More on the ‘Obama Blues’ –

by on February 2, 2010 · 13 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, War and Peace

a-dilemma 2by JEC

There is a reason, a reason for the Democrats to appease the Republicans. A reason mentioned only in the shadows fearing the consequences should it be brought into the light. But the proper time eventually arrives for unspoken fear to leave the darkness. It is time to bring to the light the concealed reason.

After recurring periods of power, the Republican ideology has been rejected by most of the people. Their ideas sounded attractive but the realities have been utter failures. Starve the beast Newt Gingrich once described the strategy. The beast? Our government, our constitution, our country. The goal – it’s down fall.

An honest assessment of the Republican strategy of the last 25 years has not been to strengthen government but to deplete it. Drain the treasury, weaken the institutions, blur the principles. The product of this agenda; today the idea of a post American period seems all too real. States bolting the union has been raised by the Republican Governor in Texas and liberals in California. Our currency is at the mercey of China.

Meanwhile the majority party, elected to change the course, continues to bow to the demands of the severe right. Why? It could be because the fanciful expression – my way or the highway is the Republican way. Rule or ruin. Congressional Democrats and President Obama seem to understand this reality; appease the severe right, keep them at the table or they will destroy the country.

But appeasing the fanatical right has never succeeded. Paul von Hindenburg made a series of concessions hoping to placate the extreme nationalism of the Nazi party. The rest, as they say, is history.

But 21st century America is not early 20th century Germany . In this case the risk of appeasement is the risk of accepting a bankrupt ideology proven, in the most brutal terms, to fail to provide. History is replete with stories of the few who would exploit the many.

The thesis of a democracy is built on the idea the many will act in their own collective interests. The founding fathers worried that the masses might be easily fooled. An educated and informed electorate was the cure to this weakness. Like they are using the book 1984 like a blueprint, the few of the severe right have discovered how easy it is to use double speak to confuse the populace, not to lead but to stifle progress, prevent meaningful action. Not so much to prove their thesis that government, aka democracy doesn’t work. More to nullify the voter and eliminate competition for power.

Consider a fact; the individuals who benefit the most from this system – the very rich and corporate elite support the government the least. They pay millions to pay favorable legislation so they don’t have to pay taxes, even in a time of war. Labor is taxed at 28% while ownership is taxed at 15% that Obama is proposing be reduced even further.

In the end, a country gets the government they deserve. Personally its hard to watch my nation decline.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary E. Mann February 2, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Appeasement is one way of phrasing it, and works if you want to get Germany into the argument, but I prefer to think of what Obama is trying to do, seemingly achingly, as “reaching a consensus”. His reasonable politics, based on real facts and needs rather than winning migraine-inducing ideological battles, are a big part of why I voted for the guy.

The entire Republican Party is not constructed of evil, soul-less aliens. These are people too, and they represent a very significant portion of our nation. In a DEMOCRACY, they get a voice as well.

I applaud Obama for his effort to work across the aisle despite the whiny recriminations of those who hoped for a post-election reality of rainbows, sunshine, and Republicans impaled on unicorn horns. Welcome back, this is America, warts and all.


JEC February 2, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Mary – I’m far from the strawman you set up – no rainbows or impaling Republicans here. I am a utilitarian – I do not view the country’s decline as a Republican failure, a Democrat failure or a Christian failure. I view it as OUR failure. And if you wish to debate the question of whether or not our country is in decline I invite you to look at the US as the rest of the world does. Report from Davos, Switzerland – other democracies see America as broken; a President elected by a sizable majority in an honestl election; the majority party with large majorities in both houses all unable to move a single issue. The voice you mention could be right, wrong or maliciously motivated. We vet those voices by elections – they lost. So while being absolutely fair to make sure every voice, no matter how shrill, is heard consider this – our daily lives, our economy depends on the other nations – to give us money (buying our debt) and to not unload our currency for pennies on the dollar. And those nations on which our daily bread depends doubts our future because we can’t fix our problems. We are careening towards the precipice. History is littered with failed societies. My father was a sincere Republican – worked in the Party – but the Republicans of today do believe in rule or ruin – and to compromise with them is to compromise with ruin.


