Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Momentous Decisions Ahead

Parasites in Pinstripes

Mike Krauss
Bucks County Courier Times

President Obama will not succeed in being the transformational leader who remakes American society. The wonder is that anyone thought he would. That job is beyond one person. America must remake itself.

A year after an inaugural attended by huge good will and optimism, Mr. Obama has thrown it all away and become a deeply divisive and polarizing figure against which U.S. politics is remaking itself.

In the aftermath of the election of a new Republican U.S. Senator in the Democratic stronghold of Massachusetts, neither the Democratic or Republican Party will ever be the same.

Good. As it stands now, they are both useless for the great majority of the American people, and serve only as vehicles for the domination of the federal government by shallow, self serving entrenched interests.

But while neither party will ever be the same, will either be any better?

The Democrats now face a momentous decision. (I can’t bring myself to say “defining moment.” You might stop reading. I would.)

They can shove down the nation’s throat a health care bill no one understands and most don’t trust, asserting that they know better what Americans need, deepen an already palpable level of mistrust and resentment, and hope and pray that a mountain of cash can buy the next elections. Or, they can walk away from Mr. Obama.

If they walk away, there is some hope that the next Congress can write the health care bill Americans actually want: simple, understandable by mortals, one that broadens coverage and controls costs.

And maybe they can finally get to work on jobs, shut down the war industry and tell the American people what the Fed and Wall Street did with trillions of dollars.

Call it Obama II, in which a sadder but wiser president works with the Congress in plain view of the American people to solve the problems most Americans agree need solving.

But if the Democrats double down and push the health care bill through, they will be gone.

Mr. Obama got his nose bloodied in Virginia and New Jersey, and was knocked down but not out in Massachusetts. He lost not only Independents, but many progressive Democrats who feel they were suckered. To get up off the canvas and win them back, he has to take on the entrenched interests.

Will he?

Richard Nixon once advised, “Watch what I do, not what I say.” Nixon often spoke to the right, but actually governed to the center.

Mr. Obama’s rhetoric has been a masterful mantra of every progressive, hopeful idea in America. His actions have been at best a series of retreats or bad compromises with the status quo; at worst, a sell out to the entrenched interests, almost reactionary in content.

If Mr. Obama is capable of humility and independent action, he may yet succeed in leading America forward. If he is not, the nation will drift until a new Congress or a new president sets a new course.

Hillary waits in the wings. If Obama cannot recover, she’ll pick a fight and go. James Carville has already mapped out her campaign. I can hear the ad now: “Last time it should have been Hillary. This time, it MUST be Hillary.”

For its part, while Mr. Obama has actually succeeded in doing what most thought impossible - getting all Republicans to agree on something – there is no indication that Americans are on board for anything the GOP offers, because it offers nothing – yet.

“Just say No” is a tactic, not a strategy, and is in the end devoid of ideas. And it will take ideas and not a rehash of old slogans from a failed past to attract people to a credible alternative to the Democrats on a path to the recovery of America’s prosperity and purpose as a nation.

And while the GOP is building a head of steam going into the congressional elections, they are entirely capable of throwing it away as quickly as Mr. Obama did.

Rush Limbaugh is a swollen vanity. Sarah Palin is a celebrity. That’s why Fox hired her. Neither promotes the credible problem solving that can attract independents and progressives.

If this is the collective face of the GOP, the party will make gains in 2010 on the backs of angry voters, but will not be able to forge a common agenda which a majority of Americans will support. And the nation will drift to 2012.

And as the nation drifts, the shadow government of the entrenched interests that has pulled the strings of both parties for three decades will go on sucking the life’s blood out of the American people, digging in, willing to see America collapse so long as they have the biggest chunk of whatever is left.

Their allegiance is to the global club of parasites in pinstripes. They don’t give a damn about America.

I hope Mr. Obama gets the message. I truly do. I hope the GOP sees the light. I truly do. What are the odds? We’ll know soon enough.

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