The fact it was Obama, and not the other guy, who suffered stitches from last weekend’s pick-up basketball game, is almost Shakespearean in its portent.
Of course the much-touted so-called bi-partisan meeting held in the White House on Tuesday was merely a show. The Senate Republicans followed it up today with a letter reasserting their uncompromising stand on all matters except what they want.
What they want more than anything else is the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich.
It has nothing whatsoever to do with creating jobs or boosting the economy. Those tax cuts existed through the entire past decade, and working Americans actually lost ground in their personal incomes, up until the Bush policies drove the entire global economy into a ditch.
It has nothing to do with reducing the size of government. An extension of the tax cuts will cost $700 billion, ballooning the national deficit.
Still, it appears now that the Obama administration is willing to cave into this GOP pressure, in which the extension of unemployment benefits for the middle class are being held hostage, as well as a continuation of tax breaks for the middle class.
Just as Obama caved on the “public option” in his health care reform initiative, he is now about to hand the GOP a major victory by supporting an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich.
This will only redouble the Republicans’ thirst for blood, as well as discourage Obama’s political base.
Obama is now playing like he has his back to the wall and is losing. He needs to wake up and see the kind of majorities he still has in Congress and there needs to be a full-court press to achieve as much as possible in the next 30 days while the majority remains in place.
Had his health care initiative included the public option a year ago, it would have been much more popular with the public and difficult for Republicans to roll back. It would have been a strong campaign issue for the Democrats, not the Republicans, in the elections last month.
But yes, being stronger-willed will incur a greater wrath from the other side. But no matter how much Obama and the Democrats commit to “compromising,” the more the Republicans insist they’re being intransigent, nonetheless. Nothing but total victory for the Republican program of radical libertarian values will satisfy them.
Without a doubt, the Tea Party element of the GOP is nothing but its more radical and unsavory wing, unleashed by top-level social engineers acting on behalf of Wall Street and its allies in the military-industrial complex.
Stepping back and looking at a wider sweep of history, it is also clear that today the nation is far nearer the brink of total absorption by the radicalized interests of these elements than ever before in its history.
What was considered off-the-wall and extremist only 20 years ago is now mainstream within the GOP. Voices of moderation have been silenced or driven out of policy-making positions. The GOP of even the Reagan administration, with its Howard Baker, James Baker, William Weld, Colin Powell and Bob Dole types, has been eclipsed by a far more radically libertarian element.
Although the GOP has always been the preferred political instrument of the captains of American industry bent on crushing the influence of labor unions (matched on the social side with right-wing fundamentalist religious institutions), the party has morphed into a wicked, immoderate and unapologetic tool of the rich against everyone else in society. Has no one noticed this?
It is not any longer your father’s GOP. Figures like Sen. John McCain have moved far to the bigoted, hateful right in the context of this trend. He may not even be aware of how he has become a shadow of his former self.
Yes, Sarah Palin is a very viable candidate to win the GOP presidential nod for the 2012 election. She is being groomed and packaged for this and will be very difficult for Obama to defeat if she is nominated.
While the rich will get richer, most Americans will begin to see their Social Security, Medicare and other benefits erode, average household income levels continue to slide and will be boxed in further and further by “underwater” mortgages and other forms of structural debt.
But who cares? Go Redskins!