Mary E. Mann February 2, 2010 at 3:09 pm

JEC – I do hear what you are saying. But honestly, what is your definition of “broken”. Mine would include something about division. Wouldn’t you think someone big enough to risk unpopularity to try to mend the division in politics deserves our support?


JEC February 2, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Someone once said to me “with enough diversity society disappears leaving only the shell of what we call a nation.” It’s ‘broken’ when it no longer does the job. Democracies are all about a contest of ideas. Democracies only survive on the good will of the contestants. As we learned on the playground – if you can’t agree on the rules, there is no game. Consider this – the Republicans had total control for six years, partial control for 15. Deficits soared and we fell behind. The voters said enough – we need something different. The Republicans lost. But did they respect the voters judgment by listening? If they had, this discussion of Obama’s appeasing the Republicans wouldn’t be necessary.


Shane Finneran February 2, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Mary, I guess you’re right — there must be decent Republicans out there. But I’d love to hear from them once in awhile. Because I don’t hear too many Republicans condemning the undeniably vile messages issued by party mouthpieces like Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin, or the Tea Party circuit. And I hate to say it, but most of my Republican friends, when it comes down to it, really don’t seem to give a damn about what happens to people outside of their circle. The key issue for them almost always seems to be taxes, which can never be low enough.

I went to the Tea Party rally down at the USS Midway in late 2009. I’ll never forget one woman I met who opposed health care reform. She worked hard to pay for hers, and she’d be damned if she was going to pay for anyone else’s. What about people who can’t afford insurance? “Let them die,” was her response.

Most Republicans won’t put it so bluntly, but that’s pretty much the party line on health care reform, and it also captures the Republican take on a wide range of other issues, too. I’m not sure what kind of consensus we can build with a party like that, but with a Democratic president and Democratic Congress, why are we trying to build consensus, anyway?

IMHO, Obama and so many other Democrats are stuck on consensus building not because it’s practical but because they take money from virtually all the same wealthy sponsors who fund Republican candidates. That money acts like a magnet, pulling policy rightward, regardless of the affiliation of the leaders of the day.

Real change is going to require a shake-up of the current system, likely starting with dramatic reform of campaign finance law. Until we see action on that front, there actually might not be much we can do besides make whiny recriminations. But we can still hold out hope that someday we’ll find the rainbow.


Chris Moore February 2, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I agree with what you’re saying, his approach has far more to do with why I voted for him than with some delusion that he was Che Guevara. My own politics are not entirely of the left anyhow, honestly (get the tar & feathers quick!). I have become disillusioned with ideological approaches in general.

On the other hand, a major chunk of the demographic he is trying to compromise with (I call them Foxtards, to differentiate them from reality-based conservatives) are going to hate him and roadblock anything he does because they’re convinced he’s a Muslim Communist infiltrator from Kenya (or Indonesia depending who you ask – this seems to be a point of contention among them) trained from birth (wherever it may have been) and sent to destroy God, Apple Pie, and the Flag from within.

They really believe this, and any attempt to reason with them only hardens their certainty that I am merely a hypnotized pawn of The Libruhl Media Elites.

So I have begun to wonder, especially in the wake of the healthcare debate debacle, whether he should bother trying to reach across to those who will only try to break his hand.


Shane Finneran February 2, 2010 at 4:22 pm

“Foxtards” is awesome. We should use that often, try to insert in the lexicon, like Dan Savage did with “Santorum.”


The Great Unwashed February 2, 2010 at 5:16 pm

JEC, the only democracy we have is in the State of California. The U.S. of A. is a Representative Republic. Our Constitution was designed to prevent the overwhelming majority to trample on the rights of a minority.

