As a politician and an elected official, when you, compromise with people who take positions that are radically the opposite of yours, you devalue your party's brand in the hearts and minds of the public. Their perception being, your ideology couldn't be worth very much if you are not willing to fight for it. This becomes magnified when the people that you are dealing with won't budge on their positions. In those situations, compromise makes you and your ideas look weak. I have repeatedly said this on my shows, on social media and in my articles here.
For most of his terms of office, the President was constantly in search of new and better ways to compromise with an intransigent GOP. In 2008, he became President based on a set of campaign promises. At that time, the American public wanted him to implement those promises. The GOP and the shill organizations that game our political system for them ran vicious and deceptive attack ads that attempted to sour the American public on the value of most of his signature promises. Barack Obama met those insidious attacks with offers of compromise rather than heated counter attacks.
Contrary to the adage, you can't please everyone, Barack Obama was constantly trying to be “everyone's President.”
Here's what compromise got the President, his party and we voters who put our faith in him:
Heath Care - Single Payer health care for all, something that could have addressed the constantly rising costs of health care became The Affordable Care Act. The GOP and their hangers-on then dubbed it “Obamacare.” It addressed some glaring issues, but kept insurance corps. entrenched in a system that, due to their profit motive and that of most players in the health care industry, will have built in annual premium increases. Affordable care could become quite unaffordable after a few years. Single payer, or even better, nationalized health care would have addressed the constantly rising costs of health care and taken the teeth out of the GOP argument that “people are losing their insurance.” When everyone gets insurance a la Medicare, everybody is insured and wins. President Obama could have been known as the LBJ or FDR of the twenty first century if he didn't compromise the original plan away.
Unions - Unions have been traditionally known as friends of the Democratic Party. Have the President and most Democratic electeds returned that friendship in any substantial way other than lots of lip service? Did the President and most Democratic electeds support The Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would have helped level the playing field for unions during the 111th Congress which was on Obama's watch? The answer is a resounding no! Many Democratic electeds were too busy being mini-Republicans to worry about unions!
“Free” Trade - Speaking of unions, the President's ongoing support of “free” trade agreements that enable corps. to offshore jobs is something that upsets unions, union members and many of the folks who elected him in 2008. These agreements upset unions for obvious reasons, but also upset those of us who want to protect the U.S. Constitution because they violate our national sovereignty! Many of them give foreign corps the right to sue U.S. regulatory agencies in an international kangaroo court if those agencies' regulations interfere with those corps. doing business in the U.S.A. What kind of regulations am I talking about? Just pesky regulations that protect the American public in areas like food and drug safety or the environment, for example. No need to “compromise” here because both parties support “free” trade agreements!
Endless Wars – Barack Obama's campaign was based on the concept that he was different that George W. Bush. He was supposed to wind down Bush's endless wars in the mid-east that cost both lives and taxpayer money and in many cases, created and armed new and more dangerous enemies. In many cases, he has perpetuated the policies of George W. Bush with no seeming end to the wars in sight. Far more people have died in those wars than in 9/11. The President seems to worry more about Republicans saying that he has a weak defense policy than about doing the right thing for America's future. Sadly, most Democratic electeds agree with him and continually cave-in to GOP militarism! At this point, things are spinning out of control with no end in sight which is sad because Obama could have ended the madness at the start of his first term.
Openness and Transparency – For an administration that ran on a platform of transparency, its functions are hardly an open book. It seems to zealously guard its privacy and go after any whistleblowers with a vengeance. However, our privacy is invaded on a daily basis in so many ways. Many of our Constitutional protections that we held near and dear seem to be just a distant memory
Appointing CEOs and Industry Lobbyists – The President has a track record of appointing heads of regulatory agencies who are insiders coming from the industries that they regulate. Most of them are either CEOs or Lobbyists. This is kind of like letting the fox guard the hen house. He needed to appoint knowledgeable people who would look out for our interests instead of corporate profits. He could have found solid appointees by nominating people from industry watchdog groups who know how the respective industries function, but look out for the interests of the public.
All of this leaves me with a glaring question?
When did progressives, genuine Democrats who stand for the policies of FDR become unwelcome outsiders in the Democratic Party? I have seen some centrist sellouts, “Democrats” who call themselves “pragmatic” taking verbal pot shots at those who should be considered the standard bearers and core of the Democratic Party and blaming them for the GOP win. They are aided and abetted by folks who will automatically vote and support candidates along party lines without questioning that party values have changed drastically.
Democratic electeds lost out in the mid-term elections because they didn't stand up for Democratic values! Because of this, the Democratic brand was devalued in the minds of many voters who would rather vote for genuine Republicans who actually stand for something, albeit something that is detrimental to their future, than vote for disingenuous Democrats who have a “compromising” agenda that changes with the wind. Unless we can elect people who stand up for John and Jane Q. Public instead of corporations and billionaires, we can expect more losses in the future.
I hope that losing in two election cycles will wake up a few sycophantic unconditional supporters who are still in denial!
During his press conference on Monday, President Obama let the GOP know, in no uncertain terms, that he wasn't going to put up with their obstructionist tactics that use the debt ceiling to impose their questionable agenda on us, whether we like it or not. I hope that the President's words are followed up by strong actions and mean an end to his seemingly endless attempts to "compromise" with GOP politicians who are only interested in bringing down, or weakening his administration. As I've said before, an administration that tries to be all things to all people winds up being nothing to everyone.
