Column, 707 words

Recipe for Fighting the Party of No

Obama should slim down his agenda to two things: health care and jobs.

Donald Kaul

I imagine President Obama is kicking himself for not working harder in the 2008 election so that his party could have won majorities in both houses of Congress.

If he had, the Democrats would control both the House and Senate, and he could have made good on all his campaign promises: health care reform, bank regulation, global warming initiatives, and the rest.

He could have just called up his troops on the Hill and gotten things done, like George W. Bush did in 2001. Of course, Bush got 48 percent of the vote and Obama only got…what was it? Just 53 percent.

Bipartisanship CartoonWait a minute, that can’t be right. Didn’t Bush claim a mandate as he sent the nation sailing off into two wars, while he and his Congress evaporated a budget surplus and ran up a deficit of a trillion dollars?

How come he could do all of that and Obama, who actually won his election without help from the Supreme Court, can’t get a parking ticket fixed in Washington? Why hasn’t he been able to give us what he promised in 2008?

There is but one answer to that question: Republicans.

The Republicans have this rather bizarre notion about the position of the minority party in our government. They think that it is the duty of the minority to make sure that absolutely nothing happens while they’re out of power. That way, they figure, people will eventually get tired of nothing happening and vote them back into power.

I told you it was bizarre, but it seems to be working.

They have opposed virtually everything that Obama has suggested during his first year in office and they have done it unanimously. It has been decades since this country has produced a major political party in which not a single elected official has a mind of his or her own.

Russia? Yes. China? Of course. But the United States? You’ve gotta be kidding me. We’re the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. You could look it up. We don’t march in lock step.

You’d think that the alert American people would take a party like that and throw them out into the middle of the street where they could get run over by a garbage truck.

But no, those free, brave people seem to be listening to the siren song of “No.” They’re losing faith in Obama. He’s falling in the polls. Fire-breathing right-wing candidates around the country are making headway.

They elected a flat-Earth Republican to fill Teddy Kennedy’s Senate seat in Massachusetts last month. A while, later a Republican candidate for governor in Texas was asked whether she thought the government had a role in planning the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers. She said the matter needed further investigation.

And she’s the candidate rising in the polls.

OK, I know. It’s Texas. If it weren’t for weirdo politics, Texas wouldn’t have any politics at all. But still, it’s frightening to see that kind of irrationality beginning to take hold.

I think it’s time for Obama to abandon his futile efforts at bipartisanship and face reality. The Republicans don’t want bipartisan solutions to anything. If they can’t have things their way (tax cuts for the rich and corporate, being their way) they’ll continue to throw sand in the gears of government and bank on the American people blaming Obama for the resulting stasis.

I think the president should slim down his agenda to two things: health care and jobs. He should craft an explanation of his health-care plan that is no more than three sentences, perhaps four.

I don’t care if it’s a complex plan. Simplify. And if that doesn’t do it, oversimplify. Then do the same thing with a jobs bill.

Sell them to the American people. If you sell the American people, Congress will follow.

And if it doesn’t, that garbage truck comes along after every election, trolling for losers.

Minuteman Media columnist Donald Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.