If you look at recent history, our path to financial perdition was led by the Bush tax cuts of 2001 (prior to 9/11) and is being exacerbated by the Obama Administration and the Democratic controlled Congress. I personally believe that the Clinton Administration and a Republican controlled Congress did a very good job in finally providing a balanced budget. It may be that Social Security was raided, but at the time at least there was more money coming in than was going out. IMO if Pres Clinton would have kept it at home, he’d likely be rated one of the Top 5 Presidents of the 20th Century. I didn’t vote for him in either election. It was his ability to compromise be pragmatic that served us all.

As a “reformed” Republican, I voted for Kerry in 2004 and Obama in 2008 but I’m not feeling like we’re going to get any sort of (voluntary or involuntary) concensus that we did during the ’90s. Health Care was Pres Clinton’s bugaboo and so shall it be with Pres Obama. Transparency was promised, and was/has not been delivered.

As for me, I’ve joined the Libertarian Party. Fiscal conservatism and social freedom.


missBee February 4, 2010 at 10:37 pm

“An honest assessment of the Republican strategy of the last 25 years has not been to strengthen government but to deplete it. Drain the treasury, weaken the institutions, blur the principles. ”

Yes. Conservatives believe in smaller government.

On one hand, you have people asking for less government intervention and control. And at the same time, asking for the government to control every aspect of our lives and protect us.

There are so many government agencies that suck funds, but serve no purpose. A bloated government, is a dysfunctional government.

But what really bugs me is this:

“Consider a fact; the individuals who benefit the most from this system – the very rich and corporate elite support the government the least.”

And big business relies on all those regulations and laws. They can afford to get around them. They favor a huge bloated government, not the other way around. Because a little person like me, who works with her hands and has made her living as such, is affected by those laws. The taxes, the fees, the overhead. And while my business goes into the ground, like so many in the cottage industry, big business thrives.

I absolutely believe that big business and government are meshed into one happy little couple. I support corporations, to a point. I’d love to see myself CEO of a nifty monster that I built from my blood sweat and tears. But, I don’t believe in crushing the little people, once I’m there. Being that little person, now.

“They pay millions to pay favorable legislation so they don’t have to pay taxes, even in a time of war. Labor is taxed at 28% while ownership is taxed at 15% that Obama is proposing be reduced even further.”

This contradicts your previous sentences in this paragraph. I wanted to quote and repeat it, just to drive home that big business and government are in bed. Guess who owns stocks in a lot of those companies.

For example: Lady Bird Johnson had stock in Halliburton. Haliburton was an extension of Brown and Root, owned by the Johnsons, and granted contracts in times of war beginning with LBJ. But, as a lot of people tell it. “Halliburton = Cheney.”

It’s all gray. There is no black and white any more.

“I personally believe that the Clinton Administration and a Republican controlled Congress did a very good job in finally providing a balanced budget”

I agree with this.


JEC February 5, 2010 at 10:15 am

We all make judgments based on the information as we understand. That’s why facts matter. If you believe the road is straight when it in fact curves can be fatal.

Big business does not favor big government – rules and regs get in their way and hold them accountable for the consequences of their practices. Owning the government as they do there’s no need to ‘get around’ the rules – they wrote the rules.

