Monthly Archives: December 2010

Is Your Hypocrisy Detector Working?

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Obama’s desire to rise above petty partisanship to bring the country together was, undoubtedly, what won a lot of right-leaning independents to vote for him in the presidential election of 2008. 

Interestingly, it became a problem that he actually practiced this philosophy after being elected because it  failed miserably!  The resulting  legislation was weakened to the point of impotence in the name of “changing the tone in Washington.”  The stimulus bill was loaded with tax-cuts in order to win a few republican votes. (And we all know Obama  never got those votes. ) He then attmpted  to “reach across the aisle” on health care reform, and abandoned the public option

Many believed the public option to be the most important part of the health care bill because it was the seed that would completely change the system… Had democrats stood their ground and not voted for it, the bill might have died, but everyone would have understood which party was responsible for its failure and  that health care still needed to be addressed and that if any president wanted to accomplish anything in the arena of reform there would have to be a public option.  

It’s not really a surprise that the sole mission of the Republican party was to see Obama’s presidency fail, is it?  It should be obvious  that it was never the intention of the Republican Party to work with democratic President Obama.  They had a different plan and stuck to it. On the other hand, the Democratic Party, because it is filled with moderates and centrists, never draws a line in the sand and sticks to it!   

It’s a challenge for the left to be fair-minded when the far right appears to have no such compunction In public policy, the key point is the RESULT. Thus  the lesson…Obama’s take-away should be; it isn’t about changing policy, it’s about presenting the logic of solutions.  It’s hard to argue with logic.  Which is why it’s so much easier to focus on quick fixes and ready results, whether in the form of mid-term elections or quarterly earnings reports.

The American people have developed amnesia and President Obama, as he said,  “took a shellacking” in the mid-term election.  Let’s hope  he learned the importance of communication about  what is being done. 

In other words, results must be spun as positively as possible in relationship to the recent past because it’s not actual results that you’ll be evaluated on, rather the appearance of results!   Obama won the presidency just after an apocalypse.  We came close to witnessing the complete destruction of our economic system.  recovery from such an event will take at least another 18 months.  If it happens on schedule, Obama will float to reelection on a cloud of patriotism even though some people will hate him and call him a communist.  If it doesn’t happen, he’ll repeat the single terms of Bush 1 and Jimmy Carter…and some people will hate him and call him a communist.

There is a viscerally, critically important distinction to be made between what people ARE and what people DO.   In politics, not “doing” constitutes being a failure.  Turning around an economic cataclysm that was years, even decades, in the making will  require years of smart, long-term planning and making tough decisions as well.  Meanwhile, until we all take the long view, we’ll all have to settle for the illusion of forward progress.

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