Why is Obama getting so much crap? That's what I ask every day. The guy has to deal with what is likely history's most obstructive Senatorial minority. He has to deal with a Democratic Party that's still pulling itself up from the attitudes and expectations of multidecade decline into the minority.
Worse yet, he's not getting credit for so many of the things he has managed to do. As bad as his situation in Congress is, he's gotten a bill for Healthcare reform through both houses of that stewpot of legislative molasses. The last few yards would be a formality, if it weren't for an astoundingly stupid bit of political bad luck. He helped save us from a second great depression, Stimulated the economy with the Stimlus package.
And yet people on this site treat him like scum, like a traitor to his party. Why? Well, I have theory, whether people like it or not: We took so much shit over the last decade that we've lost the ability to be patient.
There are actual neurological tests that show that if you force self-control on people long enough, they'll start losing it in other areas. Some folks gave people a very hard test that required people to act with discipline, then sat them in front of a plate of cookies, telling them not to take one.
The folks who had the hardest time before, had the hardest time controlling themselves.
That finding, really, would be intuitive to many of us in tough situations. The temptation to indulge is greatest when it seems that restraint is futile.
Times are really tough now, and we're looking for an outlet, sometimes even a scapegoat. For years, the Democrats were the minority, and for decades, there wasn't really a liberal in charge in the White House. We couldn't expect anybody in Washington to do what we wanted to be done.
We want it now.
Thank you very much.
Yes, we're tired of waiting. We want Obama to pas a two trillion, not 800 billion dollar stimulus. We want him to immediate repeal DADT. We want him to legalize Gay Marriage. We want him to push Financial Reform through, we want him to yank us out of those Damn wars, close Gitmo, slash the Defense Department Budget in half, Make the Senate Minority of the Republicans stop their evil blockade and start acting like Democrats once did. We want him to pass the...
Well, good God, we want him to do everything we've wanted to do for a generation! And if he doesn't deliver it to us, wrapped up in a bow?
Well, then he's a traitor or worse, a centrist. If he doesn't do it immediately, if he doesn't succeed in backing down a Obstructive Senate Minority the likes of which even LBJ never had to deal with, if he doesn't rule Washington as King Obama II, then he's not living up to expectations.
Never mind what he's been able to do, folks are saying "We're just holding him accountable!"
Truth is? No. We're not holding him accountable, really. If we were holding him accountable, we would take account of both the bad AND the good. We would be more forgiving of the guy who has to turn this ship of state, heading for a field of icebergs, towards safety.
We're not holding Obama accountable for his actions. We're holding him accountable for the actions of the man we are more or less never going to be able to hold accountable to our satisfaction: George Walker Bush, the 43rd President of the United States. And we'll do it because we believe that while Bush would not listen to us, Obama must. All the frustration Bush was too stupid or too callous to care about, Obama is listening to, must listen to.
Do I suggest we do nothing to hold him accountable? No, what I suggest we do is that we understand the monumental task set before all of us, including that poor guy we somehow snookered into cleaning up after that failure who preceded him, the guy who must now at least have some buyer's remorse for the position he fought for in 2008. If we're going to hold him accountable, let's be fair and constructive, not tear him down arbitrarily, or maliciously.
Obama's not been shy about asking for our help, telling us that it's necessary that we have to be part of the change ourselves. But somehow, we've treated that as just inspirational rhetoric.
Well, let me submit a crazy theory here: he was serious. He sees the landscape, sees the way things going, and he understand that things will not simply happen because of him, and what he does. One man can be ignored, discredited, pulled down form the pedestal, etc.
Try doing that with huge chunks of the American public. You can't diffuse or oppose their power so easily. Even if you succeed, you may just be setting yourselves up for pitchforks and torches in due time, rather than getting what you want.
We want an awful lot, and we want it now. I know how y'all are thinking, because I feel that urgency, feel that frustration myself.
If we're not careful, though, we may only succeed in turning that dissatisfaction and frustration into a tool of the very people who are forcing that frustration.
The Republicans are great at twisting populist sentiments around, getting people to do things that aren't in their interests so they can further their own. If we stumble in there, into this next election like this, we may only end up handing Republicans more victories, and ourselves, further frustration.
For years, during the last decade, it was our anger, our fear, and our frustration that drove us to defeat the Republicans. Now we have to watch out lest our anger, our fear, and our frustration defeat ourselves. We have to summon up the strength to restrain ourselves, and while we push strongly for reform, push persistently, and patiently. Why? Because that may be the only way we get this change around its quickest.
I think we have it within us. We should have it within us. It's what's going to spell the difference between a brief indian summer of liberalism, and a long springtime and summer of the party.