President Obama on Debt Ceiling Negotiations; My Reaction/Rant

Friday, July 29, 2011

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.