Conservatives want smaller government. Really? Since when? Evidence to the contrary. But, between you and I, assuming we share a similiar goal, which of course may not be true, let’s clear the table – clean the slate – start from scratch. We the people, in order to form a more perfect union fought and killed for the privelege of charting our own course; to use our common and collective power in the form of a democractically elected representative GOVERNMENT to improve our quality of life and advance our civilization. Shall we start by negating our revolution, our constitution, dismissing that we the people do share a common interest. Do we set ourselves apart, pitting each individual against the other? I think not. So in that ‘smaller government’ what shall we NOT do? Social Security? Born out of the despair of the Depression, when people died from starvation and freezing; the good Christians followed their beliefs to not stand idly by and watch their fellows suffer and die a plan was conceived. The economics were originally projected to last at least 150 years – after that the horizon begins to blur. It was intended to be a set aside – apart from the operating budget. For decades many more would pay in than take out. This “surplus” was intended to accumulate creating an endowment for the future. It was corrupted when that surplus was stolen to pay for the operating expenses. Then Medicare was added to it. Today the Federal government owes nearly a Trillion dollars to SS – monies George W Bush openly declared were “worthless IOU’s”. But let’s build that operating budget for our Country. Shall we have a National Park System? Shall we have a military? Controlling for SS which is not a true operating expense, the military consumes about 40% of the entire budget. Here in San Diego nearly 25% of everyone lives off of the DOD. It costs about $9 million A DAY to operate one carrier group. Shall we have the FBI? The Federal Prison system? NASA? CDC and a Health Department? Why have a department of Education when the constitution specifies education as being a state responsibility? Eliminate HUD? How about FEMA – FEMA provided flood insurance is one of the top four financial liabilities of the USA – nearly all in the southeast – that bastion of Republicanism. We got here inch by inch, row by row. To avoid offering details is to avoid responsibility. So, what shall be no longer do?


missBee February 4, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Before I call it a night, guess who supports CPSIA… big businesses.

I’ve been involved in the fight against the sloppy knee-jerk bill Waxman and his cohorts drafted under the radar and sprung on us overnight for two years. Two stays of implementation later, it’s still a mess. And companies like Hasbro and Fisher Price lobbied against us. Killing numerous small businesses that were feeding families, and giving a lot to our country. We don’t manufacture overseas. We work in our homes and small workrooms. We pay taxes, and offer unique services to people. I sell locally, internationally and worldwide. I run every aspect of my business. And two years ago, I was at a point where I was ready to take the next step and hire help.

But this bill threatened my livelihood. And put all those plans on hold, because I didn’t know what the future held for me, as a small business owner and manufacturer of children’s items. I still don’t completely know. But I have positive hope.

It didn’t impact those big businesses the way it impacted me. My materials are all lead and phalate free. It took months and a lot of letters, lobbying and kicking and screaming to get the CPSC to listen and exempt natural materials and textiles.

My average price is $40. It would cost me $500+ to test my items, and every time I change a material, or add something, I have to re-test. At a government approved agency. I called those agencies, they had no room or interest in even testing my items, because of my small scale. But, it was beside the point. I would have to filter those costs into my items, and probably take a hit on my hourly wage and any actual profit to remain competitive and selling.

We had some big businesses on our side. Our suppliers. Textile companies jumped on board and progress is slow, but it is being made.

I’m telling you this story, because big business thrives on this bill. They make millions of one item. That testing fee is simple for them to filter into their item costs, when they manufacture millions of one item. Two years ago, for those of you that are parents, you may have noticed an increase in the price of toys. That’s because the stay of implementation was not in place until right before the regulations were to go into effect. So big business was ready, testing, and filtering the costs into their items.

Is the bill essential? yes. But it was hastily drafted, passed, and implemented without any consideration of what it’d do, or who it would affect on the smaller scale. Those big companies, they knew what it would do. And handmade is on the rise. Mom and Pops are coming back in fashion. Unique toys and children’s items were really gaining ground a few years ago.

For every 50 recalls for lead, 1 was some home based crafter who wasn’t mindful of their materials. This bill has positively made us all evaluate our items, but, as someone who works with textiles, and a mom, I created items that were safe & non-toxic, before the bill. After the bill, my items were considered hazardous materials, if untested. Before the exemptions, which came long after the stay.

As it stands now, my materials are exempt. But my brothers and sisters, who use more than textiles and natural materials, are still battling for a system more like Europe. Where certification of our materials is enough, without having to re-test already certified supplies.

Sorry for all that. I think the back story and my experience was a little essential to my point. So, forgive the long posts. But, I hope there’s some light shed in there that supports my point.


missBee February 4, 2010 at 11:21 pm

I probably misunderstood you’re point. Now that I re-read it. Perhaps you mean, they don’t financially feed the monster. But the monster certainly feeds them. And they know it. While the little guy starves.


missBee February 4, 2010 at 11:21 pm



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