Saturday, August 15, 2009

Republican Apologies Not Forthcoming

Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly would like the Republicans to apologize to the rest of the country for the disastrous eight years of the Bush administration.
Bush/Cheney policies failed so spectacularly, Republican candidates and officeholders are generally reluctant to associate themselves with the tarnished name of the previous administration. But Bush/Cheney policies are still those of the contemporary Republican Party. Nothing has changed. Failure and defeat haven't chastened the GOP at all, and if given a chance to govern again, Republican leaders are quite anxious to return to the exact same agenda they embraced when they were in the majority.
Benen is an outstanding blogger, but he's off track here. For the Republicans, it's a matter of being themselves. And a lot of times that means being assholes. From the GOP point of view, the Bush administration and McCain campaign were not aggressive enough about promoting conservativism, insufficiently willing to push wedge issues, and altogether too prissy about things like truth, fairness, and effective government. What mainstream Limbaugh conservatives value most highly is constant aggression in the their never-ending war against liberals, gays, and minorities. Name-calling, fear-mongering, and race and gay baiting aren't just political tactics (although they are that), they're also expressions of conservative identity.

Paraphrasing Bill Parcells (who knows a lot about being an asshole), the Republicans are what they are. If the Obama administration, Democrats, and progressives want to govern effectively, they're just going to have to acknowledge the reality of Republican intransigence and resolve to fight just as hard as the Republicans fight.

Otherwise, we're going to lose . . . again.


Todd Mayo said...

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.- Albert Einstein
Think about this quote for a second and ask yourselves, why republicans invariably return to the same tired, old, worn, supply-side economics. Everytime they pursue these policies we get the same results. We get job losses, Union-busting, people lose their homes and their savings while the rich prosper. The national debt explodes. Annual budget deficits spike upward.
And why does my party leadership let them get in the way of sensible, fair legislation? Why does my party think the republicans would ever work across party lines. Why do we care?
We should have gotten the message by now. Republican leaders and pundits will not cooperate. They will only criticize in an effort to stir people up to worry, fright, and insecurity.
Perfect example, a few weeks ago, Glenn Beck engaged in what has become a routine lunatic rant. On the occaision in question, Black used a black bobble-head doll that he called ‘Obama’. His temper tantrum of the day was how the President’s health care reform would ‘remake America’ and that people should be very, very afraid. A few days after that Beck went one step further when he called President Obama a racist. Aside from President Clinton and President Lyndon Baines Johnson, I know of no other president who has been undermined to the extent that President Obama has.
It happens in subtle ways such as when someone refers to him as ‘Mr. Obama’ rather than ‘President Obama’, and in more blatant ways by the Glen Becks and Rush Limbaughs. They do everything to divide, incite fear, push their own agendas and reinforce old stereotypes.

Todd Mayo said...

