BLOG PIECE: JULY 11, 2014~
Progressive future usa has generally preferred to focus on the Big Issues and not get too involved with the day to day “drama” of partisan politics and the rarely achieved near perfection of split-government gridlock and gottcha that afflicts Washington today. And many of the state capitals.
Education debates, income/wealth inequality, austerity v. Keynesian spending, insane taxation premises, climate change, and more recently, foreign policy questions have been our normal fare. After all, the very first “launch piece” in this weblog stated that the longer term political trends between 1990 and 2050—trends in a progressive direction—were our “niche”. Many others are doing a variegated but generally fine and colorful job of massage the shorter news cycles. We are not talking about “short” today exactly. But it is important to understand the level of desperation of mainly Republican attacks—“lobbing shells”—that have in turn triggered both a hunkering down in the Obama White House and a vague dispiritedness magnified by much jabbering media. “Why isn’t “he” (POTUS) fighting back more?” or “he has nothing to lose by a populist unloading on the Boehner’s, McConnell’s , and (the late) Eric Cantor’s.
Much electronic ink has been spilled on the “drunk punching” of the Tea Party, the (now) orthodox Reagan Republicans now in charge of Congress (or maybe Reagan would be considered a gregarious moderate now and Nixon positively left of center), and—to be “fair and balanced”—the seeming aloofness (a kind of passive aggressive punching) of the President and fiercer jabs by the Keith Olbermann’s, the Rachel Maddow’s, and further left, the fading but still fierce voice—very different—of Noam Chomsky. We might start here with a kind of bulleted chronology, not simply of folly and evasion of responsibility, but of the ‘normalization of polarization’ that is the province of true believers.
Contrary to popular and even “informed media” (say George Will or E.J. Dionne) assumptions that there is some electoral cynicism—playing to the constituency galleries—among conservative office holders—and Democrats—what strikes us is that the Pelosi’s and Reid’s and the Boehner’s and McConnell’s, really live in very different political thought worlds and as political full-timers, reflect beliefs and hostilities found in the public at large. Let’s start with Now and work back—with bullets and white space—and try with a combination of aphorisms and factoids to make sense of the “essence amidst the noise”:
- Mid-2014- Speaker of the House John Boehner straight-facedly forges ahead with a House plan to “sue the president” for unauthorized tempering with the Affordable Health Care Act (esp. employer mandate) provisions without Congressional consent. Obama and supporters respond with terms like “frivolous”, “waste of time”, and “posturing”
- January, 2014 and ensuing months- the president threatens unilateral executive action wherever possible if needed to break partisan gridlock and proceeds to use executive powers on immigration, environmental, prisoner exchange, health care and other issues
- November 2010-Following the Republican takeover of the House of representatives in the 2010 elections, emboldened conservatives treat Obama to a series of “showdowns” over every conceivable issue opportunity: government shutdown in 2013, and near-shutdown in 2012; deficit reduction and taxation clashes, environmental and immigration battles, judicial and executive nominations, attempts to derail the unrolling of Affordable Health Care (Obamacare)
- November, 2009 -Pres. Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Majority leader Reid pull out all the stops to get the affordable Health Care Act passed by a narrow margin, without any Republican support, and some arm twisting of more conservative Democrats—and the use of political pork…the theory was: This flawed but monumental and long overdue legislation was such an important omelet that it was necessary to break a few eggs (see http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/march_april_2012/features/obamas_ top_50_accomplishments035755.php?page=all from the Washington Monthly
* Much of the 2009-10 first two years of the Obama opening term was characterized by hard-fought narrowly won battles resulting in legislation on the near-$800 billion dollar fiscal stimulus, food safety legislation, resurrecting the U.S. auto industry, the “Lillie Ledbetter” pay equality and fairness act, and many other laws made possible by the Democratic Congress elected in 2008 and 2006; the price for this was to give Republicans, pushed by the Tea Party uprising, an increasing sense of a decisive picot to the left, or left center as characterized by Clinton (1990s), Carter (1970s), Kennedy-Johnson (1960s)
- Simplifying the storyline it might be said that the Republicans bridled at “Obamanation,” in a way not unlike the Democrats’ reaction to the perceived unmitigated disaster of the Bush 43 years, which in turn were a Republican reaction to the politically cagey and amoral/immoral–as they saw it– reign of Bill Clinton, 1993-2001, which in turn was a reaction to Reagan-Bush 41- ism (1981-1993)The story does not end here however; it will be continued an more depth at this website, With a Difference, Soon, So Please Stand by!…