Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ted Rall: We Need a Revolution

Cartoonist Ted Rall sounds off on the tenor of these pre-revolutionary times and presidential leadership: "We need an FDR." Or an RFK. Although Woodrow Wilson was a racist, I've sometimes wondered whether President Obama's temperament, his practical idealism, if not his somewhat passive leadership style well-suited to an ivy league college professor and intellectual, bends in Wilson's direction. Interestingly, both presidents share the unique bond of being Nobel Peace Laureates while in office.

Woodrow Wilson could have been speaking directly to President Obama when he said, "If you want to make enemies, try to change something," and "I have long enjoyed the friendship and companionship of Republicans because I am by instinct a teacher, and I would like to teach them something." In the first instance, both leaders underestimated the difficulty of adopting sweeping change: Wilson, in his failed attempt to get the Senate to ratify the League of Nations, and Obama, in his "miscalculation" of the degree of opposition to healthcare reform. Perhaps President Obama has overlearned the lessons of history in his implacable quest to find "areas of common ground" and compromise with Republicans, given that historians polled in 2006 "cited Wilson's failure to compromise with the Republicans on U.S. entry into the League as one of the 10 largest errors on the part of an American president."

However, the areas of disagreement would not have compromised core principles of either party, unlike today's Republicans, that are polarizing, righ-of-center to extreme right wing, and ideologically disciplined to vote NO en masse on any policy initiative of the President's. This crop of Republicans has found a winning strategy in opposition to anything short of total capitulation by this President, whose stubborn insistence on seeking to compromise has contributed to a mangled Democratic message and historic losses in the House. Now, as former Senator Russ Feingold said, "It's on to 2012!" If we don't break out in revolution between now and then:

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