Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Obama's Endless Tax Cuts Meetings With Republicans: Bipartisanship or Capitulation?

President Obama's agreement to hold more meetings with Republicans in order to find ways to solve the Bush tax cuts problem speaks of one thing, and one thing only: that the assured and confident man who was overwhelmingly supported and elected has been broken by the powers that be.

It's a sad spectacle to see this once very calm and confident man stagger from one misstep to another almost sheepishly, and this latest attempt at "bipartisanship" should tell all progressives that our hopes have finally been really and truly dashed. This begs the question, whatever happened to the very effective and intelligent candidate Obama whom we elected to the presidential office?

He clearly is a different person these days. Gone are the confident mannerisms to be replaced by this almost timid and timorous person in whom you can clearly see self doubt. Sadly, also gone with the confidence are all the hopes and aspirations of the tens of millions of Americans who voted to put this man in office because they believed in him. They believed in him because they thought that he believed in himself and, also believed in the same things which they believe in.

Now, everybody is finding out, the hard way, that what we thought we saw in him was nothing but illusions. A mirage seen by people who had been both physically and mentally drained by years and years of denial and hardships. I guess we could be forgiven for falling so easily for the mirage given the condition we were in during that election, and given the need for a drastic change away from the way things operated. I guess we could be forgiven for falling for the first person who mentioned what we all wanted so much. change. I guess we could be forgiven for being very gullible considering all of the above reasons.

However, those of us who doubt a lot saw signs of this debacle early in the term of this president. We saw this lack of guts, or, as I love to put it, lack of the willingness to stand and fight. We saw the queasiness he always seemed to exhibit every time a little resistance was thrown in his direction and it looked like there was going to be a fight. That should have warned us of something like what we have now being a possibility. Maybe, if we had not been completely carried away, and had seen all the warnings, what is happening now wouldn't have been such a huge shock to us.

One example of these early signs that I'm talking about would be during the health care reform bill debate when the president clearly wilted under Republican onslaught, giving in to everything they wanted, even though they had broadcast it to everyone who was willing to listen, that all they wanted was to kill that bill in order to bring about the president's Waterloo. Finally, after he had bent over backward and contorted himself into unbelievable positions, in all directions, in order to accommodate every phony thing they wanted to add, and remove from the bill, he still got no votes from them. He ended up having to pass a very weakened bill through the reconciliation process.

A president with a little more guts and dependability would have passed the bill he wanted especially when it became obvious that all his opponents wanted was to kill his bill. That episode should serve as a warning to those of you out there who are still hopeful that, somehow, the president will impose his will during one of these meetings. We do have a precedent, actually, we have precedents and they all don't look good for your hopes.

Anyway, that is the way it has been since then, the president will bring up a campaign promise, the Republicans will start shouting their opposition and the president will capitulate in a very wimpy manner. If they did it successfully when they were in the minority and had nothing to look forward to except hope, what makes anyone think that now will be different when they have a majority and are simply waiting for January to assert that majority? This President has been defeated mentally and I expect the Republicans to stretch their advantage by making him appear weak and foolish all with an eye to 2012.

Now, the question is,  what can we do as progressives in the face of this great disappointment that has befallen us? How can we regroup and come back after having spent so much physical and mental energy in this fight during which we have received this blindsider of a sucker punch to the guts that has knocked all the wind from us? Do we fight back with even more motivation or do we give up and retreat to our dens to lick our wounds forever? Though hard it may be, I'm all for more motivated fighting because the result of giving up is simply unimaginable.

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