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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/30/13

At A Most Critical Time, When Strong Leadership Was Required, Where Was President Obama?

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   4 comments
Message Michael Payne


It's called leadership; the ability and capacity of an individual to lead, motivate and energize others to solve problems and meet important goals. That's an attribute that a president of this country must possess, especially in crucial situations. Just recently, at a time when his leadership was absolutely essential in bringing about critically important filibuster reform, President Obama was nowhere to be found.


As the debate and confrontations over filibuster reform in the U.S. Senate heated up, the American people were largely unaware of its importance. Most Americans didn't realize that the use of the filibuster by the Republican obstructionists, invoked 380 times since the Democrats assumed majority control in 2006, was the primary reason for Congressional gridlock and the failure to address and solve this nation's greatest problems.


They didn't realize how important this issue was because no one really took the time to bring it to their attention. There should have numerous debates and discussions about the pros and cons of filibuster reform in the national media, at least in its liberal, progressive segments, but little to nothing was said. President Obama should have shown leadership by speaking out strongly in order to gain the full support of the American people; but he didn't.


So filibuster reform, critically important to breaking the gridlock in Congress and giving the Democratic majority the means by which to enact important legislation fell by the wayside. Once again the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, choked, caved in, and prostrated himself before the power and might of the Republican obstructionists. There have been reports that the following senators have been identified as those who may have helped to kill filibuster reform; they are Max Baucus (Mont.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Joe Manchin (West. Va.), and Mark Pryor (Ark.)


Then who's responsible for this complete failure to enact filibuster reform? The initial blame rests with Harry Reid. Reid, supposedly an amateur boxer in his younger days, has proven to be a weak and spineless leader who has become no more than a punching bag for Mitch McConnell and his Republican fellow thugs. The Democratic Party of Nevada should, prior to the next election, have someone of courage and integrity run against him in the primary and send him home packing.


But the primary responsibility for this failure goes to Mr. Obama who did virtually nothing to see that filibuster reform was achieved. It's incomprehensible that he allowed this travesty to happen. If Democratic presidents Harry Truman or Lyndon Johnson had been faced with this situation they would have put immense, unrelenting pressure on Democratic Senators to support this reform, and they would have read the riot act to those who were unwilling to do what was right for their party and the American people.


Nothing was more important than achieving filibuster reform in the Senate. With it the Democratic majority could have brought important legislation to the Senate floor, it could then have undergone necessary debate and discussion and then the vote of the majority would rule. The business of the country would finally have been conducted in an effective manner. This president knew that, he knew what was at stake. But he refused to enter the fray, he sat back and let filibuster reform be destroyed.


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