THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think John Boehner and I and Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are going to have to sit down and work together...
"The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."
--Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
I don't enjoy bashing a President I have been a supporter of until this summer. I sincerely wish the President every luck in the new, more adversarial political climate. He will need it. But there is a tragic disconnect between the President's stated intention of "working with" the opposition, and the leaders of the opposition vowing to work for his ouster in 2012. As their NUMBER ONE PRIORITY no less (please excuse the descent into all-caps, but I mean c'mon....).
Simply stated, if the President is to be taken at his word and the logical extension of his statement taken to the last degree, it means he is willing to work for his own ouster from office. This represents a completely untenable political reality, one that signals utter catastrophe for the country.
Mr. President, we are waiting. We did not hear in your recent remarks any sense of regret at having marginalized and let down so many of your most ardent supporters. We did not hear a willingness to reconsider the wisdom of sending out minions on hippie-punching errands. We have been tough on shortcomings in your policies, but we have been staunch supporters nevertheless. Because we are the only constituents in the country who are animated by the notions of what will happen to society when people like Mitch McConnell are given sway. We would vote for a potted fern if it meant keeping religious fundamentalist proto-fascists away from the reins of power. We take it personally when you are attacked from the right by outright racists who can barely be bothered to disguise their animosity in publicly palatable form. We are stricken, demoralized, outraged, and above all concerned for our futures. Are you?
I don't have a lot of independently verifiable links to proffer in support of a thesis. I'm not a scholar, a journalist, a professor, a political professional. I am not going to pull quotes describing patterns of behavior. Basically I'm just some dumb-ass schlub wondering if his country is heading into incontrovertible decline. All I want is for one question to be considered: Mr. President, in vowing to "work with" your sworn enemies, are you going to assist them in pulling you down?
I know that there is a certain formality that comes with addressing the public after a political "shellacking." I know that it is standard to ask for comity and collaboration, and to make a pretense that all Americans are working with each other toward a common goal. However we are in an unprecedented political climate right now. Desperate times call for desperate measures. The political opposition has made a calculated decision to eschew civility. They did so IMMEDIATELY upon your installation in the White House, Mr. President, especially when the ENTIRE Republican body politic voted against the health care reform package. Mitch McConnell's recent remarks about his desire that you serve only one term are merely the latest exponent of an overt campaign to obstruct your agenda and fight against your political fortune with every means at their disposal, 24/7. Now, with the change in majority in the House, they smell blood, they are taunting, threatening subpoenas, threatening votes on "straight repeal, repeatedly." Given these and a host of similar statements (to say nothing of years of racist emails, accusations of anti-Americanism, calling into question your citizenship), how much longer is this farcical pretense that common ground is possible to achieve going to play out, Mr. President?
I am not a poker player. I don't typically spend a lot of time watching the WSOP on cable tv late at night (though I'm not above playing a few rounds on my iPhone). But I think I know when a bluff is being called when I see one. Mr. President, my challenge to you today is to tell us whether you are you going to fold, or are you going to see and raise? I'm prepared to go All-In, what choice do I have? But I need to know you have my back Mr. President, and I need to know it now.