Thursday, August 18, 2011

What Would Ted Kennedy Say, And Do?

Don't you miss the LION OF THE SENATE? I do.

He was the only voice that the President of the United States would find much too difficult to ignore. What would Ted say of positions President Obama has taken that run counter to everything genuine Democrats stand for?

Here are just two examples: (1) We've already mentioned Mr. Obama's statement about unions having to "sacrifice." Where was President Obama during the concerted radical Republican assault on labor unions — savaging the salt of the earth ... teachers, firefighters, nurses, public employees — throughout the country? Not only have unions been forced to make major concessions on everything from pensions and health care to salaries, but then they were hit with a two-by-four by these scumbag Republican governors from Walker to Kasich to Scott and Christie, who have denied unions even a seat at the table.

In Wisconsin, the Democrats ousted two Republican state senators in recall elections coming to within one vote of a majority. And they have an ally in a Republican moderate senator who opposes Walker. In Ohio, after ramming Senate Bill 5 down the people's throats, that little ratbastard, scumsucking fink John Kasich is running scared. NOW he wants to "talk" to the unions about "grievances" to reach a "compromise." Ah, how so very Obama-esque.

You know what: Fuck you, Kasich. The people of Ohio are going to take this up at the ballot box and RAM IT RIGHT BACK DOWN YOUR THROAT WHEN THEY REPEAL SB5. The time for talk and compromise IS OVER. Are you listening, President Obama? Hardly. Who knows, maybe Kasich can get the President to visit Ohio in an effort to convince the unions of the error of their ways. Maybe he'll get in a round or two of golf with the Prez and his mega-rich entourage at Nantucket Island.

And (2) here's another bookend example from the same "listening tour" of presidential anti-Democratic (big "D") talk. If you haven't heard much about it, it's because at MSNBC they cover for Mr. Obama quite a bit, from Chris to the Rev Al to Lawrence. So here's the deal: President Obama is on board with COLA increases in Social Security and raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67. Considering the very real likelihood that millions of seniors will NOT have a bridge health care coverage for those two critical years, HOW MANY THOUSANDS OF THEM WILL DIE as result of this hurtful policy at precisely the time in their lives when Medicare coverage is most critical?

Shame on you, Mr. President and on each and every "Democrat" — Senator Max Baucus, mark my words, he's the President's bag man on that "super committee"— who slashes these core Democratic programs. The President made false assurances about so-called "modest" adjustments to Social Security and Medicare: "Most folks won't notice 'em." Yeah, right. Except those who are dead or too ill to make much of a fuss even if they do. Read all about it here.
"Most folks won't notice 'em."

Look who noticed ...

Proposed cuts led 33 disability groups to urge the president and Congress not to cut Social Security benefits.

Groups signing the statement included the American Association of People with Disabilities, the American Council of the Blind, the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs, Easter Seals, the Epilepsy Foundation, Paralyzed Veterans of America, United Cerebral Palsy, and a number of others.

With all due respect, Mr. President: If you've lost Easter Seals, you've lost America.
I'll say. Which begs the question: Does this President GET IT at all? With a palace guard of Valerie Jarrett, Bill Daley, and David Plouffe (with new, severe Gordon Gekko look) I think the answer is clear. Jarrett and Daley are old corporatist Chicago pols in a one-party town. Ironic considering they've advised the President to take THE TOTALLY WRONG TACK and go the "nonpartisan" route.

Bill Daley? C'mon. This dude was/is a ConservaDem wheeler-dealer in a town ruled for a good century by the Democratic Party. Daley could afford to be magnanimous and play the "nonpartisan" game in Chicago. Washington is a wholly different kettle of fish. One gets the sense they've been rolled so often by the Republicans they're suffering from a form of chronic political dizziness. The polls bear that out.

Look, however much Jonathan Kohn, Chris Matthews, and others would wish President Obama to channel "his inner Harry Truman" (noted here first and subject exhausted) it's not going to happen. Mr. Obama lacks a certain Trumanesque FIERCE bluntness. Somehow, lamenting his generic version of a "do-nothing" Congress (no sir! The Democrats poll MUCH HIGHER in the public's approval, and last I checked you were a Democrat), bemoaning the "frustration" of those no-name obstructionists (they're called REPUBLICANS and TEABAGGERS, sir — okay, say "Tea Party" but you really don't have to mind your words so much), won't quite make the Truman grade. Here's David Cohn, wrestling with the Obama-as-Truman thing. It seems the President's palace guard keeps getting in the way:
"... A reported piece in the Sunday Times, described a split among White House advisers. That article suggested that Obama’s economic counselors, led by National Economic Council chairman Gene Sperling, are squarely behind the jobs agenda, while Obama’s political advisers, including strategist David Plouffe and Chief of Staff William Daley, prefer Obama concentrate more on deficit reduction and further burnish his image as a post-partisan leader. Among the article’s more alarming passages: A suggestion that Plouffe and Daley were making policy arguments, even though their position, as reported, would be at odds with most experts. Keep in mind that Plouffe and Daley, between them, have as much formal economics training as I do: None. ...

Still, the tension between conflict and compromise, between partisanship and post-partisanship, is obviously real. It was even evident at the Michigan and at Minnesota appearances, which for all of their spirited excoriations of Congress conspicuously avoided one word: “Republican.” (He uttered the term twice at the first event and once at the second, in each case to note that proposals he supported had in the past garnered Republican support.)

That’s an intentional decision and, perhaps, a politically logical one. I imagine that criticizing "some in Congress" tests better with focus groups than criticizing Republicans by name. But will that mentality prevent Obama from drawing the lines he needs to draw? Will it limit policy ambitions or constrain his legislative tactics in the coming months? Those are the critical, if complicated, questions. Truman gave more than two speeches, after all. "
Yes, and when all entreaties to the President to be someone he clearly isn't are exhausted, we can always keep hope alive, right Jonathan? Because the alternative is too hideous to contemplate. Word has it there are more presidential theatrics on jobs to come in September ... after Nantucket. Here's your template, Mr. President. Anything less isn't worth the bother.

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