The Fight Begins Anew

Joe Nocera is right on today. This is the saddest day of self-inflicted pain on the United States in memory. Obama may claim it was a compromise, though when Boehner can say he got 98% of what he wanted, you understand what the president counts as compromise. Nocera is right that it is truly stunning how much the Democrats caved on; even an extension in unemployment benefits. If you wanted to design a plan to further destroy our economy, you would be hard pressed to do better than the plan passed through congress.
So what do we do now and where do we go from here? Well, here’s how I feel today. We know now that Obama does not have our back, the people’s back. Either he agrees with the Republican position that cutting spending in a recession makes sense, or he simply doesn’t have the fight in him or the leadership ability to battle the extremists. He could have invoked the 14th amendment, he could early on have threatened a veto of anything but a clean debt ceiling raise, as we’ve always had in the past. He could have insisted on tying a debt ceiling raise to the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy back in December.
Jon Stewart found a damning piece of video from a press conference in December where a reporter asked Obama that very thing; if you don’t tie the tax cut extension to a raise in the debt ceiling, won’t that give the Republicans leverage when that fight comes in the summer? Obama looked puzzled and just replied, what do you mean it will give them leverage. In hindsight, it is the most clueless he has ever looked. It doesn’t really matter if he agrees with the Republicans or is an inept leader, the result is the same. So, for now I say, let him run for reelection on his own. He’s already getting more bundled money from Wall Street than he did in 2008, so he doesn’t need us, and he’s now shown we don’t need him.
What may be likely to happen, given Citizens United, is that the Chamber of Commerce and the Koch brothers and their ilk will spend enough millions to brainwash enough Americans into believing that the tea party really has our interests at heart and that everything bad that has happened is Obama and the Democrats fault. That could happen, and they may have overplayed their hand, making things so bad that even the best most expensive propaganda won’t be able to convince people what they see before their eyes isn’t reality.
Our only hope now is to work hard in congressional races, and get the Democrats a majority in both houses of congress, and to increase the number of members in the progressive Democratic caucus, while reducing the number of tea party members in Congress. Make Boehner a one term Speaker, and marginalize Cantor. And somehow find a way to keep the senate.
As some have pointed out, the big fight will come in the lame duck session at the end of 2012, when all of this hits the fan. The Bush/Obama tax cuts are set to expire, and the new super committee has to agree on cuts to avoid the trigger of automatic cuts. Oh, and in January 2013 the debt ceiling will need to be raised again. Fun times ahead.
But our future is at stake. If we don’t kick the Republicans out of congress in 2012, it really does appear that America’s days as a great nation, however you want to define it, will be at an end, and third world America will be well on the way to being our reality. We are already the most unequal society in terms of wealth on the planet, and we’re moving even farther in the direction of inequality. We may be at our last chance to pull back from the brink.
Maybe I’ll feel better tomorrow, though at the moment it’s hard to understand how or why. And yet, they want us to be cowed into doing nothing. So, we must dig deep and fight on.

About JP

We're two guys who met in college, in 1980. We've stayed in touch, and like to talk politics, current events, music and religion. JP is nore liberal than Sid, but not in every way. We figure that dialogue stimulates ideas, moderates perspective, and is in general friendly. These are things we need badly in these dangerous times. The blog name is taken from a song by Bruce Cockburn.
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