Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Fellow Democrats

What a bunch of hypocrites we are. For weeks, which have turned into months, a cacophony of criticism and cynicism has grown to deafening proportions. HE's weak, HE hasn't done what he promised, HE's no more than another Bush, and so on and so on ad nauseam. If we don't play my way, I'm gonna take my ball and go home.

Ah, but as the fair winds blow, so do the pissers and moaners. Last night HE gave one hell of a speech and now it's all kissy, kissy. We love him when he's perfect and we abandon him when he most needs his supporters, fickle and otherwise. Politics is a game, but it isn't a ballgame where a field goal can be accomplished in a matter of minutes or a baseball player can hit a home run every time he steps up to the plate.

Last night I watched as a once very young man stepped up to another kind of plate. The exhaustion was discernible in the shadows under his eyes. The strain of the times was evident in his face. And for the first time since I've been listening to him, he hesitated and stumbled over the words on several occasions.

But in the end, it was a smart speech. It was a humble speech. It was a strong and decisive speech. Did I philosophically agree with everything he said? No, but that's the nature of the beast. Do I think he's grown in the office? Yes. Do I think he's learned and matured? Yes. Do I think he will use bad judgement or make mistakes again? Yes.

While the Democrats, including them Blue Dawgs, dutifully applauded and stood after every three sentences, Republicans were their usual discourteous and pugnacious selves. While Pelosi's face became contorted and she wiped her over-lipsticked lips, the Republicans  made a point of looking disinterested and bored until they were forced by him to look at him.

As if on cue, the Republicans nodded their heads from side to side every time the camera panned in on them. They reminded me of wooden puppets who's strings were being pulled from left to right. McConnell sneered and Grassley slept. McCain wore his usual know-it-all sarcastic expression. Joe Lieberman? Well, what can I say about that scoundrel that hasn't already been said a thousand times?

This brings me to the one big difference of opinion I have with the president. Why try to form a bipartisan coalition when the Party of No is more interested in playing obstructionist than they are in working for the welfare of the people and in the best interests of the country?

But, although I don't agree with him on everything, President Obama is still my president. I do not expect him to do everything the way I think it should be done nor do I expect things to be done overnight. He is a smart man, a man who genuinely cares about the welfare of this country, and a man who I think is fundamentally ethical and honest.


  1. This is why those of us that are angered or disapppointed with the way President Obama has tried to conduct business:

    "This brings me to my one big difference of opinion I have with the president. Why try to form a bipartisan coalition when the Party of No is more interested in playing obstructionist than they are in working for the welfare of the people and in the best interests of the country?"

    We all understood this within two months of President Obama taking office. I hope he is sincere in abandoning this approach.

    Comprimise is what you do when you're losing. Real health care reform was doomed when Olympia Snow was pandered to in the finance committee meetings. Sucking up to LIEberman and Nelson put more nails in the coffin. That showed the republicans the end result didn't matter. It made them strong when they should have been the ones begging for a seat at the table.

  2. Truth, I really don't disagree with on what a disaster this hope for non-partisanship has been. And this Republican Congress has been the worst ever, I think. But I would like you or anyone else to give me the name of a president or governor you agreed with 100% of the time. Granted, this was a huge and costly mistake but let's just hope he's learned.

  3. A major criticism of Bush was his making a wrong decision, sticking with it and refusing to admit he was wrong.

    While the bailout were not originally Obama's policy he supported it and made it his policy. He supported what was best for Wall St and his campaign contributors rather than the American people.

    And he still insists he was right.

    I'm not turning on the guy.I never liked him. He is what he is. A pro-Wall St centrist who has a good speaking voice and happens to be half-Black.

  4. This isn't about agreeing with the President 100% of the time. This was about his supporters doing what we do to get him on the right track.

    I hope with last nights speech President Obama takes a new approach to dealing with the republican obstructionists. Make them come to him.

  5. I have never been angry or disappointed by Barack Obama...

    I think he is one great guy and I would love to sit down to a conversation with him and Michelle...


    How come the Democrats don't have a Dick Cheney, a Tom Delay, or a Dick Armey...

    The Democratic Caucus looks like the Recreation Room of some nursing home...