contd...For the fact is republicans are not only embittered at their heavy losses, they have been looking for ways to sabotage what is left of The New Deal/Great Society programs and policies. I do agree with your conclusion that we must fight them hard on everything. They have certainly not held back. There singular goal at present is to find ways to tarnish the Obama administration. To that end they have accused him of being a socialist. They accused him of terrorist sympathies. A few months ago, one of the conservative republican leaders waxed ironic that even the "socialists" in Europe were denouncing President Obama for spending too much. Never mind the fact that there are no socialist countries in Europe. Pay no attention to the fact that "much farther left of center than Obama", Gordon Brown, is a friend and a supporter of the President, It is true that the leadership in France and Germany have criticized him but they are not socialists either. They represent the conservative partys in their respective nations. So the socialist lable is a farce. That dog won't hunt.
Then there's the health care debate. “Obama’s health care reforms will kill your grandmother,” they scream. Beware Government “death panels” warns Sarah Palin. Right-wing demonstrators are paid and trained to organize and take over town meetings. The lies and inanities keep on coming. It's enough to enough to turn one's stomach. Certainly mine.
Going into office, President Obama knew that passage of a comprehensive single-payer health care plan would be an impossibility. So, he proposed some common-sense regulations along with a modest public option which seemed fair enough on its face. It isn’t as efficient as single payer. Controlling costs will be difficult but it would get 97% of Americans and almost all kids covered as well as end the most predatory private insurance company schemes to deny care. No single payer system. If you like your current insurance, you can keep it if you can afford it.
Now, the public option, the keystone of the entire reform bill is in serious jeopardy. Without the public option, the rest of the bill is useless. This of course is the goal of big insurance and big pharmaceutical companies. The drug lobby and the insurance lobby are among the most powerful. Republicans are only too happy to do their bidding and a handful of conservative Democrats are proving to be easy prey to the pressure of the multi-billion dollar health care industry. The public is proving to be easy to terrorize.
We need to take the debate back from them. We need to frame it in terms that the American people understand. We need to stop trying to woo republican votes and concentrate on keeping Democrats in line. The stakes are too high. We have more problems to address than health care. We need a New Deal style public works program to rebuild our inner cities as well as rural areas. We need to come up with renewable energy sources. We need to empower workers by passing the Employee Free Choice Act.
This list could go on but it suffices to say we've got a lot of lost time for which we need to make up. So whatever the republicans throw at us we need to keep our heads down and do the right thing for The United States and all her people. And if it's a fight they want, then it's a fight they should get and a defeat they deserve. We cannot afford to lose again. Our opponents are insane!

Anonymous said...

The Dems can pass health care legislation without a single Republican vote.
The problem is that the American public is losing faith in Obama and Congress knows it. His poll numbers continue to sink. The more he exposes his socialist tendencies to the American people and attempts to destroy our capitalist system, the lower his numbers will be. They are beginning to understand that he does not like this country.
Unlike Clinton, who had no ideology (and had Dick Morris), Obama is stuck on socialist/fascist. Not much wiggle room and there goes his political capital - right in the shitter.

According to Rasmussen today:
1) 33% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty percent (40%) Strongly Disapprove.
2) Just 42% of U.S. voters now favor the health care plan while 53% are opposed. Those who oppose the effort feel more strongly about it.
3) Fifty-two percent (52%) believe such a system would lead to a lower quality of care while 13% believe care would improve.
I know that the poll numbers among independent voters have fallen significantly in the last couple of months although I cannot find the source at this moment. I hope this continues.

Ric Caric said...

Rasmussen is known to be a Republican leaning poll. DailyKos/Research 2000, known to be a Democratic leaning poll, has Obama's approval rating at 60%. I think the consensus has him at 52-53% approval. That's no surprise given that Obama got 53% of the vote.

The public option part of the health plan polled very well the last time I saw numbers--something like 65-75%.

As the Obama/Joker poster demonstrates, all the "socialist" talk being applied to Obama is racist. Obama's doing exactly what he said he would do during the 2008 election campaign.

One of the interesting things to me (and a lot of people on the left) is that the tea-baggers were nowhere to be seen when the Bush administration really was taking away people's rights through warrantless wiretapping, arbitrary arrest, denial of habeas corpus rights, torture, and the like. If the teabaggers wanted to be credible to anybody outside the fringes, they should have stood up for freedom during the Bush years.

Anonymous said...

So you deny that Obama's poll numbers are headed negative.
Why is he now backing away from the public option if it polls so well?
I think that the Socialists are getting a little frustrated that the President may have seen his best poll numbers for a while at least. No one can predict the future.
It is quite a leap to say that the Obama poster is racist. Bigoted, maybe, but I do not see enough information on the poster to infer racism. I see a Joker/socialism message.

Todd Mayo said...

