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Defeatist Democrats and The Lethargic Left

By       Message Mike Cowie     Permalink
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Why run on a platform if you're unwilling to ram it through once you come to power with a clear mandate for change?

Ever since taking office, Obama has seemed far more focused on appeasing his enemies than trying to satisfy his own supporters, those who had voted for his agenda.

I just don't get it.

One thing's for sure: The Right never suffers from such indecisiveness.

Perhaps he's just too nice for any of this "ramming things through" business and as a consequence will accomplish nothing while in office. As the saying goes: Nice guys finish last.

But, come on people, seriously, if you can't get anything passed with a 59-41 seat majority, you might as well give up on governing period.

Long Ago and Far Away

It wasn't always like this, however. There was a time when the Democrats believed in what they believed in enough to think it deserved to be rammed though without trying to appease those reactionaries who were never going to back their agenda no matter how many compromises they may have made.

This magical time wasn't all that long ago. We're talking about the 1930s and the 1960s and leaders like FDR and LBJ. When Lyndon Johnson wanted to pass civil rights legislation he didn't let the racists and rednecks in the Senate derail his plan by watering it down till it was almost meaningless, the way Obama has allowed his healthcare reform bill to slowly be dismantled. The same with FDR and the New Deal. Sure there were compromises, but they truly believed in what they were trying to do and "compromise" and "bipartisanship" weren't the overriding themes in everything they did, like seems to be the case with Obama.

Ron, Brian and Maggie

None of this weak-kneed, spineless, migraine-inducing, pathetic, liberal indecisiveness is anything new or unique to Obama, of course. Not by a long shot. For years now more progressive types have cowered in fear of the Right as the Right has, ever since the 1980s at least, dominated the Western world's political discourse.

In the U.K., for instance, Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979 and radically altered the very core of the nation with her right-wing revolution. And then when Labour finally regained power in 1997, under Tony Blair, they were, for all intents and purposes, Thatcherites. That is, they accepted everything she had done to the country and, aside from a couple of little token measures, failed to roll back a thing. I'll say it again: Labour had become Thatcherites. It's that simple.

Likewise in America, Reagan rammed through whatever he wanted over an 8-year period in the 1980s. And when the Democrats finally regained the White House under Bill Clinton in 1992 they left all of the "Reagan Revolution" intact.

Same thing here in Canada. During the 1980s and early '90s, the Conservatives under Brian Mulroney won two successive majorities and rammed through just about anything they wanted, none of which was overturned by the Liberals once they came back into power in 1993, under the leadership of Jean Chre'tien, even though they commanded a huge majority in the House of Commons.

It's a simple pattern: the Right comes in and transforms the country with their "vision" of what is needed; then the Left regains power and simply accepts the right-wing revolution that has taken place and carries on from there, causing less harm certainly, but in no way forcefully legislating any sort of vision of their own.


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Mike Cowie is a 42-year-old freelance writer, who lives together with his wife and son just outside of Vancouver, B.C. After spending 15 years living, travelling and working overseas Mike returned to live in Canada back in 2004. His final trip, (more...)

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