“Remember what happened to [Bill] Clinton after the ‘Republican Revolution’ sweep of 1994? He spent 1995 locked in a bizarre ‘co-presidency’ with House Speaker Newt Gingrich before figuring out that his ‘partner’ was more interested in obstructionist sabotage than bipartisanship. [Barack] Obama is heading down the same bloody path with John Boehner,” left-wing columnist Ted Rall presciently noted recently.
President Barack Obama today promised to make “midcourse corrections and adjustments,” already conceding to the Repugnican House majority-elect — and probably giving Repugnican speaker-of-the-House-in-waiting John Boehner a raging boner. (Better than Viagra for the stupid white man, Barack Obama is.)
This is something that no Repugnican president would ever do, surrender before the battle has even begun. Unfortunately, it’s what we’ve grown quite used to seeing from Democrats.
Of course, even when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, Obama never spent his political capital, but held onto it like Ebenezer Scrooge. As Ted Rall recently pointed out,
If Obama was going to shine, it was going to be during 2009. Elected by a sizable margin with an undeniable, media-backed mandate for change during a severe economic crisis he could exploit to push through his agenda, Obama also enjoyed the rare luxury of a Democratic House of Representatives and a nearly filibuster-proof Democratic Senate.
Instead, Obama surreally spent 2009 (and 2010) accomplishing precious little, and now it’s too late. (As Rall also notes, “the safest time to deliver to your base is the first year of a presidency; the passage of time allows the anger of the moderates to cool in time for the next election.”)
Now, the question seems to be whether Obama will be a one-term Democratic president a la Jimmy Carter or a two-term Repugnican-ass-licking “Democratic” president like Bill Clinton. (My money, like Rall’s, is on the latter.)
I don’t believe that the Repugnicans took back the House on Tuesday because the majority of Americans have any special love for the Repugnican (Tea) Party’s “values” (as these “values” actually are practiced, anyway).
I believe that the Repugnicans took back the House because the Repugnicans talk tough and enough people buy the Repugnicans’ faux populism. And the short memory of the voters here in the United States of Amnesia also certainly greatly helped the Repugnican ticket on Tuesday (except for here in California, where our long-term memory functions much better).
On Tuesday the voters responded to the Repugnicans’ show of confidence, and it seems that the typical voter will side with the candidate who projects the most confidence, no matter how wrong he or she is, over the candidate who is right but who shows any temerity or tentativeness. So all too often the wrong-but-“strong” Repugnican beats the correct-but-cowering Democrat.
After Barack Obama’s bait (“hope” and “change”) and switch (a Clintonian “Democratic” presidency), though, I no longer hold out any hope that the Democratic Party ever will reform itself. One false promise replaces the last one, year after year, and it seems to me that violent revolution will come long before any meaningful reform in Washington ever will.
I wish that I could say that I disagree with Rall’s assertion, in his latest book, that all that the left can do now is to pre-emptively revolt before the right-wing revolt fully materializes, but I cannot.