  6. I've thrown my barbs at Obama as of late (guilty as charged). I do believe that he is a good guy at heart, has the interests of the American people in the forefront of his mind and is generally more honest than most politicians. But, the back door deal with Big Pharma, the bipartisanship that's got us stuck in a quagmire, the wars and Gitmo, need to stop. Grow a pair, and I'll throw my whole being behind him.

  7. Leslie.. I will post here what I commented on my blog to Truth..

    He can't, I repeat... HE CAN"T stop holding his hand out to the Republican's... as much as I and some of you would like for him to. We are a small minority of people. The majority want the parties to work together... they want BiPartisanship. Therefore he has to hold his hand out no matter how many times he gets it slapped back.... By doing so it shows that he is on the Correct side of the fence and the Republicans are on the wrong side.

    That does not make him weak, it does not make him bad, it makes him a good leader, and them look like the idiots and obstructionists they are.

    Also I said this later..

    But I don't think he is kissing up to them.. He just has to make it appear he is holding out the olive branch in public, and they are rejecting it.. He has to take the high road in order to be the better person. That's just how he is... You can't change that no matter what.. That is his core value.

    It only makes them look small and petty by rejecting and obstructing and the people will see this if we keep pointing it out.. instead of complaining about the President.. That is my point. Comparing him to Bush, saying he is weak by doing so... saying he is not getting anything done when he is... that's not helping... pointing out the lack of reaching back by the Rethugs.. and pointing out their lack of even trying to work with him is the answer...

    That's what we need to be doing... All you are doing by putting down the president is feeding into what they want. You are just helping them gain the upper hand... everytime you do or say anything against him you gain another vote for them to take back the Congress and the White House.. Is that what you want to do?

    I know it is against the grain to think about reaching out.. but he has to as the President... NO matter what... Bill Clinton did it even during the Impeachment process... George Bush didn't ... and look at how they are rated as President's by the people now...

  8. This speaks volumes..Annette said..Obama holding out his hand to repubs:"That does not make him weak, it does not make him bad, it makes him a good leader, and them look like the idiots and obstructionists they are". Obama holding the olive branch and rethugs turning their backs, HAS to show their ignorance and what we can expect from them in the next 7 years. They are irrelevant.

  9. I believe in the President. I may disagree with him on certain policy choices or tactics, but at no point have I ever hoped that someone else were in his place. He is working with an opposition party that is hell bent on his failure to the detrement of the American people. The pace of progress is at times certainly frustrating, but there can be no doubt that the alternative would have been much, much worse.

    Democrats are a big tent party. That means that there are a lot of views encompased within. That is a strength of the party, not a weakness. When you observe the monolith that is the modern Republican party, it is encouraging to know that there is a place where having an opposing view or opinion is not considered blasphamy.

    Progressive, liberal, moderate and even conservative views can all coexiest within the Democratic party. It may not be pretty in the short run, but it makes for better policy decisions in the long run. There is a lot of moaning and groaning in the party out of frustration, but I don't honestly believe that the fundamental belief in the competency of the President is any less than it was when he was inagurated. The giddyness of the election may have passed, but the reality of governing requires a different mindset. People still believe in the genuine honesty and intelligence of the President. There are always going to be disagreements over policy in a party that harbors as many viewpoints as does the Democratic party, but I think ultimately, President Obama is the person that most would trust to try and carry out their agenda.

  10. I liked the way Obama stuck it to the Senate, not once, not twice, but three times. He mentioned the House passing legislation (jobs bill, energy bill, and something else), and then called on the Senate to do the same. He was saying, "Hey Senate, get off your ass and do something -- like the House. Quit your f**king around!"

  11. I'm glad the Democrats don't have a Dick Cheney, a Tom Delay, or a Dick Armey... I would rather see them out of power for decades than have people like that under their roof.

  12. I don't know, Holte. I would prefer that the Dems had a Harry Truman type in their corner. Some one honest but tough. Manipulative, too. How about a Putin?

  13. Oso: "He is what he is. A pro-Wall St centrist who has a good speaking voice and happens to be half-Black."

    I think the man has a lot more substance than that. I don't know about pro-Wall St. but I don't think that being a centrist is necessarily a liability by itself. I'd probably use pragmatic with a little wiggle room. Being a good speaker is a good thing and refreshing after the last eight years of non-speak. But his attributes go much deeper than that. Being half-Black has nothing to do with anything and sounds about half-racist.

  14. Truth: You and I are on the same wavelength re bipartisanship. But didn't he mention forming some kind of bipartisan panel? I remember my heart contracting.

