President Obama on Debt Ceiling Negotiations; My Reaction/Rant

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    So, here’s what frustrates me about all this. President Obama, since the beginning of his presidency, has bent over backwards – DOUBLE backwards, actually – to reach out to Republicans, to listen to their ideas, to compromise progressive principles in order to try and get some – ANY! – Republican support for whatever he was trying to accomplish.

    And the result, time and again? The Republicans have slapped his hand away, spat in his face, kicked him in the crotch, and whatever other metaphor you care to use to describe “worked to make sure they defeated him.” What did that strategy get us? For starters, it got us a stimulus that was far too small and not structured properly to do the job, as Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has explained over and over again. Then, it got us endless delays, for no good reason, in passing a health care reform package. Then, even when we DID finally manage to pass a health care reform package, it was watered down from what it should have been (single payer – no; public option – no), and it took up half of Obama’s presidency, AND the Teapublican’ts hated it even though it was basically the Republican alternative to “Hillarycare” in 1993/1994 (including the REPUBLICAN idea of an “individual mandate”). On cap-and-trade, which was also originally a Republican idea, what did Obama get for adopting it, as opposed to the far simpler idea of a revenue-neutral carbon tax? Zip (actually, they demonized their own idea by absurdly calling it “cap and tax”)

    On and on we go. Comprehensive immigration reform? Nada. A simple increase in the debt ceiling, as has been done hundreds of times before? Nope. Political success, at least? I refer you to the results of the November 2010 elections, and to President Obama’s current Gallup poll numbers. In sum, the repeated attempt to compromise with unreasonable, extreme Teapublican’ts has gotten us two things: 1) bad policy; and 2) bad political results. I mean, how much do they pay President Obama’s political “experts” to give him this “advice?” I don’t know, but I’ll tell you what their advice is worth: ZERO.

    • Elaine in Roanoke

      When we had control of all government in 2008-2009, the President and progressives in Congress were stymied by the arcane Senate rules. As long as a filibuster is interpreted as requiring a 60-vote super majority to shut off debate and take a vote, a determined minority will keep decisions from being made.

      Cap and trade is one such effort. The House passed the bill, but it was doomed because Scott Brown(R-MA) had ascended to the seat of the late Ted Kennedy, thus “only” giving Democrats 59 seats.  

      I could go on and on. Even worse is the Senate practice of allowing a single senator to tie up a nomination or a bill with a stupid “hold.” The Senate was planned by the founders to be a deliberative body that was not meant to be “democratic” since a tiny state like Rhode Island could have the same representation as New York or Texas or California. The rules now in place worked well in the 18th and 19th centuries, even most of the 20th. They are an abomination today.

    • Marianna76

      So many people sulked out the vote. I’m ashamed to share Virginian status with Eric Cantor (puke); but I’m equally as ashamed that another Virginian who’s supposed to be on OUR side, Ed Schultz, lost leave of his common sense and repeatedly told Progressives to stay home from the midterms “to teach Obama a lesson.”

      Thanks, Ed. Boy when we produce a dud piece of fruit, it doesn’t fall far from the tree. And he’s still undermining.