Monday, July 19, 2010

Week of 07/19/2010

Obama’s Worst Enemy: His Own Achievements
– by David Matthews 2

It’s sort of strange that comic book heroes can save the day by beating down the bad guy in the middle of downtown Main Street, and then, despite all of the damage done in the battle, there’s no talk about the after-effects. How about the people that had their homes destroyed? Their workplaces demolished? Their belongings ruined? Who ends up paying for that?

It sucks when you win all the battles, but still lose the war.

That apparently is the only kind of victory that politicians are concerned about… the ones on paper.

This is how “politics as usual” deals with a problem… first they get all concerned about it. Then they offer up a new law to “solve” the problem. (Never mind how many other laws are out there that are already dealing with the problem, they HAVE to come up with a new one each and every time.) Then they spend all the time in the world wrangling through it in the legislature to get it passed, making all sorts of deals just to get it through. Then they make a big production about getting it signed into law, claiming “victory” and reassuring the masses that the problem has been “solved” and they will never have to worry about it AGAIN!

Except… the so-called “solution” doesn’t do anything REMOTELY close to resolving the problem. In fact, it sometimes makes things even WORSE!

Somewhere in between concern and signage, the “solution” is silently neutered and neutralized. Lobbying groups re-write the language of the “solution”, deals are brokered, exceptions are written in, additional funding and “earmarks” are slipped in, all to get it to pass. At some point it stops being about actually “solving” the problem and it starts to be about getting in that short-term victory.

And the politicians don’t care either way! All they care about is getting to the big signing ceremony so they can declare the problem to be “solved”. In fact, it even works to the advantage of the career politician, because not really solving the problem means they can go back to it again and again and again.

THIS is “politics as usual”.

And unfortunately, THIS is also how President Barack Obama and his people are dealing with the problems of this nation.

As this commentator predicted back in 2008, President Obama would be on a marathon solution spree… namely the economy, Iraq, and then healthcare. Sure enough, Obama addressed each of these in order, got his little signing ceremony for each of them, and then wrote them off and moved on to the next “problem”.

But they didn’t really GET resolved, did they?

The economy certainly wasn’t “resolved”. In fact, there is every indication that things are getting even WORSE. The fraudulent promise of a “jobless recovery” has not happened. The businesses are not hiring people like they need to. The banks are not lending money like they promised to. Wall Street is rejoicing, certainly, and living it up like nothing ever happened, but Main Street is suffering because of it. The Associated Press is saying that foreclosures this year are already five times higher than the annual average and are expected to double that by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the GOP, the Party of Insurrection, the Party of Misery and Destitution, is out there complaining about debt and the burden all of the people losing their jobs. They’re treating the unemployed as lepers, excess baggage in their grand schemes. They’re blocking all forms of help, letting those that truly need the money just to keep the bills paid to fall off the rolls and go away. Out of sight, out of mind.

Of course, President Obama could step in… but apparently he doesn’t think this is really as big of a problem as it seems to be. After all, didn’t he “save” the economy just last year? Didn’t he get that $700 Billion stimulus package enacted to go with the $700 Billion bailout of Wall Street just a few months earlier? That “should” have fixed everything, right? RIGHT?

Besides, President Obama has SO MUCH on his plate, doesn’t he? He just got his third major reform package passed… which doesn’t really reform anything per se. He has to deal with the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He’s meeting with the G8, the G20, and the G-I-Don’t-Care groups to make sure that the foreign banks keep buying up our T-bills to finance our debts. And if he’s lucky, he might find a kitten up a tree or a puppy in a well to go rescue.

Hey, according to his advisors, he needs to go “solve” immigration next. That’s the “next big solution” for him to deal with. So for all those who need a job and are getting screwed over by the GOP, why don’t you call up Obama’s Chief of Staff… and hopefully you’ll catch Rahm Emanuel in between his gigs of playing kingmaker… and maybe he might pencil you in sometime around the middle of 2012 if you can hang in for that long. Meantime, I’m told selling pencils out of a tin cup is back in style. And at least when you get foreclosed upon while waiting for President Obama to decide whether to make this an issue to address again, you can say that you’re really an “urban outdoorsman” instead of just “homeless”.

Let’s get brutally honest here… President Obama’s greatest enemy is NOT the GOP. Nor is it talk radio, FoxNews, the Democrats in Congress, the liberal base, or, for that matter, the Tea Party and Sarah “Drill Baby Drill You Betcha” Palin. President Obama’s greatest enemy is HIMSELF and this demented idea that the problems of this nation can be solved in a checklist manner.

You can’t just “pass a law” and declare the whole thing “solved”, especially when you’re dealing with forces that simply REFUSE to play nice! What? You mean the banking industry would use the delay in new regulations to screw over the American people as much as possible? You mean healthcare providers would REALLY jack up rates ahead of your reforms and find as many loopholes as possible? Say it ain’t so, Joe Biden! Say it ain’t so!

In truth, you can’t just put a bandage on a problem like the economy and expect it to fix itself. Herbert Hoover tried that and we ended up with the Great Depression. The kind of fix that we need is ongoing. This isn’t a minor problem that be solved with the political equivalent of taking two aspirin and calling back after the elections. This is a catastrophic illness of society, and it needs to be addressed as such.

What makes matters worse for Obama is that this “paper victory” approach of getting the “solution” passed for the sake of getting it passed is precisely the kind of “politics as usual” situation he originally campaigned against. Getting a “solution” passed that only exists for the sake of appearances is not addressing the problem. It’s only giving lip service to it.

Political leaders are always obsessed with legacies, especially when they know that their time is at an end. The thing is, if they REALLY spent their time pushing for and enacting REAL solutions instead of phony ones, they wouldn’t have to worry about what kind of legacy they leave behind. The effects of those kinds of REAL changes would speak for themselves.

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