That's what I'd like to know. Warrantless wiretapping was okay with them. Holding people indefinately without charging them. Keeping them in custody based upon what ammounted to racial profiling or perhaps religious profiling. Holding and torturing detainees simply to find out if they know anything. Denying their right to counsel. Presuming them guilty. And how about the biggest civil liberties buster of all, the USA PATRIOT ACT. Why didn't they just set the original copy of the Constitution on fire instead of simply nullifying almost all the first 10 amendments not to mention a few others.
So these "freedom-lovers" were fine with the wholesale dissmissal of the Bill of Rights when Bush and Cheney were pulling the strings but now they're rising up against a President and a Congress who had the temerity to not only begin restoring some of our rights and liberties, but who want to extend health care coverage to all our citizens. That's was these people are screaming about. The President and the progressive members of my party want to improve our quality of life and according to the usual pretzel-like reasoning of republican leaders and those who blindly follow them, a public option as part of health care reform is one step away from sending people to gulags.

Todd Mayo said...

What these people tend to deny at their most shrill is the fact that President Obama and the Democratic House and Senate have a pretty good record so far. He is a stronger leader than he tends to be credited.
And again, how does one make the leap from health care for all to,hysterical (false), shrill, stupid arguments that Obama... Read More’s health care reforms will "kill your grandmother”. "Beware Government “death panels”. "There will be a “government takeover” of health care." "Bureaucrats will overrule doctors." (In point of fact, those things happen all the time with HMOs and traditional insurance companies).
The problem is, these people are either deliberatley lying, or they just memorize their talking points. contd below...

Todd Mayo said...

contd....You see there would be no way that either a Single Payer system, or the Obama Public Option could cause the sky to fall as they so love to shout. The Obama proposal is modest. Too modest for me but far better than anything we've been offered before.
He would add basic regulation of insurance companies like prohibiting them from refusing to insure people who are sick or from cutting people off if they get sick due to "pre-existing conditions", and would make mandatory, coverage of preventive care like regular physicals. How radical and militant!! The man must be a Black Panther!! They do love to nick-name him. The story now has become "Obama is a Socialist", though he is not. "Obama is a Marxist", though he certainly is not. The people who do this have never read a single sentence written by Karl Marx. They don't know that the Soviet Union was not Socialist nor was it Communist. They don't know that no such nation has ever existed. Neither do 99.9% of our citizens. So it is quite easy to hurl insults and make accusations and it is not difficult to frighten a population such as ours. And so instead of coming up with real debate points, the fringe-right choose to divide, incite fear, push their own agendas and reinforce age-old stereotypes. I saw a news report that a few weeks ago two white police officers in Georgia were put on leave after having been discovered running a criminal check on the President. For that they got leave...not fired, just leave. And Glenn Beck charges Obama with racism! Really? I think I'm rambling a little so I conclude with the title of a book written by James Carville some years ago. "WE'RE RIGHT, THEY'RE WRONG!!"

Anonymous said...

Regarding the statement:"One of the interesting things to me (and a lot of people on the left) is that the tea-baggers were nowhere to be seen when the Bush administration really was taking away people's rights through warrantless wiretapping, arbitrary arrest, denial of habeas corpus rights, torture, and the like."

I can only speak for myself. The Constitution is broken on a regular basis these days. But it is not a suicide pact. Sometimes a country has to do what it takes to survive and after 9/11 we did not know what was coming at us. The main concern to me is that the civil liberties are restored in a timely manner. It's a matter of trusting your government. The American people trusted the Bush administration. We knew that he was not trying to turn this country into North Korea or Russia as they fear Obama wants to do. He was doing what he needed to protect us.
If you can give me an example of any US citizen who had their rights violated, I'm all ears.

Bush was not a conservative in a lot of ways. There were plenty of issues that I and some well known conservative commentators disagreed with. He did not get a pass. The open borders, not vetoing some of the spending bills, not prosecuting the war on terror aggressively enough, not defending his positions to the American people.

Regarding your comment: "The public option part of the health plan polled very well the last time I saw numbers--something like 65-75%."
Can you site your source?

As you must know, the creator of the Joker poster turns out not to be a Tim Mcveigh, but a liberal Kucinich supporter. There goes that theory down the drain.