Thursday, August 26, 2010

Even as Obama becomes a catastrophe, Republicans are no solution

Republicans have been using the bleak economy and even worse unemployment numbers to attack president Obama and his failures as president, mostly to use against Democrats in the upcoming November elections. Obama deserves all the criticism he gets, and with the recent revised downgrade of economic growth showing a stalled recovery, more will be coming, But the only people who have no standing to criticize are Republicans.

There are many reasons for Obama's failures but the biggest reason is not because he has been too liberal but because he wasn't liberal enough. The true criticism of Obama is that he has no backbone, no convictions, is politically dishonest and duplicitous and he has been not much more than the snake oil salesman that was evident to more than half the Democratic party during the primaries. And now its become evident to the majority of voters. The recent bad numbers on economic growth is showing the stimulus hasnt been working. And liberal economists like Paul Krugman and others said at the time that what Obama was proposing wasnt big enough. But Obama chose to play politics and settled for halfway measures that isnt working.

But for all the criticism Obama deserves, Republicans have no standing to criticize. They are still the reckless, ideological drunk drivers who wrapped the car around a tree.

But that doesnt explain Obama's failures. While Obama's supporters look at the failures of his presidency and say " what happened"? the real answer is nothing happened. This is who Obama is and always was. He bamboozled a lot of people into thinking he could do things he cant and never did. What became important was the racial agenda forgetting everything Martin Luther King stood for. And now both the Democrats and the country as a whole is suffering for it.

Its not just the economy that has the Democrats in trouble. Obama sold out the public option on health care for the same reasons he took half way measures on the economy -- no courage and no convictions. With the public option he dropped it to find a half way measure that would mollify Republicans and get the town hall conservative crazies to stop yelling at him. It didnt work, and the country is that much poorer now for not having the public option.

But for all of Obama's disasters as president, the Republicans are no answer. Republicans have proved since 1993 and actually going back to the Depression, that they are the most economically incompetent collection of nincompoops to ever occupy the congress, and are 100% to blame for the mess the country is in now. The criticism Obama deserves is that he has been totally inadequate at fixing it.But it was the ideoological DWI Republicans that wrapped the economy around the tree.

How inept have the Republicans been? In 1992 the record deficit became the major issue in the presidential campaign thanks mostly to Ross Perot who made it the number one issue. All three candidates committed to eliminating the deficit and when Bill Clinton was elected he offered a 1993 budget designed to do just that. It included a 5c a gallon gas tax with the money earmarked to bring down and eventually eliminate the deficit.

The Republicans went ballistic. They marched in lockstep opposing Clinton's budget and they made their case to the country in speech after speech and press conference after press conference. Led by Newt Gingrich, they said that Clinton's 1993 budget would explode the deficit, deepen the recession and drive up unemployment. Every Republican in the House and every Republican in the senate voted against it saying it would be a catastrophe and it was left to Al Gore to cast the tie breaking vote in the senate that passed the budget.

So how right were the Republicans and their aides and staff in their astute assessment of the economy and what to do about it? They batted 1.000. They were wrong about everything.

Clinton's budget eliminated the deficit and resulted in the first balanced budget in decades. It made possible the greatest economic expansion in history, the lowest unemployment in 40 years and Clinton left the country a $5 1/2 trillion budget surplus.

After Al Gore's disastrous presidential campaign, the Republicans came to power and Karl Rove bragged to Time magazine that the Bush Administration was "going to be ABC -- Anything But Clinton". If Clinton did it they were going to reverse it. And they did exactly that and, predictably to anyone who believes every action has an equal and opposite reaction, achieved the opposite results of Clinton on everything from terrorism as 911 proved, to the economy.

Reversing Clinton's policies destroyed the balanced budget, blew the $5 1/2 trillion budget surplus in less than 3 years, sent the country back to record deficits, saw Bush become the first president since Hoover to lose jobs in his first 3 years in office, and led to the greatest economic crisis since the 1930's.

