Friday, February 13, 2009

Party Before Country

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

~ President Barack Obama, January 20, 2009

Here we are 24 days later, 24 days into the Presidency of Barack Obama, who was handed the task of leading us out of this abysmal mess left by the previous administration because of the avarice of those men behind the curtain to which we should have been paying attention, pulling the levers and pushing the buttons; making the jaw move and the head bobble and the walk swagger of their Great and Powerful Wizard of Intellectual Slothfulness.

President Obama had a message, and in our joy and excitement for the glorious day that had finally arrived, we failed to realize who he was speaking of, as the Wizard took his final balloon flight. He spoke to the Muslim world when he asked to "seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect." He spoke to leaders around the world when he warned that "your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy."

And then he said, "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent...". Who do you suppose he meant?

It didn't even take a month. In just a little over three weeks, we now know to whom he was referring when he spoke those words. President Obama has extended his hand, but the GOP has not unclenched their fist. "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent..." Can you think of any examples of corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent off the top of your head these last eight years?

He extended his hand as he met with Republican lawmakers in an effort to get support for his recovery bill to try and fight out of our current economic crisis. But why should Republicans help a newly elected Democratic President? Why should the Republicans care about the constituents they were elected to represent? And they slapped President Obama's hand away, claiming they'd been left out of the process.

He extended his hand again, in the interests of bipartisanship, trying to yet again appeal to the GOP's better angels in hosting them at the White House to discuss further ideas for economic stimulus and heard nothing but petty griping, about grass on the mall and contraception. After all, how can creating jobs by repairing the infrastructure of our crumbling national monuments and funding family planning that would save an estimated $60 billion in future government medical costs possibly help our economy? President Obama heard their complaints, removed the "offensive" items from the bill and held out his hand. And they slapped his hand away, claiming they'd been left out of the process.

President Obama then nominated Republican Senator Judd Gregg as Secretary of Commerce. Gregg accepted. After all he had lobbied for the job, why would he refuse? He then abstained from voting on the recovery bill, and decided he didn't want the job after all, in a weak, "It's not you, it's me" moment.

White House statement:
"Senator Gregg reached out to the President and offered his name for Secretary of Commerce. He was very clear throughout the interviewing process that despite past disagreements about policies, he would support, embrace, and move forward with the President’s agenda. Once it became clear after his nomination that Senator Gregg was not going to be supporting some of President Obama’s key economic priorities, it became necessary for Senator Gregg and the Obama administration to part ways. We regret that he has had a change of heart".

Shorter Gregg: Yeah, I wanted the job, thought it would look cool on my resume. Then all my Republican friends got mad at me and I fell to the peer pressure. Besides, I'm going to retire in 2010 anyway since the GOP is going down faster than Larry Craig in an airport bathroom stall, and there's no way I'd be re-elected. But what did you expect? I'm a Republican. That's what we do.


Is it possible that the Republican Party is thinking about nothing but trying to sabotage President Obama and the Democrats in order regain control of Congress in 2010? That would be pretty outrageous, don't you think?

Andrew Sullivan: "Their clear and open intent is to do all they can, however they can, to sabotage the new administration (and the economy to boot). They want failure. Even now. Even after the last eight years. Even in a recession as steeply dangerous as this one. "

TPM: "It's hard not to think that Gregg's withdrawal, with the grumbling about the census and the stimulus, was not timed to cause the most damage possible to the Obama administration. Releasing the statement just as Obama took the stage in Peoria was clearly designed to undermine the President's event. The fact he scheduled a presser only seems to confirm it. The classy exit would have been to wait til tomorrow afternoon to quietly bow out. Basically Gregg decided not just to politely decline, but rather to blow shit up and burn the bridge behind him. Do not think this portends good things for the wider political climate. "

Robert Reich (H/T Bob Cesca): "But going into the midterms, I think a lot of Republicans would like to say this was not our bill, this was not our bank bailout, if you had followed us with out tax cuts, we would not be in this position today. And they're gonna want to do what [Newt Gingrich] did in 1994 to nationalize the election."

Bob Cesca: "Ultimately, I don't mind that Senator Gregg has dropped out. But this is yet another indication that the Republicans have no intention of meeting the president halfway on a goddamn thing. They will, in fact, attempt to sabotage the president at every turn because it's their nature."

Yes, it would be pretty outrageous, but in my opinion, not out of the question. Show me the evidence. Give me examples where they have acted for the greater good of the country than for their own political gain. Never underestimate the Republican Party's lust for the return to power that they've lost and what lengths they'll go to regain it. In their minds, they're burning the village in order to save it. If that isn't party before country, I don't know what is.

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