We all know it, the question is now, what can we do about? The Democratic President gave a State of the Union speech the other night that was further to the right politically than Richard Nixon. All that was missing from the speech was the smirking "heh, heh." Our political arena has become farcical, an absurd circus--Mike Judge's "Idiocracy" complete with the House of Representing.
Michele Bachmann gave the rebuttal for the lunatic fringe by ignoring even more facts than the President. She claimed that Obama had promised that the stimulus would keep unemployment under eight percent. The President and I have a lot of disagreements, but no politician besides maybe Michele Bachmann would make such an irresponsible claim going into an economic downturn.
Politicians have always buttered the bread to make the sale, but it seems, they are no longer tied down to any branch of the reality tree. Georgia Congressman Paul Broun claimed after the State of the Union speech that, "the President didn't love the Constitution" and really only loved Socialism. Forget for a moment how absurd that statement is and think about this--Broun isn't just a Congressman, he's also a physician. It calls to mind the alleged Mark Twain quote, "Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it."
The performance of the stealth Obama, the man wearing John McCain's suit, makes clear the dynamic of the day. Barack Obama speaks for the actual corporate power brokers better than an actual Republican. Take Obama's suggestion for Tort Reform. Obama, being a law professor, knows that Tort reform is red meat to the Republicans. This has been on their over the rainbow wish list for generations, so as Obama embraces it, he divides his own party while strengthening the Republicans. Any Democratic official defending the right of the injured to sue for damages must now answer the question that Fox news is certain to ask, "You don't support your own Democratic President?"
The effect is double, as Democrats stammer to answer for Obama's unabridged Republicanism the actual Republicans run further to the right. If Obama is for it, they argue, then it must be a liberal position. The actual Republican's get their agenda passed and get to blame its negative effects on Democrats. Obamacare was a watered-down version of Richard Nixon's plan to hand over health care to private corporations.
Never at anytime during the Congressional hearings on health care reform was single payer coverage even allowed to be considered. This was not the work of Republicans but of Democrats, alleged Democrats. The vote to extend unemployment benefits before the summer recess was voted down by one vote, Nebraska Democrat, Ben Nelson's vote. Democratic Representative Anthony Wiener climbed into the House well pleading for healthcare benefits for 9/11 first responders. The effort would have been a noble one indeed if the house hadn't just passed comprehensive healthcare reform sixty days before.
Democratic leadership tied the healthcare benefits for the first responders to repealing overseas tax breaks. So were they serious about helping the first responders of 9/11 or were they just playing games? Weiner gave his "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" speech needlessly. The Democratic House leadership under Nancy Pelosi had inserted language requiring a two thirds majority vote for passage. It wasn't about helping anyone or changing the tax policy, it was about fun and games. Cops and robbers, good guys and bad guys, and all the while Rome burns. Meanwhile, the unemployed worry over the Fourth of July holiday wondering what will become of them.
The strategy backfired. The idea was to show the Republicans as heartless and uncaring and Democrats as "gooder than airy angels." Democrats in the off-year elections had nothing of substance to run on. They were mired in Obama's mud flat of healthcare reform, while Republican's were invigorated by a do-nothing Congress and a ne'er do well "Republican" President to beat up on.