The Mediocrity of the Democratic Congress
Change We Can Believe In
President Barack Obama was elected by a majority of Americans last November. In 2006, Democrats gained majorities in both houses of Congress and last November was awarded a "super majority" over the Senate thus stopping any feeble attempt by Republicans to filibuster any bills they did not like. The moment was set: President Obama was going to take over power with his party in charge of Congress. Due to former President George Bush and his failings over the past eight years, Americans were ready for change. They voted for change.
But nothing has changed. President Obama's plans have been thwarted and stalled. And sadly, this has been done despite the fact the Republicans are in disarray. The Republicans have simply said no to everything and offered no plans whatsoever. But they are not the problem.
The problem; Democratic Mediocrity.
Pardon Me, Have You Seen My Spine?
Who is to blame for the Democrats ineptness? Well, certainly, there is enough blame to go around. But first and foremost are the Democratic leaders in Congress Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
First off, who in their right mind would make them the visable and vocal leaders of a political party. Neither are inspiring. Neither invoke confidence. Neither of them invoke a sense of leadership. Neither of them is someone anyone would follow anywhere. When they speak, most people change the channel.
Secondly, neither of them are willing to fight for anything. They capitulate, they compromise on things that should be deal breakers. Well, then, maybe they are a perfect example of a Congressional Democrat these days.
Democrats no longer fight for what they once claimed to believe in. The Environment, Healthcare, Education, you name it, they have stopped fighting for it. Take for example the small issue of Abstinence only Education. The Democratic run Senate Finance committee just approved 50 million dollars for abstinence only education. Why, because Democrats are no longer willing to fight for sexual education in this Country. Instead, they have given into the right wing of the Republican Party without throwing a punch.
The Issue Of Healthcare
The current health care debate exemplifies the lack of Congressional leadership shown by Pelosi and Reid. President Obama ran on the promise of bringing this Country closer to Universal Health care. His plan: a public option. Immediately the Republicans and those forces that want to keep the status quo went to work. They shouted that the plan was a socialist plot. They shouted that it wanted death panels. They shouted it would kill the deficit.
In the face of all this shouting, Democrats retreated. The very first thing that should have been done was a bill should have been introduced calling for Universal Health care. This has been a democratic goal for decades. Of course the Republicans were going to say no. Of course the Republicans were going to shout about fiscal spending. Republicans were never going to agree to anything at first. They had to show that they still mattered. They had to show their own base that they were going to fight for them. Of course they were going to fight. The President could have introduced a bill to recognize that the sky was blue and the Republicans were going to be against it at the start. That is what newly created opposition parties do, they fight the first thing to come through the gate.
But instead, Democrats in both houses introduced a compromise bill in the hopes that it would garner some support from the Right. And were shocked that it didn't work. Now instead of fighting to cover as many people as possible as part of a compromise bill, the Democrats are stuck trying to save any healthcare bill whether it is actual reform or not.
But instead of fighting, instead of putting their foot down, instead of staying true to democratic principles, instead of doing what they promised to do, Democrats are are talking about tort reform. They are talking about allowing the insurance industry to run things. Now that is leadership. The Republicans have never had such good leadership on these issues; oh, wait, that's right; Reid and Pelosi are Democrats.
Congressional Democrats argue that their main goal is to keep the Democratic majority and the way to do this is to protect the moderate Democrats from red states. For what? What good is a democratic majority if the majority is not going to be used to pass democratic legislation? And if these moderates are so moderate that they will only vote for conservative bills, are they moderates or Republicans? If they are so moderate that they will never support democratic platform legislation, let them go. Better to have a Republican in the seat than someone who is a Democrat in name only and will never vote with the democratic party.
Can I Have My Change That I Can Believe In Please?
It appears President Obama is akin to Michael Jordan when he played on a bad team. He is the most talented of the group, but can't get it done until the team gets better. However, that does not mean President Obama does not deserve a large part of the blame. He does.
First, President Obama has to accept the fact that he won the election and is actually President of the United States. This means that he has to do more than talk shows and news conferences. He must lead. And if he truly believes that he is right, he and he alone must force his will on the Country. Or at least, force his will on his own party.
But the President has not done that. He has sat back and allowed the Congressional leadership take ownership of health care, the economy and the other issues the President said were his main issues. When people voted in the democratic super majority last November, they were not voting for these individual members of Congress. They were voting for Obama and his vision for the Country.
But now the Congressional Democrats have made a mess of it. It is time for President Obama to go at it alone. Forget Bipartisanship. Forget keeping a democratic majority. Forget tyring to make everyone happy. Presidents are not paid to make everyone happy. They are paid to do what is right for the Country regardless of the consequences. The good ones are proven right. The best ones were proven right even if they were not popular at the time.
President Obama has the makings of a great President. However, until he uses his talent to bring his vision to life, he will simply be mediocre. If he continues to allow the substitute teachers in Congress run the show, he will be remembered as a single term President.
Take A Lesson From President Bush
Regardless of what anyone thought of President George W. Bush, it is hard to deny that he did not care about what was popular. He did not care about making friends with the left if they disagreed. When he believed he was right he went full steam ahead. The problem with George W. Bush was his decisions were mostly shown to be wrong. But at least he was willing to fight and go at it alone.
President Obama is simply smarter than George W. Bush. He is well educated, compassionate, and has a wealth of real world experience. He was a candidate with a funny name that took down the Clinton machine. His talent is endless. But smart is not enough. Toughness is needed as well and George W. Bush had that. Perhaps if Obama acted a little more like George W. Bush, his other talents could fix the economy, bring real health care reform and improve relations around the world.
History will remember George W. Bush. History will only remember Obama because of his skin color unless he makes something of the office he now holds. It is time for President Obama to lead. He must get in front of the issues instead of waiting to hear what might pass. He must make some enemies. He must make hard decisions. Simply, he must start acting Presidential. Otherwise history will remember him as another meidocre democratic President who happened to be African American.
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