Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Confession: I Know Squat about Politics

I cannot remain silent on this day of epic moral victory for lovers of freedom and the theory implicit in the American experiment that freedom includes the right to be different, even despicably different in the eyes of some.

Barak Obama signed the law 86ing DADT about an hour ago. It is a moral and political victory for the President and quite an achievement getting this law passed and signed against forceful and irrational opposition.

I must confess, however, that the president's brand of political consesus building was difficult to endure the past few months in the face of exceedingly vile, extremist right wing diatribes aimed at him. First, he came across as weak. Second, he came across as being a back-door deal maker, the kind of thing he campaigned against, and which the Republicans lambasted him for, even as he was caving in to their demands. Oh, how I wished someone would have just given it right back to them. In your face Mitch McConnell. Someone like ... Hillary Clinton?

But in politics, the proof is in the pudding. The echoes from the bully pulpit fade away, but the ink drying on the page is permanent! I voted for Barak Obama because I thought he would be a uniter and a consensus builder. I got what I WANTED! And then about 7 months into his term, I didn't really want it anymore. Instead, I wanted someone who would step on some toes and speak up against the unconscionable obstreperousness of the conservative wing of the Republican party (which is now 90% of Republicans it seems).

But Barak Obama didn't do that. He kept his head down and worked, worked, worked for the end goal. Meanwhile Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, slapping themselves on the back and crowing about their mandate, mistook the bully pulpit for actual political work. 3 weeks ago it looked like DADT repeal was DOOMED. But today? It's like a rabbit from a top hat. Obama delivered big-time. He'll have my vote for a second term. Not only am I glad I voted for him the first time around, I'm glad he stuck fast to his principles and didn't get involved in tit-for-tat childish, churlish screaming matches that could have ensued had someone else spoken from a strictly emotional point of view. The Republicans have been doing that now for 2+ years, after having decided that they'd done enough soul searching after the 2008 election. What has it got them? Tax breaks for the wealthy that will be repealed as soon as everyone realizes that continuing them will bankrupt the country. When push comes to shove, what will fall? Tax breaks for the top .001% of the population, or Social Security for millions? I'm banking on the former.

1 comment:

Steve Will said...

Well said, Michael.

When we look back on what our President has accomplished in just half a term, it's quite eye-opening. People who are too impatient haven't given him enough credit for working the political system at the speed at which it is built to run.

He promised more consensus, and consensus requires compromise.