Levees Not War
“The mission here is not accomplished.”

Talkin’ to You, Barack (and You, America)

10/2/10

Yesterday’s piece “The Silence of the Dems” was originally meant to introduce some choice excerpts from a tough, hard-hitting post by our friend Pat at Hurricane Radio titled “Why the GOP Is Going to Win in November.” We do not concede that heavy losses are inevitable, but here’s why Dems are in such trouble. Be sure to read the piece in full—we’ve filed it under “Rants We Wish We’d Written”—but first, as a warm-up, here are some heavy punches. (Might this be a fitting post on the weekend Rahm Emanuel leaves the White House? You decide.)

“Why the GOP Is Going to Win in November”

You get elected with a mandate for change, and then proceed to make minor, incremental changes that your political opponents use to cast you as a communist. . . .

You withdraw, expecting blind support from your own side while leaving the debate to your political opponents, because you think if you are nice to them, they will stop acting like lunatics. You think that the American people will turn in disgust from their lunacy without you having to do anything, even though that flies in the face of every historical indication of American culture.

You allow revisions of the last 10 years of history to go unchallenged. . . .

On policy, you step back while the Pelosi/Reid situation in Congress gives us a politically disasterous, confusing and meekly submitted stimulus; a confusing health care plan that removes the majority of real progressive reform; Gitmo remains open, and the plan to actually bring the terrorists to trial has faltered; we double down in Afganistan without really doing what needs to be done to win that conflict; we leave 50,000 troops and a host of defense contractors in Iraq; some of the worst excesses of the drug war and the war on terror continue unabated. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, despite broad support for repeal, remains—even politically gamed to a defense spending bill.

Let me be clear—if I have to defend the Health Care Bill because it was originally a “conservative” idea, there’s a reason your supporters aren’t up for this go-round in November. Not a single one of your opponents voted for the bill, and yet it was their think tanks that proposed most of it. One of their Presidential candidates from the last go-round made something like this happen in Massachusetts with the help of their new Senator from Massachusetts. That was basically their bill, without disbanding Medicare and Medicaid to pay for it.

That means THEY got THEIR legislation passed while THEY were in the MINORITY and NOT A ONE OF THEM VOTED FOR IT.

Almost every time THEY have complained, this adminstration, with a majority in the House and the Senate, has backtracked. And you wonder why your own voters aren’t motivated? . . .

Our nation is facing fundamental challenges. Our economy has been unsustainable for nearly a generation now, and you’re doing all you can to tinker with those changes so no one gets upset. That kind of consensus building might work when everyone is ready to accept reality and work towards real goals, but it absolutely fails when roughly half the electorate is foaming at the mouth to deny reality—and you entertain their concerns as legitimate while acting like your own supporters are the problem. . . .

How does it feel that the majority of the electorate, in 2010, is going to go to the polls to vote directly against the “change” the vast majority voted for in 2008? How does it feel knowing the majority of your supporters will stay home and let the lunatics win the day? Maybe you’ll think about that the next time you chose to leave your own supporters with their asses in the wind because you’d rather play ball with a GOP that wants nothing more than your destruction.

And you need to talk to those idiot Democrats in the House and Senate that can’t understand the term “majority.” . . .

You have to learn that there are political consequences to taking votes for granted. Don’t worry, this has been a problem with Democrats for as long as I can remember.

You have to learn that there are political consequences to letting the other side control the debate, especially when their talking points have more to do with the Land of Make Believe and Playing Revolution than acknowledging reality. . . . You won this public debate resoundingly in 2008, so I know you know how.

The rebuke goes on a bit more and comes in for a strong landing. Check it out.

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Maybe nobody can “speak truth to power” in holding a politician accountable the way a sincere believer can. Hurricane Radio’s masthead has long held a quotation from Obama’s stirring New Hampshire primary speech, “But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope” (Jan. 8, 2008). As Pat writes near the end:

Don’t get me wrong. I still support your administration. I knew you would deliver pragmatic reforms that would leave both extremes wanting. I recognize those changes you have made, and they are the Change I Still Believe In. I remain disappointed at the changes you have not made, especially the ones that should have been walks in the park. You’ve gotten an awful lot done in two years, but a lot of it isn’t enough.

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Voting as Civic Duty (Whether You’re Inspired or Not)

But still we say that, all our disappointment and bitterness notwithstanding, all of us who don’t want a theocracy with the social safety net shredded further and all corporations even further empowered and women’s and minorities’ rights even further dishonored and degraded should and must go out and vote on November 2. Yes, friends, it can get worse. Please, even if your heart isn’t fully in it like 2008, volunteer, encourage friends and family to vote Democratic (or anti-Republican if it helps you pull the lever), and check out the Organizing for America web site to find how you can pitch in. It really, really matters.

As Digby writes at Hullabaloo:

“I am from the Stephen Colbert ‘Keep Fear Alive’ school which says that this crop of looney tunes Republicans are the most radical throwbacks we’ve ever seen and that it’s important to keep them away from the reins of power. That’s as good a reason for voting as I can imagine, so I’m not sure what more it takes. I’m sorry that we can’t all be ecstatically singing along to a Will.I.Am video this time, but these just aren’t inspirational good times. Right now it’s about stopping something very ugly and bad rather than feeling all gooey and good. And that’s an important part of politics too. It isn’t all Oprah and hugging strangers in crowds.”

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