Obama caves-in and gives the Party of No another astounding victory against the majority of Americans declared opposition to wealthy tax cuts, those of us who expected an assertive and pro-active President are puzzled by his inept style of negotiating with himself before confronting the Republicans failed policies of more tax cuts, greed and accumulation of more money for the wealthy. Obama announced yesterday to continue to play “kick the can” with the Republicans at the expense of the middle class. It seems to me this White House does not care to or want to fight for the 84% of the Democrats who said no more tax cuts for the wealthy and no more deficit spending. This was a moment of truth for this President in the war for the soul of our Representative Republic. He failed by looking weak and incompetent. We must try to save him from his own tragic and ill-advised strategy of “rope a dope.” Maybe he just wants to be known as a nice guy. But really how many punches can you take before fighting back?
His new strategy is the one he has been taking for two years-“Let’s all just get along” with a little twist of verbal anger I will get them down the road because I am itching for a fight. I guarantee you this will not work when the Republicans see him as weak and open for the taking. We can see the Republicans governing strategy is all about defeating Obama and taking this country back to the future with more tax cuts for the wealthy and dismantling the New Deal cornerstones Social Security and Medicare.
Maybe there is another path for showing assertiveness by taking a page out of FDR’s playbook by emulating and updating the Forgotten Man speech. This Forgotten Man approach advocated “a wider, more equitable distribution of the national income” and stated “the reward for a day’s work will have to be greater than it has been, and the reward to capital (wealthy corporatist) . . . will have to be less.” The speech ends by proposing the experimentation that would become the hallmark of the New Deal: “ This country needs, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails ( like the eight years of Bush tax cuts did), admit it frankly and try another. But above all try, something.”
Two years ago, the country rallied behind a new President who promised to end the partisanship divide in America. Many of us thought Congress would be an active partner in solving problems for the American people. President Obama seemed likely to restore leadership and respect for the Presidency with his action orientated problem solving approach and pragmatic political philosophy. He was seen as a “man of the people” during the campaign and now there is some disappointment from his over selling what could be done and our high expectations for “change that we could believe in”. Little did we think he would have to deal with the party of “No” who voted against ideas and programs they use to believe in; like cutting taxes in the stimulus bill. So let’s tell the President and White House dim wits to wake up. The midterms showed that the barking dog Republicans don’t need to be fed any more soft balls. To my great disappointment President Obama in his news conference appeared to be angry with his base or anyone who might dare to criticize this shame of a negotiation. He look angry and portrayed himself as a smart and tough negotiator who was ready to do battle someday with the Republicans. His defensiveness and attack on the disappointed “progressives” was misguided and defensive. Please Mr. President stop the denial, spin and wounded animal act–Mr. Obama you can be proactive, supportive of the poor and non-judgmental and empathic without caving in to the lobbyists, bankers and industrial profiteers of the Republican party. Stand-up for the principles that got you elected and if you are going to go down at least assert your boldness and ideas that gave us all hope and promised “Change we can believe in”. Please don’t let all of us become the Forgotten Man of the 1930’s. Remember our history –“We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics. FDR, Second Inaugural 1937”