For the second time I thought that Obama won. Obama, in customary fashion, did not take either opportunity as a chance to gloat. He sees how “sensitive” the Republicans are right now to any imagined slight. Obama allowed them to act like they won; they gloated and they have apparently decided to pretend that, once again, they did not lose.
Obama, since he won, since there was no default, since the Affordable Care Act was not overturned, assumes that he can try to pass another of his agenda items, as any winning politician would believe. He plans to try to get a pass in Congress (both houses) for the Immigration Bill. I have not heard Republicans say one word about the Immigration Bill. They are still fixated on the ACA. That and scaling back the social safety net are all they want to talk about. They are as focused and as cocky as they were before they “let” the government open and the debt ceiling rise. We all hear all the time about what Republicans want. We can almost repeat it like a rosary. On the other hand, we hear very little about what Democrats want. We know they want gun control which the Republicans are rabidly against. We know the Democrats want an Immigration Bill but the Republicans really cannot accept that either although their reasons are a bit (to use a GOP term) squishy. As for other programs that will help the middle class, these programs have not even been organized into the form of bills.
The GOP is polishing off its old budget demands, getting ready to go shaft the American people and make that smaller government happen that they have been craving. I am not against a tighter budget, but I would never trash the social safety net to make that happen. If we want health insurance, Republicans argue, we will have to give up SNAP or Medicare or, and, this is the one they seem to really have in their sights, Social Security. It all makes us crazy. They are indomitable, indestructible; they are like that child size rubber toy with sand in the bottom. You knock it over and it pops right back up with the same goofy expression on its face. Of course, if you poke a hole in the toy it will deflate; not so with these persistent Republicans.
So I guess the thing I don’t get is why every time we, the Democrats, seem to win, it still feels as if we lost! We are still considering the items on the Republican agenda and they have made it very clear, even after capitulating temporarily that job creation, infrastructure improvement, stimulus, and renewable energy are still as far off the table as they have ever been, even though these goals have been important to Americans for the last five years and even though these goals are part of the reason we elected President Obama. He probably cannot even accomplish his goal of universal Pre-K which would help us to be globally competitive.
I am betting that we will see the same obstructionist behavior we have seen since 2008. I am betting the Democrats will still be thwarted by things like the Hastert Rule in the House (it doesn’t matter how Mr. Hastert intended it to be used) and the “fake” filibuster rule, the 60 vote rule in the Senate. Yes we are in debt, but every strategy the GOP has employed has seemed to slow down the economy. The GOP is costing the American taxpayers money and making us pay for their vendetta against Obama and the Democrats. I hope it will be different and that Republicans will find a little humility and a spirit of compromise, that they will stop stonewalling and allow the Democrats to win a few, rather unimportant points, but I expect that we will continue to encounter their anger, their sense of entitlement and their unabated arrogance.
The only thing that will help Obama and the Democrats achieve any of their agenda is to elect Democrats in 2014 (which cannot come fast enough).
This is the view from the cheap seats.
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