    TAO: "The Democratic Caucus looks like the Recreation Room of some nursing home...

    Are You referring to the Old Fart's Club? It should be bipartisan because the Dems have more than their fair share of geezers.

    Lisa G: The lady with the priceless wit and thank God for it. Was it Congress or Obama that made a deal with the Pharmas? The last I heard he's moving to get us out of Iraq. Maybe we don't like Afghan but it should have come as no surprise. Hopefully, we'll get out in 2011 but war has a strange habit of f*king up the best laid plans.

    Annette: Bipartisanship was a noble cause which he's earnestly tried to achieve for a year. It hasn't worked and it never will work given the current makeup of the Republican Party. It's time to say, screw you folks, and move on. Or absolutely nothing will get accomplished. Anymore of appearing to hold out the olive branch will appear weak.

    Sue: Ditto.

  15. MyCue: Excellent comment - probably because I agree with it. Yeah, I think we need a new slogan: Win With Diversity.

    JC: I like the way he stuck it to the Senate, the Sumpreme Court and the Republicans and the whole world was watching.

    Holte: Wise words. We don't need scum like that. We have enough problems as it is.

    Vigilante: Truman's my man but he did things people didn't agree with. Even having the balcony added to the WH caused a stink. Dropping the A-bombs wasn't very popular either.

  16. And thanks everyone for your truly interesting comments, ideas and observations. I hope you continue coming back.

  17. Holte,

    To truly govern you have to have someone who can 'count' the votes and who understands their caucus well enough to ensure that legislation can be passed.

    That invovles horse trading.

    Everyone in the Senate knew that healthcare reform was very unique bill and the last thing that bill needed was what was given to Nelson and Landieu...

    A good leader in the senate would have gotten their support by threatening them with cuts in Agriculture or some other bill that they benefit from.

    Reid cannot do that....that is a big part of the problem with the Democrats in the Senate.

    No one can act surprised at the anger that the Americans have right now; no one can say they did not know that Americans would get angry at the drift and inability of Congress to get anything done that benefits Americans or at the disgust Americans have toward all the earmarks and special interests favors that everything in Washington involves.

    It should not surprise anyone that Americans are viewing TARP and all of that as gifts to Wall light of the fact that Wall Street has not changed their behavior.

    Yet everyone in Washington is actting like all of this is catching them by surprise!

    Barack Obama did not campaign as a moderate or a conservative...he was, in fact very liberal and the American people knew that.

    It wasn't like anyone should be surprised at Fox News and all the crap they are stirring up...

    Obama said he was going to raise taxes, he said he was going to spend money, and he made it quite clear where he stood on abortion and gay rights...

    The real anger in this country isn't directed at Obama or what he has done...its directed at Washington and what they haven't done!

    They have yet to enact one bill that doesn't look like something the Republicans would have enacted.....

    Earmarks, special favors for special interests, and carve outs...

    Its all the same ol' same ol' and Americans voted for change....

  18. "It should not surprise anyone that Americans are viewing TARP and all of that as gifts to Wall light of the fact that Wall Street has not changed their behavior."

    No surprise at all. Hardly anyone liked it back in the fall of 2008...except for Congressional Democrats, Obama, McCain, Palin along for the ride, and Bush who signed it. Otherwise, rather unpopular among the "rest of us" on the left AND right.

    "Obama said he was going to raise taxes, he said he was going to spend money, and he made it quite clear where he stood on abortion and gay rights..."

    He did on abortion, but he weaseled and tried to have it both ways on the gay marriage thing. Remember, he campaigned saying he was opposed to gay marriage:

    "once Obama was elected, and once a gay couple in California had sued to overturn DOMA, his Administration not only defended the law, but defended it in a legal argument so reactionary that it would embarrass Dick Cheney (who, incidentally, is to the left of Obama on marriage)."

  19. Ah, yes the cynical reality of politics...

    Lets see, very few Republicans supported TARP...why? Well, not due to principles but rather due to politics. They were the minority party in congress during the time TARP was being debated and even though they were the majority during the time that the reason for the bailout was created they didn't have to own up to that.

    So, the dumbass Democrats run around all crazy because they realize that once again, the Republicans have them stuck between a rock and a hard spot.

    Should have done what Clinton did with Gringrich...played chicken and wait the Republicans out...

