The Audacity of a New Hope
This post is more just a general clearinghouse of some of the more interesting articles I’ve come across lately, and a bit of a call for a ray of hope, somewhere along down the line.
First up is this diatribe by Camille Paglia [bio]. She takes no prisoners on either side.
By foolishly trying to reduce all objections to healthcare reform to the malevolence of obstructionist Republicans, Democrats have managed to destroy the national coalition that elected Obama and that is unlikely to be repaired. If Obama fails to win reelection, let the blame be first laid at the door of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who at a pivotal point threw gasoline on the flames by comparing angry American citizens to Nazis. It is theoretically possible that Obama could turn the situation around with a strong speech on healthcare to Congress this week, but after a summer of grisly hemorrhaging, too much damage has been done. At this point, Democrats’ main hope for the 2012 presidential election is that Republicans nominate another hopelessly feeble candidate. Given the GOP’s facility for shooting itself in the foot, that may well happen.
I would mention one quick point of fact that Pelosi was just pointing out some of the more absurd rhetoric that many townhall and tea-bag protesters have adopted (parodied to wonderful effect by Tom the Dancing Bug here). Indeed, it was an illustration of Godwin’s Law and the sad fact that pointing out what others are doing in a ham-fisted way can often make it seem like one is doing it themselves.
I also disagree with her 2012 predictions, at least for the moment. I wouldn’t mind being wrong on this.
Having said all that about the failures of my own party, I am not about to let Republicans off the hook. What a backbiting mess the GOP is! It lacks even one credible voice of traditional moral values on the national stage and is addicted to sonorous pieties of pharisaical emptiness. Republican politicians sermonize about the sanctity of marriage while racking up divorces and sexual escapades by the truckload. They assail government overreach and yet support interference in women’s control of their own bodies. Advanced whack-a-mole is clearly needed for that yammering smarty-pants Newt Gingrich, who is always so very, very pleased with himself but has yet to produce a single enduring thought. The still inexplicably revered George W. Bush ballooned our national deficits like a drunken sailor and clumsily exacerbated the illegal immigration debate. And bizarrely, the hallucinatory Dick Cheney, a fake-testosterone addict who spooked Bush into a pointless war, continues to be lauded as presidential material.
Which to me really sets up the point: the Democrats might be a bit reluctant to push forward their own agenda, but at least that agenda is rational. As I mentioned a while back, even if the Democrat do try and compromise on the health care legislation, the Republicans are so worked up into a fervor by their fringe, now their Beck-led core, they can’t support anything the Obaminator supports without facing the wrath of the Fauxrage.
This problem is pinpointed in Tom Friedman’s horribly titled op-ed, “Our One-Party Democracy“.
The fact is, on both the energy/climate legislation and health care legislation, only the Democrats are really playing. With a few notable exceptions, the Republican Party is standing, arms folded and saying “no.” Many of them just want President Obama to fail. Such a waste. Mr. Obama is not a socialist; he’s a centrist. But if he’s forced to depend entirely on his own party to pass legislation, he will be whipsawed by its different factions.Look at the climate/energy bill that came out of the House. Its sponsors had to work twice as hard to produce this breakthrough cap-and-trade legislation. Why? Because with basically no G.O.P. representatives willing to vote for any price on carbon that would stimulate investments in clean energy and energy efficiency, the sponsors had to rely entirely on Democrats — and that meant paying off coal-state and agriculture Democrats with pork.
Indeed, when we look at the general response of the Beck-led nutjob Republican core, we see the same old mantra being brayed at high volume.
GLENN: Let me tell you something. For those of you who think climate change is real and manmade, you should know this, that — I mean, you don’t have to be a socialist, I guess, to believe in global warming. It’s just that almost everyone who does believe in global warming is a socialist. I mean, believes in manmade global warming that now can be fixed and reversed or whatever. And we’ve got the tools to fix it. Almost everybody who says, “I’ve got a plan to fix it” is a socialist.
So that’s about where we stand now. A lot of serious, deep, and long term problems to solve. One party that actually can see them but is afraid to do anything serious about them, and one party that seems to only see a black dude in the Oval Office and can’t come to terms with it. Oh yeah, I, like Jimmy Carter, went there.
“I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African American,” Carter said. “I live in the South, and I’ve seen the South come a long way, and I’ve seen the rest of the country that shared the South’s attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African Americans”
Continued Carter, who is famously from Georgia: “And that racism inclination still exists. And I think it’s bubbled up to the surface because of the belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It’s an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply.”
Just to be clear here, I don’t think all Republicans are racist, nor do I think anybody who disagrees with Obama or the Democratic policies are racist. Nor do I think people who don’t understand science, or history are racist .
I do think, however, that the level of vitriol, disrespect, and suspicion aimed at the President has a serious racist element. Gone is the notion of respectful disagreement. It has been replaced with outright hatred. Gone is the notion of “we know you think this is best, but believe you are wrong.” It has been replaced with “He’s not even an American and we need to take our country back!”
Gone is the notion that the Office of the President should be respected, in any way form or fashion.
It took George W. Bush nearly four years, and one terribly misguided war to reach this level of opposition. It took Obama eight months of doing what he campaigned on to reach the same level of opposition. There is obviously something else at work here.
Such was the audacity of Barack Obama, and those who voted for him. Thinking that somehow, some way, those that lost the election would accept their defeat and work to re-invent a party that had lost its way in the support of torture and war and an absurd approach to health care.
Instead we got the Party of No. A party led by those that want to see our country fail. A party that sees fear around every corner, and steadfastly refuses to acknowledge their own failure, and complicity, in the problems we now face.
A party that, indeed, refuses to accept we even face these problems, and just keeps shouting “Liar!!” at those who painstakingly point them out. And just keep shouting “No!!” at any and all proposed solutions simply because of who they are proposed by.
I hate to break to to you folks, but its not going to work. It’s going to continually marginalize you, which is just going to make you angrier, which is just going to marginalize you further.
We need a sane and rational opposition party for our system of government to work. We need someone to propose *better* ideas, and work to get those ideas implemented. We need the sane Republicans to take back over their party.
And we need it soon. *That*, my friends, is an audacious new hope. And I hold it dear.
[Pic source Our Nerd President brandishes a lightsaber after a fencing demonstration on the White House lawn today during a photo op to promote Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic Games.]
 That first link is for the climate change deniers. The second link is for the “OMG!! Obama is hiring commie czars” people.