Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What happened to my sabbatical?


Whenever I max out and want to get away from all of the political madness, I feel compelled to fight for MY core values. And, believe it or not, my core values are the same as the President's and NO they are not the same because I am some blind, loyal, lemming robot. Why I am loyal to the President is because he DOES share my core values. Why would I not agree with the very things I think and say? There is this odd assumption out there that people like me don't form our opinions until Obama says what those opinions should be. No. I form my opinions continually. I am a rather stubborn and dramatic person. But when I evaluate what I think about an issue, it's evolving based on new input, new facts, forcing myself to see other perspectives. And you know, I am pretty fond of that value. I enjoy knowing that I developed my own thinking. Obama may influence portions as do many Senators and friends and family and, yes, even journalists. And guess what? That's what the President does. He is consistently absorbing and seeing.

But that process is seen as something weak by the very people who I feel are the real culprits of blind, loyal, lemming-like robotery. Yes, I made up a word.

I have written several times about the course Democrats take along the message train. Democrats are called asses for a reason -- they are stubborn. The problem is that Democrats dig their heels in before they even leave base camp. We pride ourselves on being the smart party. The reasonable party. The compassionate party. Well, for the last two years, I feel fewer Democrats have actually acted out those values.

Let's look at what our party has become and where we are on this tax cut debate.

Democrats have been calling their own President spineless, weak, ball-less, Bush-like, a sell-out, a Republican, a traitor. The DEMOCRATS have called him that! THE DEMOCRATS!!

They have pretended that they are doing their civic duty of questioning the President. They have said they are only doing what he asked of them, to keep him honest. To watch him. They say they are fighting for the middle-class and poor while he is fighting for banks and big business. They say he hasn't acted fast enough, strong enough, exactly as they want enough, on EVERY GODDAMN ISSUE. EVERY ONE.

They tell him to "fight" but can't define what they mean. They want him to be a different person, as if he campaigned as someone else. They then mis-remember who he was during the campaign and have actually turned on him because he didn't turn out to be the actual Messiah. I wonder if he isn't more of a Job. Taking punches, facing unrealistic demands with only the reward of further challenges.

So when the President was bluntly asked what his core values are because Democrats want to know, he unleashed hell. And I was thrilled. This man has taken hit after hit from his own party despite his major successes and consistent progress. He has been verbally pummeled by voters who have placed themselves on a pedestal above God because they think they are the sole reason he is President in the first place.

Now, what's most telling in all of the coverage for the last, not even, 24-hours, has been the wounded left. Poor babies. Just like when they flipped out over the "professional left" comment, which I also cheered, Democrats are ignoring the articulate, rational, detailed and compassionate reasons Obama laid out for his tax compromise. They have IGNORED the benefits to the very people we say we protect as one of our core values because he yelled at them. They even ignore the fact that he was pretty cutting toward the Republicans as well. The President said that protecting the wealthiest people's tax cuts is the Republican party's "holy grail". Dang, that was pretty harsh (and true). But Democrats are so busy pouting that they are missing the opportunity to highlight the fact that he just said the opposition puts the wealthy above all else.

In the meantime, the Senators from Vermont and several key Democrats in the House and Senate are saying they can get something better. Well, they voted last Saturday and didn't get anything better. In fact, in addition to the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the "rich", Obama got more benefits for the middle-class and the poor than the House and Senate did last week.

But Democrats are ignoring all of the details. In fact, Democrats are doing what we often accuse the Republicans of: voting against our best interests. Obama made a two-fold promise: not raise taxes on the middle class and to allow some tax cuts for the wealthy go away. He went beyond on the first promise by actually LOWERING taxes for the middle class. And he has delayed his second promise.

Now, some say that by delaying the second promise he is giving the Republicans a chance to make the big tax cuts permanent. Why? Because they will have the House starting in January? Well, OK, but on the issue of making expensive tax cuts permanent they won't have the Senate or the teabaggers and OBAMA HAS VETO POWER. Sadly, our party is too busy running in circles yelling and crying that they can't see that.

They can't see that this compromise has shitty parts but it also has wonderful parts we didn't imagine being there. But instead of taking the time to understand that, people are angry and distracted.

Now the media is saying that "Democrats" are mad. I correct them: SOME Democrats are mad. The rest of us, those who are as valuable to the base as the Jane Hamshers and Adam Greens and Paul Krugmans and Bill Mahers and Keoth Olbermanns see clearly the situation at hand. WE see the compromise as a necessity that actually helps those we care about most.

What disgusts me THE MOST, the thing that makes me really hate the shit coming out of the left is the MANY comments I have read in blogs, articles, seen on cable TV, etc is the WILLINGNESS of DEMOCRATS to say, "let it all go and let America see what the Republicans really are". Our party has the gall to question the President's core values yet they are willing to throw every unemployed American and every middle and lower-class family who NEEDS the Bush and Obama tax cuts off a cliff to make a point! Yet, when he calls them out on that, they can't see how absolutely hypocritical and vengeful they are being at the expense of the core values they falsely claim as theirs and theirs alone.

How dare any Democrat question the President's or my core values while they are spitting on their own.

