Opinion, Berkeley Blogs

An increasingly wish-washy president signaling surrender

By Richard Abrams

I'm not going to get into the future-guessing game, except to say that with our increasingly wishy-washy President already signaling he is going to surrender to the pundits who eagerly declare that the Massachusetts election was all about the health care bills (as they say on "Law & Order," they know drama!), it is beginning to appear that we will get nothing.  Having compromised most of the important features of health care reform already, any further compromise will be like dividing zero by two -- and he won't get a single Republican (or blue-dog Democrat) anyway.   If I can play pundit, I'd say that the people in Massachusetts -- like many of the rest of us -- are fed up with (1) the obscene attention that Obama-Goldman Sachs has paid to making Wall Street whole, while neglecting the still-rising numbers of unemployed, (2) handing out nearly a trillion dollars to bankers, insurance companies, and manufacturers without requiring them to use the money to make loans and maintain employment rather than go back to the casino to trade for various kinds of financial paper (as several of the European governments did); (3) Obama's validating most of George W's war and "security" policies; and (4) Obama's stubborn, unproductive, even counterproductive  insistence on trying for "bipartisanship" when for the past 15 years of so the Republicans have made it amply clear they will not compromise on anything, or for that matter support anything proposed by any Democrat.  (Vide Minority Leader Boehner's statement yesterday that the Republicans will oppose Obama's proposal for a bipartisan commission to study and report on how to reduce the deficit, even though he and his lock-step colleagues proposed the very thing only a year or so ago.)  The Bushies never compromised on anything, nor did they worry about anyone filibustering anything they proposed though they never had 60 votes in the Senate -- they just rammed what they wanted through.  And if the Bushies couldn't get Congress to do what they wanted, they just did it anyway (executive orders; signing statements; etc.).  As our Great Leader, Richard Nixon, once told John Kennedy: voters don't care about the statesmanlike things like negotiation and compromise, they admire leaders who act boldly and with resolve (George W's favorite word).

So, NOW Obama is going to pay more attention to producing jobs??????????  Pathetic.  Hope and Change?  So far we have seen pitifully little in the way of progressive change while hope has all but vanished.