Sunday, January 31, 2010

SOTU - The Follow-up

President Obama has raised the bar.  Following up his address on Wednesday, his meeting with the Republican house members on Thursday effectively fired a shot across the GOP bow. The debate has been renewed and a fresh round of analysis amongst the pundocracy has ensued.  The Wingnuts loyal opposition on Face The Nation this morning are proclaiming their usual talking points giving the example that a jobs bill "must" be passed by borrowing money, while the Leftists majority party have proposed to use some of the TARP funds to pay for it, which of course was also "borrowed" money.  No difference in the positions, but still a continuing partisan battle.  

We've seen the President and his party leadership dramatically swing to the Right Center. They've co-opted the traditional center positions of the Republican Party and are STILL getting villified.  The Republicans are seeing some political successes and won't try and work with the President. As the talking head from Politico just said, Republicans see their stonewall opposition as a winning strategy to "get back to power."

There you go.  The President is working on policy, governing and doing an uncertain job of connecting with his constituents.  The Republicans have effectively backed themselves into the corner by dedicating themselves to the total destruction of the Obama presidency.  I'm stating the obvious.  The GOP smells blood.  They continue to truly feel that their path to power is complete opposition (they call it "standing on principle") and total polical war.  They may "win" but the country loses because of the unresolved and truly gigantic governance that needs to occur but can't in this atmosphere.

The Dems on the other hand, have been handed the power.  They've got it but can't figure out how to use it.  So far as they continue to pass some low level stuff and manage to win almost every debate on policy, they still LOSE every debate narrative.  The facts, the logic, and the policy are on their side, but they are unable to explain it to the citizenry. The Republicans paint in broad strokes and find a clear narrative that reflects their position.  Unlike the Democrats, they have embraced the populist base of their party and have no qualms about being very obtuse and general with their rhetoric.  They've simply found that they don't NEED to explain themselves in detail.  The've got their story and they're sticking to it, no matter how many times it's refuted by pesky facts or by a President who's trying to work with them.

(I'm watching Rep. Boehner recite the same narrative we've heard thousands of time, the  very same narrative that the President effectively debunked point by point on Thursday.  When invited to list some things that he could say yes too, Mr. Boehner strode off into storyland with a tome on leadership, "government run health care" and "standing on principle."  Sigh..... 

Holy Crap...!! Did Boehner just say that there is "waste and fraud" in the Pentagon Budget?? That NO GOVERNMENT AGENCY should be exempted from spending cuts?  Ice skating in Hell....??  whoa....)

Meanwhile, the country waits.  I'm hoping that folks will hold both parties to account and reinforce the idea over and over that political power does not trump competent governance, that fiscal responsibility includes the entitlements AND the defense industry and that by focusing solely on the attainment of political power, the political parties are turning away from governance.

I'm hoping that folks will begin to realize that this thirst for political power by both parties means that we don't have elections, we have auctions, that our representatives don't represent us, they represent those who pay for their election, and that We the People hold the power to call them out and refuse to be bought or bribed. 

I'm hoping.....

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