The GOP continually mistakes President Obama's conciliatory approach for a lack of political conviction. In other words, they mistake kindness for weakness. The Republicans are trying to use the bogus debt ceiling to coerce Obama into compromising away years of Democratic social programs. That's why Obama's brand new tough talk has to be followed up by strong action. The question now is, will FDR's legacy be obliterated on Obama's watch, or will he step up to the plate and be a real Democrat? The choice is his. For America's sake, I hope that he chooses wisely.
There was something vaguely worrisome about the President's acceptance speech that has me hoping that his next term doesn't turn out to be four more years of compromise, not change.
To see if you picked up the same vibes, visit my Listen Here! page.
So the story is that certain people in the Democratic Party are pressuring Kendrick Meek to step down and get his supporters to vote for Charlie Crist. Their goal is to stop Marco Rubio by convincing Kendrick to take one for the party and get Independent Charlie Crist elected in the hope that he will caucus with the Democrats A.K.A. Lieberman South. Now keep in mind that one of the MAIN reasons we didn't get "change we can believe in" was because the Blue Dogs who represent Republican ideals combined with the likes of Lieberman to dilute or scuttle any legislation that brought meaningful change, helped working people and rescued the middle class.
Yes, the enemy within did MORE damage to the "change" agenda than any Republican could ever do. Most of the "change" legislation was compromised by either extreme dilution or delay, as an example, most of the highly diluted Healthcare Bill's provisions kick in after 2014. That gave the Republicans/Tea Partiers ample time to circulate scare stories about the bill. The final Healthcare Bill was anemic compared to it's first iterations, but even so, if it went into FULL effect immediately, voters would see the total scope of it's benefits and no one would dare call it Obamacare!
As of this writing, there are denials all around, it seems like everyone in the Democratic Party is saying that no one is pressuring Kendrick to end his campaign. Ah, do we have another great conspiracy on our hands? Who cares? Rather than play the game of he said, she said about the Clinton/Meek stories, let's get into something that I actually saw with my own two eyes.
There are a few people who seem to live on Twitter in the virtual world, but reside outside of Florida in the physical world that have been trying to get Florida Democrats to vote against Kendrick Meek, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate and for Independent candidate Charlie Crist. They like to raise the specter of Tea Party/Republican candidate Marco Rubio winning the election if Florida's Democratic voters vote for Kendrick the Democratic candidate, because the current surveys are showing the he has low numbers. These out of state social engineers would prefer to have Florida's Democrats vote AGAINST Kendrick, who supported working people/middle class issues throughout his political career and FOR Charlie Crist, a former Republican who is running as an independent because Meek's votes combined with Crist's votes may let Crist just squeak by and beat Rubio.
The thing that irks me about these people is that they have consistently rationalized every give back and compromise that hindered any kind of substantive change throughout the President's year and three quarters or so in office. If you were disappointed with the final iteration of the Healthcare bill, they would tell you to "stop whining", likewise if you griped that Unions were being ignored or in some cases insulted by the Administration. Do you see a pattern here? Just go back and re-read the second paragraph of this article. These Twitter people are the apologists for the aforementioned lack of change, the cheerleaders for mediocrity, the fear mongers that use the Tea Party threat to control how you vote. If you are a Florida Democratic voter, just ignore those people who can't vote in a Florida election because they are not Floridians and do the right thing, vote a straight Democratic ticket!
As November approaches, certain Democrats are getting antsy over possible losses in the upcoming midterm elections. Some vociferous party line Democrats have already formed a circular firing squad and have stated that any Democratic losses in November will be caused by the Progressive Democrats and their dissent. When things go wrong, it's always easier to find a convenient scapegoat than to look for the real cause of a problem. This article should shake those people out of their blissful state of Democratic denial!
Let's tell it like it is:
If we were to have major reform, the kind that would have erased the massive damage done to the American way of life by the Bush administration, it had to be done in the first three months following the President's inauguration. The party had a clear majority and the President was at his maximum popularity after the win. When the Republicans are in charge, they let you know that they are in charge, they take no prisoners, everything must be done their way. When a Republican is in the White House, the Republican Party acts like America is a conquered nation and they are an occupying army. When a Democrat is in the White House, the Democratic Party acts as if it lost the election and talks about bipartisanship a.k.a. compromise. This has been the case since the Reagan days.
We needed Democratic shock and awe in those first few months of the Obama presidency, instead we got:
- Day one calls for bipartisanship that were not reciprocated by the Republicans.
- Bailouts of Wall Street, banks and insurance interests that were "too big to fail" with little perceived help for the unemployed and people who were losing their homes to foreclosure.
- White House appointees that were closely tied to the financial interests they were attempting to regulate.
- Almost every promised bit of pro-consumer/pro-middle class legislation was watered down by internal blue dog bickering and compromise. The resulting laws had the names of the problems they were trying solve, but were only partial fixes.
Campaign promises are like I.O.U's, the public remembers and becomes disillusioned when they are not redeemed. If the promised legislative initiatives were undiluted by compromise, the voting public would have been reaping the benefits of true change and would have become guaranteed Democratic votes in the upcoming mid-term elections. The public perception is that true "New Deal" programs should have dealt with the needs of the real victims of the reces.... er, I mean depression, John and Jane Q. Public, BEFORE any help was given to the banks, Wall St and corporate interests. My perception is that coprorations were given preferential access to our elected officials and basically got what they wanted. Mere mortal ordinary voters were placated by watered down legislation and political rhetoric. They got the bread, we got the crumbs.
For America's sake, I hope that the Democrats can keep their legislative seats and fend off the Republican corporatists, but if that doesn't happen, just remember what I said about shock and awe.