Thursday, November 6, 2014

Racism and Reverberations

First thing I want to do (as do we all) is vent.  The republican party has had big balls and they have been bouncing them around since Obama's landslide six years ago.  We all laughed when Boehner said, "Hell, no," but it worked, and it has worked ever since.  Today I heard Michael Steele say that Obama should just try to approach the new Congress, nicely, regarding immigration.  Really???  Did this image occur to anybody else:

Whenever they say "hell, no" they reinforce their power and confidence, and when we waffle, we are seen as unsure of what we think will work and maybe even a little shady.  It began with health care when Obama backed off from the public option; our Blue Dogs added a few nails to the coffin when they failed to throw their support behind the Affordable Care Act.  And with a few exceptions we have been seen as cowards that will do anything to survive ever since.

Worse is the slurs and insults directed at the President by the opposition, and the Democratic flight to safety in response.  When Bill Clinton was kicked around, we can say he gave Newt and his gang the ammunition, not only by his sexual misadventures, but by dancing around the truth and outright lying about everything from not inhaling to whether he had sex with that intern.  Barack Obama has had no such dark deeds in his background; he has an enviable family life and was frank about past casual drug use and even his cigarette habit.  Unable to dig up any hidden bodies, the idiot brigade resorted to making up racist nonsense about a Kenyan birth.  But once they did, the noise reverberated for years.  The racism that has accompanied this president's years in office has been overt more often than not, and barely masked at other times.  And the Democratic Party predictably failed to stand together confidently to back our President.

And we can thank the media from both sides and in the middle for helping to keep the echo going.  Anything for a story.  Anything, that is, but the issues.

Speaking of which, if we were to talk honestly about the issues, this president has done some heroic things against great odds, including the auto bailout, handling terrorists with intelligence and calm and making gains with sustainable energy that have been too little publicized.  He has also made some serious mistakes by siding with Wall Street over Main Street, stepping up deportation of undocumented immigrants and excessive border control,  and  giving the NSA a free hand with domestic spying and failing to protect whistleblowers.  But there has not been a president who has done great things who has not also shown a tragic flaw, as did LBJ with civil rights juxtaposed alongside the Vietnam war.

Sadly, we have been hearing the media talk about Obama's unpopularity for some six years, almost through his re-election.  We have all believed it because it has been said so often by so many.  Rather than simply and rationally disagree on certain of the issues, we Democrats have allowed ourselves to reject the President on the whole, to the delight of the republican party.  And I have to say, it has not just been us red staters.  And the midterm election disaster was what we ended up with. 

Barack Obama is a great statesman and an admirable politician.  I believe that if he were to run a third term, he would once again be re-elected, and he could do it on all the good things he has done during his time in office.

So it was tragic when Alison Grimes, once running ahead of McConnell, chose to refuse to admit that she voted for Obama.  So many ways she could have said he was and is the best man for the job, although she disagreed with him on energy and would always vote what was best for her constituents.  Instead, she bumbled and looked embarrassed.  The media ran with it, and the republicans did not need to do anything other than look smug.

And the absence of the President during the campaign -- noted often and loudly by the media -- was what was wrong with these midterm elections.  Yes, there are other factors that affected the outcome, and I would like to talk more about those at another time.  But had we stood proud and tall with the leader of the country, who has after all, done some amazing things with a country that his predecessor had pretty nearly flushed down the toilet, we would no doubt be on the other side of history these next two years.

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