Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 2 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 2 (4 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   5 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Why Obama and the Democrats Shouldn't Negotiate with Extortionists

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 9/30/13

Become a Fan
  (106 fans)
- Advertisement -


As a child I was bullied by bigger boys who threatened to beat me up if I didn't give them what they wanted. But every time I gave in to their demands their subsequent demands grew larger. First they wanted the change in my pocket. Next it was the dessert in my lunchbox. Then my new Davy Crockett cap. Then the softball and bat I got for my birthday.

Finally I stopped giving in. When the bullies began roughing me up on the playground some older boys came to my rescue and threatened my tormenters with black eyes if they ever touched me again. That ended their extortion racket.

What's happening in Washington these days may seem far removed from my boyhood memories, but Washington is really just another children's playground. Its current bullies are right-wing Republicans, now threatening that if they don't get their way they'll close down the government and cause the nation to default on its debts.

"The American people don't want a government shutdown, and they don't want Obamacare," House Republican leaders said in a statement over the weekend. "We will do our job and send this bill over, and then it's up to the Senate to pass it and stop a government showdown."

Really? The American people don't want Obamacare as much as I didn't want my softball and bat. 

- Advertisement -

Okay, maybe not quite as much. But the only settled way we know what the American people want is through the democratic process. And the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)  is  the law of the land. A majority of the House and Senate voted for it, the President signed it into law, its constitutionality has been upheld by the Supreme Court, and a majority of Americans re-elected the President after an election battle in which the Affordable Care Act was a central issue.

Moreover, we don't repeal laws in this country by holding hostage the entire government of the United States.

The bullies are a faction inside the Republican Party -- extremists who are threatening more reasonable Republicans with primary challenges if they don't go along.

And where are the Tea Party extremists getting their dough? From even bigger bullies -- a handful of hugely wealthy Americans who are sinking hundreds of millions of dollars into this extortion racket.

They include David and Charles Koch (and their front group, "Americans for Prosperity");  Peter Thiel, leverage-buyout specialist John Childs, investor Howie Rich, Stephen Jackson of the Stevens Group, and executives of JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, (all behind the "Club for Growth"); and Crow Holdings' Harlan Crow, shipping magnate Richard Uihlein, and investment banker Foster Friess; executives of MetLife and Philip Morris, and foundations controlled by the Scaife family (all bankrolling "FreedomWorks.")

Their game plan is to not just to take over the Republican Party. It's to take over America. The showdown over the budget and the debt ceiling is a prelude to 2016, when they plan to run Texas Senator Ted Cruz for President. (Cruz, if you haven't noticed, is busily establishing his creds as the biggest flamer in Washington -- orchestrating not only the current extortion but also the purge of reasonable Republicans from the GOP.)
 
Obama and the Democrats must not give in. They shouldn't even negotiate with extortionists. As I learned the hard way, giving in to bullies just encourages them to escalate their demands.

The President began negotiations with the Republican bullies in 2011 when they first threatened to default on the nation's debt if they didn't get the spending cuts they wanted. He negotiated again at the end of 2012 when they threatened to go over the fiscal cliff and take the rest of the nation with them if they didn't get the budget they wanted. Now they want to repeal a law they detest. If we give in again, what's next? A coup d'etat?

 

http://robertreich.org/

Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Republican's Big Lies About Jobs (And Why Obama Must Repudiate Them)

Paul Ryan Still Doesn't Get It

What Mitt Romney Really Represents

The Minimum Wage, Guns, Healthcare, and the Meaning of a Decent Society

Why the Right-Wing Bullies Will Hold The Nation Hostage Again and Again

The Gas Wars

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
4 people are discussing this page, with 5 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Something I heard from Rachel Maddow tonight rings... by Brian Lynch on Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 10:44:26 PM
The way I see it, the Koch brothers and their kind... by Ceric on Tuesday, Oct 1, 2013 at 12:53:28 PM
Ceric, I see your point and struggle with it often... by Brian Lynch on Tuesday, Oct 1, 2013 at 10:26:05 PM
I think the time has come for President Obama to l... by Richard Girard on Tuesday, Oct 1, 2013 at 4:59:21 PM
In a decent world this would happen but there evil... by liberalsrock on Wednesday, Oct 2, 2013 at 9:58:12 AM