On the day after the election, we have learned how much government money could buy. But it was not enough! Some of the Tea Party candidates went down in flames but enough eked out wins to change the complexion of the House and now the Republicans are making plans to repeal all the acts of the last two years and to virtually cancel all the improvements that the Democrats worked so hard to enact. Even in the President’s press conference, we saw not a fighter but a man who is eager to compromise and to “work things out” with the Republicans. But the Progressives have seen enough compromise to last a good long while.
We watched as the single payer health insurance, even the “public option” was compromised off the table. Nobody bothered to mention the correction of the acts by George W. Bush and Company which were shady and blatantly illegal. We were to “let bygones be bygones” in order to salvage what was left of the United States of America. Even that salvaging operation was met by a stone wall which would not allow many proposals to pass in the manner which was intended. We will now see whether the Democratic Congressmen learned anything from the Republican tactics.
It would be simple, since the Democrats still control the Senate, if they were to do just as the Republican majority has done in the last two years. Any bills that they pass in the House can be stopped in the Senate, (if our Senators have th IQ of an angle worm.) One Senator can put a hold on even considering it, thanks to the cockamamey rules that the Republicans persuaded the gullible Democrats to approve. So filibuster it is! There is no way they can get any repeal of the health care act. If the Senate thinks that the President hasn’t the intestinal fortitude to refuse to sign, they should muster the troops and not leave the decision to him.
The Republicans have plans to extend the Bush tax cuts, even for the rich. Let them expire for everybody! That’s what Bush planned when he placed a time limit on them. Folks who made good money when the act was passed don’t have to worry because, now, they aren’t making enough money to worry much about the amount of their income tax. Most of us who are not filthy rich don’t mind paying taxes anyway. We are sufficiently fond of our democracy that we are willing to pay what is needed in order to keep ourselves and our freedoms intact. We consider that as the price we pay for being Americans. Only the wealthy object to paying their dues and, since they have just demonstrated that they can spend tens of billions of dollars in buying congressmen, they can’t expect much sympathy if they have to pay a bit more in taxes.
The Progressives need to pull up our socks and demand that the Congress recognize our determination to prevail at last. We would applaud their actions if they would block any further war funding. (Republicans cry about “too much government spending!) We are tired of seeing our sons, brothers, and fathers being retained against their will in the miserable war zones with no victory in sight after the longest war in American history. Instead of spending more money on war, we should use that money to try to rehabilitate and compensate our soldiers when they come home. Some have spent years in miserable living conditions and the sight of mayhem in the midst of constant threat to life and their repatriation to civilian life will be long and very expensive.
Progressives and many mainstream Democrats will agree with Ed Schultz that the conciliatory attitude of the President in his news conference was disheartening. This is no time for diplomatic playing nice. Anything that might have been accomplished in the next Congressional session will be less than satisfactory due to the increased strength of the opposition. It will take a strong stand by both the Senate and the President in order to make any progress. If that does not happen, we need a Plan B.
We need to look at the possibility of opposing President Obama in the 2012 election. There are some good possibilities waiting in the wings and we need to be looking at them. For instance, both Russ Feingold and Alan Grayson are going to be sitting out the political dance for the next two years and they should be encouraged ro consider running. There are many good Progressives who are qualified and we should be looking at them in the event President Obama proves to be too eager to go along to get along.
We must accept this power change not as an end to our dreams but only as a beginning. We swept Barack Obama into office in 2008 and and we can sweep him back out in 2012. It’s up to him.
This writer is eighty years old and has spent a half century working with handicapped and deprived people and advocating on their behalf while caring for her own working-class family. She spends her “Sunset Years” in writing and struggling with The System.