Thursday, July 30, 2009

The cost of compromise

As I said in my blog "What true Democrats need to do" (last Monday), it is important for progressive leaders to lead by going on the offensive for their policies and not trying for the compromise with those who will eventually end up knifing them in the back. When Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts back-pedalled on the gas tax, his (Democratic) legislature proceded to attack him because they sensed weakness; they are even now beginning to cozy up to Republican Charlie Baker, who just resigned as head of Harvard-Pilgrim Healthcare to run for Patrick's job.

(In case you don't know it, the Massachusetts legislature is not easily distinguishable from the New Jersey brand: 3 consecutive House leaders have been indicted for corruption. It was slow in enacting and enforcing strong DUI laws, and seems incapable of outlawing such an obvious danger as texting-while-driving. One can understand the DUI thing: there are probably a lot of hard-drinking politicians; their non-stand on texting is harder to understand. The only thing you can say about the people who re-elect them is that they realize just how awful Republicans are by comparison.)

Similarly, on the national front, President Obama, in his desire to compromise and avoid conflict, and in his hard-to-fathom belief that he can "deal" with the mostly hard-right Republicans, has conceded the initiative to those who don't want real heathcare reform. Recent polls show that the public is disillusioned with his leadership on the issue. Sometimes leadership means not compromising and not giving away the farm. If he thinks he is dealing with people who are representing honest differences, he should listen to the kind of inflammatory statements they are making: his policies are designed to terminate older people and are the opening wedge for euthenasia; they are socialism. The folks who brought us the Bush depression with trillions spent and not paid for are talking about his attempts at healthcare reform as burdening future generations with tax liability. How can anyone believe that Republicans who are saying this are worth working with?

They are not.

The vast majority of Republicans in Congress are Bush Republicans who were the tax-cutters and deregulators and conservative ideologues who got us into the mess we're in. Even the handful who are "moderate" (moderate is the new conservative) were enablers who rarely bucked the party's leadership. The majority of Republicans will vote against the centrist judge Sotomayor as they will vote against any bit of progressive legislation before them. It's just the way they are:

"to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee."

They are the party of the rich and the powerful -- and have been for a hundred years -- and will do anything to serve their masters. If Obama doesn't call them out directly in the national media, they will ruin his presidency just as surely as they have been ruining this country.

No comments:

Post a Comment