While Obama has been a disaster in terms of what could have been accomplished given that he's squandered the biggest congressional majority any president has had in 100 years showing how politically incompetent he is when it comes to getting anything done, the Republicans are and have been the problem not the solution. They are not only incompetent, they have proved they are the most bald face collection of political liars since the 19th century. And when a group of politicians are defined by lies, they are not fit to run the country.
Their lies about healthcare reform were just a prelude to their lying about the economy and taxes. And defining them as liars is exactly what Howard Gleckman, resident fellow of the Urban Institute and editor of the non-partisan Tax Policy Center did.
Republicans are saying that "on Jan. 1,2011 Democrats will drop a $3.8 trillion tax increase on American small businesses and families". Gleckman says in so many words, and without mincing them, that this statement "is a lie". Mostly because Democrats plan on keeping the tax cuts for all but the top 3% of the country. Gleckman also pointed out that Republican claims that allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire would be "the largest tax hike ever" is another lie. Gleckman's assessment of Republican lies about taxes and tax increases is that "they should be ashamed".

So why are the Democrats so pathetically inept at making this point and exposing Republicans as not only being dishonest but inept? Because Democrats have been pathetically inept politically for the last 15 years. "Democratic strategist" is an oxymoron, their campaigns, TV commercials, political advertising and ability to get a message across is as inept politically as the Republicans are with policy. And if they want to point to the 2008 elections the truth is the Democrats didnt win, the Republicans lost based on their performance.

The economy is going to be the major issue in the fall elections. The way for Democrats to do as well as is possible under the circumstances which is the albatross Obama has become around their necks, is to graphically point out the Republican track record going back to 1993, their out and out lies, and at the same time admit Obama's short comings and that he hasn't been what those who supported him had hoped. Then vow to take matters into their own hands whether its passing the public option in the next term or doing what is needed to help unemployment even if it means usurping and trumping the president.

Obama might not be happy with that but given the stakes, who cares? No one is happy with Obama and that goes not only for voters but congressional Democrats. Admitting the obvious about Obama's shortcomings, is simply the truth and political honesty would resonate with voters. The same voters the Democrats need to win. Moderate and liberal Democrats and independents so disgusted with Obama they have said in polls they may take their anger at Obama out on congressional Democrats.

But congressional Democrats can unite and put out the message that they will take charge and that a Democratic congress is still the best way to get the country back on its feet. Admit that the reason people are so unhappy with Obama and that his poll numbers are sinking is not because he went too far but because his policies didn't go far enough. Especially because of his attempts at trying to mollify Republicans which Democrats should point out was a big mistake. And they should point it out because it's the truth.

Then point out that the Republicans have proved they have no solutions, they are the cause of all the problems and have not given one minute's indication for years that anything they propose would work because nothing they have done for decades has worked. And so all they can do is lie.

Admitting Obama's shortcomings will be embarrassing for Obama but first, it's the truth, secondly he's already done enough damage to the Democratic chances in the fall between his policies, his endless empty talking, his duplicity which people are finally seeing through, and Robert Gibbs mouth.

Any candidate in a close election trying to defend Obama and his presidency as part of an election strategy is finished. But admitting Obama's shortcomings is just the kind of truth and honesty that would resonate with people and give them hope that maybe a Democratic congress can deliver what Obama hasn't.


Anonymous said...

If I recall correctly, more bills were passed during Clinton's presidency when he had a Republican-controlled congress than when he did not. Any idea whether that is true, and if so, why? It's counter-intuitive to think there might be something positive to come out of this, but it would be nice. More bills does not equal good bills, I know, but the bills that have come out of the dem-controlled congress have been liberal only in name, anyway.

Anonymous said...

And who are we going to vote for then later on? We only have a 2 party system to choose from and so if we become disappointed w/ one party, the only alternative we have is to vote the opposite party. That is why it is imperative for the Tea Party movement to become a viable third party, not a rebel party w/in the Republican Party.

If they(the Tea Party) matures into a separate party after its troubled adolescence, then we as the voters would have a 3rd choice.The only problem is it will take years for them to mature and there would be a lot of obstacles to hurdle. And with the involvement of a small? percentage of the American People(who makes noises to be recognized, one of the signs of a budding adolescence) and a person who has the guts to direct the Party(Sarah Palin), mark my word, the Tea Party could become a viable 3rd party later on.

Marc Rubin said...

"If they(the Tea Party) matures into a separate party after its troubled adolescence, then we as the voters would have a 3rd choice."

I agree but for that to happen they have to attract moderate Democrats and liberals and base their positions on principles. Right now they are a creation of Republican conservatives -- Dick Armey to be exact though its not to say it cant take on a life of its own and reject the idea that they are an arm of the Republican party. But they need leadership that comes from the ranks of Democrats to join what is already there for them to have any chance at being anything more than troublemakers for Republicans who want their votes.