    As a democrat I would have not done a thing until the Republicans put a proposal together which all of them supported (you made the mess now tell us what we have to do to clean it up).

    Yes the "Obama Administration" which is not the same thing as "barack Obama" and you know it had to defend existing laws, as DOMA was...

    Which makes you just like Dick Cheney....he can stand anywhere he wants on the gay rights issue because he knows it is of little consequence....he is just a hatchet man for the party not a policy maker.

  20. TAO - Agree with you about Reid, although he has reputation for horse trading, I don't see "leader" when on camera. I would prefer if Democratic leaders had a smidge of humanity, as opposed to the Cheney, DeLay types.

  21. Vigilante: Some one honest but tough. Manipulative, too. How about a Putin?

    Someone who would spike the Republicans' food with radioactive poison? Well, that's certainly thinking outside the box.

    TN-Lib: Dropping the A-bombs wasn't very popular either.

    Mot with the Japanese, I suppose. It was pretty popular here, subsequent revisionism notwithstanding.

    Seriously, I basically agree with the post. There's a difference between legitimate criticism of political leaders and the attitude that says, because he hasn't done the politically impossible, he's not worth supporting at all and we should vote for a third candidate or stay home. That's what the Republicans want us to do.

    Obama made it clear when he was campaigning that he wanted to overcome the left-right division rather than govern from the left. Anyone could see that this stance was going to make real change much harder to achieve. I supported Hillary because I wanted someone more ideologically committed. But Obama won and, despite the flaws in his approach (the bipartisanship is by choice, not just political necessity), he has done a huge amount of good under horrendously difficult conditions. Large Republicans gains on Congress this year, or a Republican President in 2012, would be an absolute disaster, and we must not forget that, even when Congress or Obama don't deliver as much as we hope for.

    Most of the current problems would not have arisen were it not for the undemocratic Senate rules which require 60 votes and thus empower the losing party. Those rules have been changed before (ending a filibuster took 67 votes until 1975) and can be changed again.

    In the meantime, yes, we should encourage our side to do better, but never forget that it is our side.

    Whenever you feel frustrated with Obama, keep repeating the phrase "President Palin" or "President Huckabee" until reality sinks in.

  22. "Lets see, very few Republicans supported TARP...why? Well, not due to principles but rather due to politics."

    Regardless, kudos to them.

  23. Leslie:

    I read your post and all the comments this morning, but have been tied up all day. All were thought-provoking.

    Good for you for being so candid. One of the reasons I gave up my blog was not the attacks on Obama from the right, but those leveled by the left. Democrats seem to shoot themselves in their collective foot.

    I hope I remember the right comments without going back through them: I agree with Annette and MyCue.

    I imagine one of the first thoughts Obama had when he first walked into the Oval Office as president was: “I am president of all Americans.” What a job that is! George W. Bush was never president of all Americans, catering solely to his conservative bases. Frankly, I prefer a president of all Americans, and I think that, more than bipartisanship, is motivating him.

    To zero in on another thoughts, we here in the South have an expression, “Whole hog or nothing.”

    A few months back, Dennis Kucinich voted against an energy bill in the House. I went to his Web site to find out why and found that he had listed ALL his reasons for not voting for it. They weren’t so much reasons as they were Kucinich’s DEMANDS. He wanted it ALL, and he wanted it RIGHT NOW.

    Someone pointed out that change doesn’t happen overnight and takes time. I saw an article a few days ago where Democratic strategist Paul Begala said he had been asking everyone to support healthcare reform as is, “and now,” he said, “I’m begging you.” His point is: it’s not the whole hog, but it’s better than nothing.

    Since I could only listen to the SOTU, thank you (and others) for the word pictures of the Republican reaction. I agree they probably looked very foolish on camera. Obam made fools of them, and he did it with grace, finesse and facts. I understand that even when he gave indisputable facts, they were shaking their heads “no.”

    Obama didn’t make a great speech with memorable quotes for the ages, but he made a good speech touching all the salient points, and I detected spunk. As a Washington Post headline read, he was “rough, tough and undaunted.” Good for him!


  24. BJ: Thank you for taking the time to write all your good thoughts. I've commented before that we Democrats tend to be a little spoiled - and we are - but I think a lot of us are just plain immature.

  25. Ah, well JC, I'm not sure I can answer that. : )