Will these people succeed, at least, in perverting public opinion to the point of actually sabotaging efforts to get the American economy back on track? That's my fear. I watch them nightly as they gather around the media's audience-hungry microphones to voice their opposition to everything and anything the Democratic administration proposes. They mimic the language of their patron, Saint Ron, whose fiscal policies started the downward slide that persists until this day. Based in a now-discredited ideology, their views are so far removed from the practical realities we face as to be laughable to those who chose to look forward with eyes open to a sustainable future that will support the lives of all Americans, not just the rich and privileged, not just the corporate elite.
I choose to believe that Obama is timing things right, as he has done ever since emerging on the national scene. He has worked hard to fulfill his campaign promises for bipartisan cooperation. Some are saying that he has worked too hard, that he has bent over too far backwards. What I have been watching, though, is a well-timed shift from carrot to stick, from seduction to coercion, from persuasion to quiet but form enforcement. I am choosing to trust that he and his team, with the support only of Democrats, if need be, will prevail. There have been compromises I myself would have preferred to have seen unmade, but which simple pragmatism may have necessitated. It may be, for example, as some have said, that the original ante on tax cuts was too high, leaving too little room for bargaining. I am no politician, and certainly no economist--but I do believe in the validity of the Middle Path. It is not so much a matter of who's right and who's wrong, but of what works.
The Republican party line has not worked. Not even the rants of a Rush Limbaugh or the coy panderings of a Sarah Palin will make it work. We progressives have long poured scorn on those who most nearly represent our views, for lacking the courage to match their deeds to our ideals. We now observe the spectacle of Republicans cowering before the ideological extremism of their own extremist flank, and the sight is certainly no prettier from a different angle. Talk about spineless--masquerading as spine!
And yet... what's on the news this morning? Ten minutes of Newt Gingrich comparing Obama (unfavorably, of course) with Ronald Reagan. And then more minutes of one of those news pundits explaining how Obama has failed to get his message across to the American people.
I very much fear, friends, that we are well on the road to self-destruction, on the horns of our own bloody righteousness.