Yes, you read that right.
That I'm a self-proclaimed liberal that likes Obama will not surprise anyone the Right. But they're morons, and they actually BELIEVE the RW media's nonsensical chariciture of him and have no idea what they're talking about. To them it would never occur that Obama even needs a defense from the far more will-informed and principled attacks that come from the Left. Well, Mister President, I'M YOUR MAN. I can only hope that I'm equal to the task.
Two areas in which liberals are feeling a bit, shall we say, betrayed lately are the recently enacted health care reform and the pending (and passed) energy legislation. The common explanations that I come accross that accompuy the liberal head-scratching is that President Obama is a FOOL for doing things like throwing out the public option or opening up [SOME] off-shore drilling without demanding ANYTHING from the Republicans in return for these huge concessions. I've heard every, very legitate, argument that he's pissing away all his negotiating power, and it's in the ultimate of all veign efforts since the Republicans have adopted as their official party-line policy, "Stop all things Obama and all things Democrat at ANY cost." In other words: They're calling him a fool for not only holding out hope for bi-partisanship but also for going about getting it in such an ineffective manner. Now these conclusions and these judgemenbts are perfectly valid and reasonable, except for the one thing they all ignore:
President Barack Hueissein Obama doesn't give a shit about Congressional Republicans or their uneccessary votes. Not. A. Shit. Mark my words that eveything he passes - and a lot will yet pass - under his administration will do so under a pure party-line vote, occasionally excepting Maine's Snowe and Collins. And the President not only knows this, he's counting on it. You see he's not doing ANY of this for the votes of Congressional Republicans...
He doing it for the votes of Moderate Republicans in the general public, for both his beneift and the benefit of the party.
And he's also doing it to get the entreched industries on board. It's one thing to have to deal with Republicans who dig in their heals. But they're irrelevant. They really are. But try passing health care reform if the INSURANCE COMPANIES and the MEDICAL INDUSTRY all dig in their heals; or energy legislation if BIG OIL and BIG NUKE dig in theirs. Liberals my not like the concessions but I for one do believe that they are necessary if ANYTHING is going to get done. And while the individual points and details may cause some legitimate consternation, we ARE still moving in the right direction net and net. And every judgement to the contrary, to me sounds more like someone saying that we're simply not moving in that direction fast enough. But there is a world of difference between moving in the right driection too slowly and goin full tilt in the wrong direction. Anyone who thinks that there's only a subtle difference between an Obama presidency and a hypothetical SARAH PALIN presidency (or the George W. Presdiency) for example, is a fool. In Obama's adminstration there is MORE regulation that before, MORE government involvement than before. More of everything that evcery liberal wants than there would be otherwise. In a Palin presidency, there would only, ever, be LESS, just as we saw with Bush. (And we saw the results.)
And the really beautiful part is that he's doing a lot more than just getting the necessary endorsments from the affected industries in order to got us heading the right way again. By making these concessions, and (to some extent) angering his base, the image that the RW press tries to paint of him (as some radical, communist, socialist, facsist, marxist, etc...) gets increasing incruent with reality. This only make the RW talkers seem more and more irrational, more and more out of touch and farther and farther to the right. This won't change their message of course, they've proven that much, but it will change the preception of some of those right-center moderates who increasingly will realise that these Limbaugh and Beck types simply are no longer observing reality. This will win over many moderates.
Does this win moderates at the risk of alienating his base? Is he rubbing their face in it? No, not really.. He's giving them what he can, and he giving them far more credit than the Republicans are giving the tea-baggers. At some point he must realize that liberals will vote for him, not just as the lesser of two evils, but as the WAY lesser of two evils, and even the bringer of SOME good. Again, if you say he's the same as Bush or Palin (would be), the you're simply not observing reality. And he knows that true liberals will not risk eight years of Sarah Palin over a little bit of oil, or the structure of a health care system that actually delivers. Side by side, one looks the right direction and one looks like lunacy. The left will realize this. The moderats will realize this. And the only people who see thing the other way? Are the lunatics!
Now I've mentioned that I, for one, don't feel betrayed. And I'm not actually the least bit surprised at what's happening actually. In fact, as I remember it, it's exactly the policies that he advocated for on the campaign trail. First off, I never fell for the RW nonsense. But I'm honestly not sure where the liberals got the idea that he'd be all that far to the left either. I listened to his speeches and everything he said, everything he's EVER said, just MADE SENSE to me. It was always EXACTLY what I wanted to hear him say. And what I took away from his speeches, and what I came to expect when I cast my vote for him, is playing out pretty much as I expected, though I underestimated the Republican's will to obstruct.
