I must say that I was disappointed to see this diary on top of the Recommended diary list. The prominence it's received at this site - a site to help support and elect Democrats - tells me that the Republicans are winning the spin war and causing real harm with the one thing at which they're good: carrying out psychological warfare against the American people and striking fear into the hearts of Democrats.
How many times did diaries scream with fear last fall about how the McCain/Palin team was cleaning the Obama campaign's clock? How many times during the fall of 2007 did Obama supporters urge his campaign to come out swinging against Hillary Clinton? How many times did Barack Obama seem too cool, almost unconcerned with what was going on around him? More times than we can remember now.
Do I think the Obama team is doing a perfect job right now? No. And I do think the Democrats have not run this whole stimulus campaign perfectly. But there are few things we all need to keep in mind:
- We are 16 days into this administration. Never before has a piece of legislation this large and of this much consequence ever gotten this far this quickly.
- Bill Clinton couldn't get a $16.2 billion stimulus bill passed in 1993. The lack of historical perspective on people's part is pathetic. This shit ain't easy.
- Bush rammed everything through Congress and stifled debate. Sure, it got things passed but what did it result in? The PATRIOT ACT, the Iraq War, his tax cuts, TARP. How did that work out? Obama ran on the need to have more transparency and the debate that is happening now is what Congress used to do decade after decade BEFORE Bush took office. Get used to this messy process - it's called fucking representative democracy. Give it a big ol' welcome back.
President Obama has asked the American people to be patient. He said he won't be a perfect President but he will try to learn from his mistakes. Well, guess what. He lived up to his words: he has not been perfect and has already admitted he screwed up. And yet we have not lived up to our side of the bargain by acting with patience. We haven't done enough to counter the Right Wing reactionary forces that flood Capital Hill. Have each of us flooded Capital Hill with support for Democratic priorities? Or have we sat here blogging, letting ourselves get caught up in a collective panic? Remember, as Bush/Cheney illustrated so well (and Cheney continued to try to do today), fear is the easiest way to motivate the American people. The American people may have chosen hope over fear in November but the re-conditioning isn't complete. They're reacting once again to fear and we're complicit in it.
I understand people's anxiety. I understand people wanting this site to be reality-based. But reality-based does not simply mean seeing only the warts. It also means not letting ourselves get psyched out by Right Wing spinmeisters. It means keeping track of Democrats (and Republicans) shooting down Republican amendments, as this diary points out.
Many here - especially Markos - can't believe President Obama ever considered trying to reach across the aisle. They're surprised that the President ever thought this would bear fruit. I still believe it was the right thing to do on the President's part. If it had worked, great. But the fact that the Republicans couldn't even pretend they wanted to cooperate is out there for everyone to see. No one but Republican lying sacks of shit can say that there has not been a good faith attempt on the President's part at trying to bridge the divide. And I can't help but think that the Republicans will pay a price for this. President Obama's poll ratings may go down a bit. But the Republicans will never go up. In fact I would bet they will plummet even further. We all wish President Obama could maintain his artificially high poll numbers. But every President has artificially high poll numbers before their inauguration. Once the work begins, naturally the poll souffle deflates. People forget that Ronald Reagan only got a second wind for his tax cut package after the March assassination attempt against him caused the nation to rally behind him. President Obama will get his package and will regain/maintain public confidence and I doubt it will take a tragedy to do it.
The President is keeping his cool. We need to follow his example.
Update [2009-2-5 13:27:2 by John Campanelli]: I woke up this morning and this diary I wrote because I didn't want to go to sleep with frustration on my mind is at the top of the Recommended list. It's good to know others were feeling the same frustrtation.
I don't want people to think that this diary is trying to paint a rosy picture. It's not. It's just an attempt at being reality based by adding some perspective to the doom and gloom that's been frustrating me.
However, the best way to insure Right Wing Psychological Warfare does not bring you down is to do our parts to make sure our views are heard. Here is the contact numbers for Senators:
I have already written and called my Senators a week ago letting my concerns be heard. I am about to do it again. This time I am going to express concern about:
- The need for more infrastructure spending. An amendment to increase it by $25 billion was defeated. I want the issue revisited, even if it's a $15-20 billion amount.
- slinkerwink's dairy says they voted down COBRA for unemplyed people. I think that should remain in the bill, perhaps get it included in Conference.
If other people have issues that we need to emphasize in our contacts, reply to my Tip Jar and I'll include them in the diary.
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One last point while I have your attention:
Diogenes2008 has a comment below about a matter I've want to talk about:
I know not enough people will see this comment, but we need to HAMMER on this:
Read what Ken Blackwell, who ran to be the head of the Republican Party had to say about the stimulus:
"Most federal employees, that are not political employees, vote Democrat," Blackwell argued. "Creating 600,000 new jobs might help cement Virginia in the Democrat column, making it harder for Republicans to retake the White House."
They want the stimulus to FAIL. They don't WANT new jobs created because they want power.
If that isn't sick and un-American, I don't know what IS.
This is a common framing you will hear from the Right Wing about ARRP. I've heard it from Limbaugh, Blackwell, and Buchanan. In essence it is saying that Democrats are bribing the American people, especially working people, with government give-aways. Here's the problem: using that same argument, what would you call tax cuts? What about when John McCain wanted to end the gas tax holiday? The fact is that if a policy is good, it will attract votes next time a politician runs. That's democracy. Sure they may come at a cost: tax cuts that are too large or too much social spending will cause deficits and may later require tax hikes or spending vuts. But there is a time and place in the economic cycle for certain tax cuts, spending increases, spending cuts, or even tax hikes. This argument that we are trying to buy their votes can be a very persuasive argument, but we can't let them get away with it. Economists are saying we need to prime the pump big time. And like President Obama is now saying over and over: the American people voted for this vision last November. We need to give them what they voted for.
Update [2009-2-5 13:27:2 by John Campanelli]: To my fellow Connecticut Kossacks, I received am e-mail from Senator Dodd's office about a healthcare forum this coming Saturday in Daunbury. Rep. Chris Murphy will also be in attendance:
On Saturday February 7, Senator Chris Dodd is coming to Danbury because he wants to hear first hand from the people of Connecticut about their views and ideas for reforming our nation's health care system.
Will you join us at Western Connecticut State University to tell Senator Dodd what a solution to the health care crisis should look like?
Representative Chris Murphy will also be joining the discussion and hearing your voices on Saturday. Both he and Senator Dodd will carry your words and ideas back with them to Congress. This is your chance to influence two of our nation's leaders as they work on health care reform.
Western Connecticut State University, 2:30 PM, Danbury - JOIN US!
Saturday's event will focus on prevention, and it is the second in a series of town hall meetings that Senator Dodd is hosting across the state. Videos of the first event, which focused on health care coverage and access, are available for viewing on the CCAG website at this link. Below are the names of people who will be joining Senator Dodd and Representative Murphy at Western Connecticut State University on Saturday:
* Jeneatte DeJesus, Hispanic Health Council
* Johnna Torone, Pitney-Bowes
* Ron Williams, Aetna
Date: Saturday February 7, 2009
Time: 2:30 PM
Place: Western Connecticut State University, Westside Campus Center Ballroom, 43 Lake Avenue Extension, Danbury, CT
I'll be there. Hope to see fellow Kossacks there.
Update [2009-2-5 13:27:2 by John Campanelli]: the girl makes a good point in a comment below: The site Congress.org is a good place to go to keep track of what's going on in Congress and gives people the opportunity to comment on subjects that interest them.