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Not So Lame?
Dangerous When Cornered
About two years ago, I watched the Republican Party struggle with the fact in the last two national elections, they had seen the American public reject their ideas. It seemed to me that the party would need to abandon many of its ideas; creating fear, scapegoating 'outgroups', and convincing people to vote against their economic interests and support pro-corporate candidates.
The GOP, perhaps under some pressure from it's handlers, came up with another plan. A plan involving first stirring up a tea pot of fear and anger, using mouthpieces like Beck and Limbaugh. The second stage was to obstruct at any opportunity, often with no real alternative; this had the purpose of getting the younger people and GOP 'outgroups' to lose interest in the process.
This approach seems to have worked. The House of Representatives is now back in the hands of the GOP and the Senate is even more girdlocked. Many on the right are already calling Obama a "Lame Duck". Never mind that history has shown that after midterm losses, the president often still wins re-election; "St. Ronnie" in 1984, and Clinton in 1996 are the two recent examples.
History can repeat again, but it will take Obama realizing that the GOP is unwilling to compromise; their agenda is based completely on obstruction, and an effort to return to the ideas of the past that voters rejected in 2006 and 2008.
A good first act would be for Obama to say that any efforts to repeal or rescind health insurance or financial reform will be vetoed. This will show him to be the strong leader that people voted for in 2008. It may also provide a resource to rally his virtual troops; much like what happened during the health insurance debate.
Now lest he be compared to the arrogant hubris of his predecessor, he should also say that he'd be willing to accept modifications to these laws. This would have the effect of showing the GOP's lack of ideas, besides those that their corporate handlers hand them. This would be another way to show how the GOP is stuck in the ideas of the past.
A fact that the corporate media overlooked, and a fact that may make the fight easier for Obama, is that most of the Democratic losses in the House, and perhaps the Senate, were the more moderate Democrats. The majority of Democrats in the House are members of the activist Progressive Caucus, and while Feingold lost his seat in Wisconsin, and Joe Sestak's bid in Pennsylvania failed, there is still a strong progressive contingent in the Senate.
One other thing, that would conjure up the populist themes of the 2008 Campaign, and further show a willingness to fight would be to see efforts to constrain the political power of corporations. These forces saw Obama as a direct threat to their power and used their near-unlimited ability to influence to keep the tea pots boiling. Working to pass something similar to the DISCLOSE act, which would make groups reveal their donors might help to show people who their being lead around by. Such actions have popular support, and would go a long way in showing where the loyalty of the GOP and the 'Tea Party' types are.
I've seen evidence in support of urging Obama to get back to basics from groups like MoveOn, TrueMajority and CredoAction. One can only hope Obama will listen.