votes.  Traitor Joe Lieberman is rearing his (very) ugly head.  At least the Speaker of the House supports a robust public option – oops – no she doesn’t.  She watered it down in the final bill.  Mary Landrieu supports the trigger, and Joe Lieberman will not vote to filibuster.  Oh, wait, yes he will.


There is a growing sense of frustration – not just in me, but in many Progressives, Liberals, and Independents who supported President Obama’s election just one year ago.  While we understand that it is more difficult to govern than to electioneer, but the pace of this administration has just been too damn slow.  Instead of taking the bulls by the horns and forcing the necessary changes, the Obama administration has played their agenda carefully and pragmatically.  In doing so, they have lost momentum and support.

Take health care, for instance.  President Obama should have told Congress – “I want a bill on my desk June 1st.  It has to do x, y, and z.  It has to have a medicare for all option.  It should be deficit-neutral, but that’s not the most important thing.  Do it.”  At that time, the momentum was there.  There had been no tea parties, no disruptive town-halls, no Glenn Beck.  The Republicans were in disarray and could not have mounted a strong opposition.  Had they threatened a filibuster, the time was ripe to call their bluffs.  The American people were in a mood to want this President to succeed and would have railed against the Republicans as obstructionist.  Instead, the endless delays and efforts for bipartisanship have led to a reform bill that is so weak that it is being set up to fail.  The President seems willing to accept this garbage just to check off a “win” box next to his name.

The same is true with the economy.  Everyone KNEW that unemployment was going to be a big problem.  The administration even mentioned it in the stimulus legislation.  But instead of a huge jobs bill, we got big chunks of money going to near-broke state governments that has mostly been used to prop up the state governments.  The financial bail-outs did little to get money to regular folks like you and me, in fact, many of us are feeling more squeezed than ever.  But we are expected to celebrate a 150-point rise in the Dow.  Huh?  That doesn’t pay the heat bill.

I heard one of the talking heads on TV the other day saying that the President’s sliding approval ratings are an indication that the American people believe he is trying to do too much.  Guess again.  They are an indication that he is not doing enough.   We didn’t just send Barack Obama to the White House.  We gave him majorities in Congress to ensure that stuff gets done.  We expect more leadership from this President to get his troops in line.  I hate to say it, but you have to admire the Republican’s ability to bully everyone into position.  This guy needs that kind of “cock-sucker-ness” in his circle (maybe James Carville is available).

Last night’s election results had lessons for this President and the Democratic party that I hope they will heed.  First, New Jersey and Virginia showed that if the jobs don’t come back, this party is toast.  Second, and more important, was NY 23.  Democrats are crowing that the Republican’s “ideological purity” test didn’t seem to work.  It came close, though, and had the Conservative candidate gone through a primary with  the chosen Republican, he very well may have won a district that no Democrat had ever won before.  Huge numbers of base voters turned out to vote and very nearly swung the race the other way.  By the same token, liberal and progressive base voters stayed home in New Jersey and Virginia, and handed the win to the Republicans.  

 The message of these elections, I believe, is clear.  Ignore your base at your peril.  There SHOULD be an ideological purity test for candidates.  They can run in the general elections as being moderate to attract Independent voters, but their core principles should be shared by all of them.

Great to be back!



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