Obama did NOT. Yes, you read that right.
Remember: He doesn't care about getting their votes. But by giving all of these concessions, and knowing that the Republicans will dig in no matter what, he not only deprives of the ability to take credit for it, but they can't even claim credit for reigning it in. They can't even say, "Well, it worked because we made him do X" or "we stopped him from doing X." They've been the blindfolded party of 'no' from the start, will continue to be, and won't even be able to take credit for the concessions. Everything that happens will be 100% to the credit of both Obama and the Democrats. And depsite the story the press will tell, mark my words that every Democrat in the upcoming election, and in 2012, will be listing their party's accomplishments and finishing their speeches with: "AND MY OPPONENT [or his party] VOTED AGAINST EVERY SIGLE ONE OF THOSE!"
My opponent WANTS you to be denied insurance!
My opponent WANTS you to have your insurance dropped because your sick!
My opponent WANTS insuracne to be priced out of the range of most Americans!
...and, on energy:
My opponent not only wants to ignore the growing problem of climate change, but he didn't even vote to get you cheaper gas!
(Yes, yes, I know, full well, that this little bit of drilling, or indeed A WHOLE LOT of drilling will make little difference in the price of gas... But the average voter doesn't! Drill, baby, drill, remember?)
Now, at this point you may be wondering if I'm allowing Obama to just do what he thinks he needs to to get re-elected. And maybe I am. To be fair, I actually see that as a big part of a polticians JOB. But for eight long years I watched as the country went headlong in the WRONG DIRECTION. And what I FELT I was being promised - what I took away from Obama's speeches - was that the direction would change. We would not be delivered to a liberal's paradise in one term, two terms or even necessarily in my lifetime... but we would be headed in the right direction once again. And, IMHO, we are. And to me, all of the arguments from the left sound like "we're not going fast enough" rather than "we're going the same direction we were." We're not. And you're whitewashing George Bush and Dick Cheney and (hypothetcially) Sarah Palin to say that we are. And the only way we can continue to march in that direction? Is to STAY IN POWER and GET THNGS PASSED. Because one IN, it's harder to take things OUT. It's a lot easier to PASS laws than REPEAL them. And thus, we progress.
As for energy? Hey: He SAID he'd drill. He SAID we need more oil. I remember that specifically! That was IN his speeches on energy policy! It's not his fault that both the Right and the Left took that about as seruiously as they did McCain's
And if anyone still thinks he should have gotten some Republican concessions out of it? Remember: He doesn't need them, and more importnatly: He doesn't even WANT them. We'll get the good stuff he proposing, AND we'll even get some oil resources developed - proving to right-leaning moderates that you don't have to kill the economy to get renewable energy, BTW - and, once again, the Democrats will be able to take all the credit for it. And what he's got now is an oil industry that will resist these changes that much less, and have that much less to go after him with. And if you think that he could have just forced some radical liberal agenda though? (1) You're just not being realistinc about the COUNTRY and how things are done; and (2) you mustn't have heard the same speeches I did, in the same way I did. Because drillign was ALWASY part of his ebnergy plan, and it's one of the reason I LIKED it.
He's no fool, politically speaking. If anything, he's far closer to "evil genius" than Karl Rove ever was. (Except that he's using his powers for GOOD!) And the Republicans are doing EXACTLY what he wants them to.
Now, could I be wrong? Hells yes I could be! And in two years time, I may sound just like those fools who were still defending George Bush well into 2007, saying that everything was going according to some secret grand master plan. Well... WE sure as hell didn't see the plan! And history has shown that there really wasn't one. Rove wasn't a genius and Bush didn't assemble the "dream team." Those were media concoctions. And the policies just plain FAILED, just as we knew they would.
THIS time around? I actually SEE the plan. And I actaully LIKE the policies that are coming out of it, and I look forward to seeing the Democrats USE these while the Republicans keep trying to argue against progress.
NOTE: This is a post about LEADERSHIP, NEGOTIATING and STRATEGY. So PLEASE keep your comments on THAT topic and give me another day to pull together my position piece on energy legislation. You can savage my defense of oil - and NUKE! OMFG! - then.