President Obama spent the first two years of his administration practicing political unilateral disarmament. He laid down his arms to reach out to Republicans, and they ripped his arms off and clubbed him over the head with them.
This idea of playing patty-cakes with the Republicans is enormously naïve. When is this administration going to get it through their thick skulls that they will never work with you?!
Now, if attempts at bipartisanship had no downside, then of course I'd be in favor of it. As a theoretical matter, trying to reach out to the other side and reach consensus sounds lovely. But it does have a downside. You don't get to make your own case as you're playing nice with the other side. They're hammering you day in and day out, and you keep your powder dry. You know what that ends up in -- a massacre.
And that's exactly where we are now as the Democrats are looking to get slaughtered in 2010. Gallup says the Republicans have a historically large 10-point lead in generic Congressional matchups. The president has gone from a 68% approval rating to the low 40's. He's lost nearly 25% of the country in his approval rating. That's a disaster.
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So, the president has fallen and he can't get up. But more importantly, he can't figure out why he fell. It's because you let the Republicans push you down and you never even fought back. You only have two months left -- take the f'in gloves off, Queensberry.
Here are how many people you will convince if you don't argue your side of the argument -- absolutely zero. Is the president aware that the Republicans are in the opposition party?
Now, it's almost too late for this election. Partly because it's hard to make that turn at this late juncture and because this is something you should have been doing all along so it's already in people's heads. But much more importantly, this isn't about how you campaign; this is about how you govern. He needs to govern with an agenda of change -- remember, that's what he originally campaigned on? He needs to implement his agenda, whatever the hell it is.
Let me be specific. The CBO just came out with great numbers on the stimulus package. They said that it created up to 3.3 million jobs and added 1.7 to 4.5% to the GDP in the last quarter alone. How many Democrats have you heard talking about that? I haven't heard any. Why?
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Because they're scared of their own shadow. Fox News beat them up on the stimulus package and a poll came out saying people are unsure whether it worked -- and that was enough to send the Democrats scrambling. Hey, you know that you might win on that issue -- if you actually fought!
I'm not convinced that a second stimulus is the way to go. It would depend on what they spent the money on. But if the president is convinced that we should try it, then he should convince us. If he doesn't have the courage of his convictions, how the hell are we supposed to believe in them?
They should brag about what they got right, but it's even more important to lead in the right direction from now on so we can have a reason to get excited about you. If I was the president, I'd nominate Elizabeth Warren, tell the big banks that there's a new sheriff in town and if they don't like it, they can eat dirt. Every poll in the country says the American people can't stand Wall Street -- and they're right.
This isn't about senseless populism. The big banks did rob us blind through the bailouts (AIG still owes us $178 billion that got funneled to the banks on Wall Street) and they continue to do so with nearly zero percent interest rates (and no lending to businesses in the meanwhile). Is the president going to do anything about it? Of course, not. Because that would make some people mad, and Obama hates that. This is the downside of No Drama Obama. A fight has drama, and a fight is what we need now. Punch them in the mouth. Leave a mark.
If the Democrats keep rolling over and being polite to Republicans because Obama wants to chase the myth of bipartisanship, his four years in office will be a colossal disaster. Here's what happens when you lay down your arms in any competitive arena, you get your head removed. Pick your arms up, and throw a goddamned punch.