I have to say, though, the funny thing is that the Democrats with their chests puffed out may be loud, but I don't think they are the many. I am seeing more Democrats like me fighting the good fight and not the knee-jerk fight. I see more Independents saying that Obama is doing the right thing and love that he is telling the angry left to chill out. Some think he is losing "his base". Well I am his base and he hasn't lost me. And I think that he is actually building his base with people who think the angry left need to be put in their place.

I'd like to add that not only are we getting MORE from this compromise than the Democrats in Congress were able to get us, but we KNOW that Susan Collins is willing to vote to repeal DADT but only AFTER the tax cut situation is resolved. We have Republicans holding up REAGAN'S START Treaty because of this. The American tax payers are not the only "hostages" here. And all the "purists" need to remember that we have DADT in the first place because Bill Clinton had to negotiate. I'd say that negotiation tool was far worse than ANYTHING we have here. It's taking today's negotiation to get rid of that monster.

And in closing, to all the people who think they can negotiate better than Obama I say I think you would walk onto a Lexus car lot and sputter off in a Gremlin and you'd think you got a great deal because you only paid $2. Obama is getting us a brand new sedan. We have to take out a loan but at least we can get to work and we will be able to pay off the loan early once the paychecks start rolling in.

EDIT: A new Gallup poll shows that most Americans support the compromise. I hate polls because what will happen is that the people FOR the compromise will laud this and the people opposed to the compromise will ignore it. Then another poll will come out saying the public doesn't support the compromise and the players will flip. Angry Democrats celebrated polls that showed support for the public option but will ignore this completely. THAT is why I hate polls. But I wanted to point this out to raise a "watch the fun that ensues" flag.


vic said...

Trying to tune out all the noise, 'outrage' and hullabaloo but am wondering - Can those whining, disloyal Democratic and shortsighted Independent (ex: Bernie) senators stop this? Please say 'no'. It will ease some of my angst today. I went by the Rachel Maddow show before coming here, and for the first time I couldn't watch it through. I AM SOOO MAD!! IMHO, it's one thing to say you disagree with the Pres on any given issue , but quite another to be insulting re his positions/decisions. With friends like these Democrats who constantly beat him down verbally, loudly, before the 'whole world', friends who seem to get a kick out of spotlighting all his supposed warts, one need not wonder at the Republicans disrespect. Eeeee! I am sooo MAD! I think I'd better go read a book- something 'light'.

jhw22 said...

No kidding, Vic. WTH is wrong with us. I knew to avoid Keith Olbermann last night, as usual for me, and I was leery of Rachel so I didn't watch. I do love her, but I can tell which issues she's going to be way off base on. She allows her emotions to driver her take sometimes. And as valuable as I find her, she often does her viewers a disservice.

Crazily enough I am actually agreeing with Chris Matthews this week. And Lawrence O'D is on board. It's a demonstration that our party can't even agree on what to be mad about. ;)

I feel your angst. I am trying to avoid the hate speech as much as possible. I am reminding myself of what Obama said in that last answer of yesterday's presser and that reminds me that I am on the right side of all of this. My fellow Dems may be freaking out, but not all of them. There are a lot more of you and me out there than the coverage and the verbosity magnifies.

If you are looking for a good read, have you read "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" series? They were good for me when I was trying to stay in touch with the world but not pay too much attention to the madness. It's not TOO escapist but a fun read.


Broadway Carl said...

The comments in general are pretty appalling but I was surprised to find so many positive comments as well; goes to show you that there is great division on this subject.

Olbermann's Special Comment was a little over the top for my taste. I agree with your assessment, Jen. You can be at odds with the president's decision, but can you at least be respectful about it?

And I did sit through Rachel even though she had the same snarky take. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt because she's never as "loud" as KO, but even last night she expertly cut some video for Obama's "I'm going to take John Boehner's word" line, to which I received a text saying, "He's taking Boehner's word?! I told you he's naive." Anyone seeing the complete video can see that it was in response to a question and that his line was more meant to put Boehner on record and on the defensive. But no matter to partisan pundits. According to Keith, all Obama got was 13 months of unemployment benefits out of it.

While I'm not thrilled with the concession, I am glad a compromise was reached. It was a compromise, not a cave. A cave gives you nothing in return. And I too will take the president's word that come two years from now, he'll fight this again.

To me, this was the health care fight all over again. I had a Twitter back and forth with Dylan Ratigan back then (of all people) and I basically said that being in a position of already having health care, I can't morally fight against a compromised deal if it's going to give people access to health care that previously couldn't attain it. I'm not putting myself in a position to deny others. If that means forgoing the public option in the immediate future, so be it.

I feel the same way here. I can't say, "Fuck you! No deal! Vote NO!" when I know that 2 million people will lose their unemployment benefits and everyone else will have their taxes raised when it won't readily affect me. I could survive it. I lot of people can't. And I'm not going to stand on my ideological pedestal at their expense.

Broadway Carl said...

All that being said, this is far from over. Now from the right, Jim DeMint is railing against the compromise and the tea party winners are not happy either.

... We'll see.

jhw22 said...

It is such a relief to know that those of us who are rational and sane are out here. And yes, we are Democrats. I told someone yesterday that I refuse to let someone tell me I am not a Democrat and I am NOT leaving the party because a few assholes seem to think they set the standards for all of us.

You're right Carlos, this isn't over. And Dems better get their heads in the game or we'll get creamed while they're fighting in the locker room.

I just can't avoid the sports analogies lately. Maybe because it's football season?