Okay. I get it.
The bloom is off the rose. Obama is losing that fresh New President smell.
And as we close in on the midterms, the united front we had against the GOP is now frayed and divided into two camps.
“Are you crazy? Obama is the greatest President since FDR! We got Health Care Reform! Wall Street Reform! The Stimulus saved us from a depression! We don’t torture anymore! We’re pulling out of Iraq! Obama’s the man!!“
And on the other side of the fence.
“We’re still in Afghanistan! The Stimulus wasn’t big enough and we’re headed for a double dip recession! Obama screwed us on the Public Option that could have driven down costs and the bill still funnels billions to the Insurance Companies. Gitmo isn’t shut down yet. Bush and Cheney still walk as free men! Obama sucks!!!“
And you want to know the punch in the gut part of the whole thing? Both sides are right.
Obama has had a run of legislative successes that in normal times would be the envy of any other President.
But since these are not normal times, the wins he’s had, while ranging from merely good to excellent, still seem insignificant to the problems we still have ahead of us. Not helping matters is the ongoing disaster in the Gulf combined with Obama’s failure (And make no mistake, it was a failure.) to use it to push a climate change bill through congress. Add to that the waffling on nominating Elizabeth Warren to head the New Consumer Protection agency and the recent ACLU report blasting him for continuing possible abuses from the Bush/Cheney years has left our side demoralized.
On the other side, you have independents legitimately concerned about the Economy mixed in with a GOP that has gone (For lack of a more clinical term.) batshit crazy. And they are fingering their voter registration cards like holy rosary beads. They can’t wait to get to the voting booth to throw the bastards out. Which would be fine except this time around, we’re considered the bastards. (Which is wrong. Except for the exceptions where they’re right.) And we’re on the verge of letting them do it because we’re disappointed in Obama and feel like punishing him. Which, again, I understand.
There’s just one problem with that strategy. This election is not about Obama!
Seriously, he’s not running for another two years so this is not whether we like him or not. This is a mid-term. It’s not about the big chair, it’s about all the small seats that make up The House and Senate. We lose either one of those, odds are that not only will we not see more forward motion on anything, the stuff we actually made progress on might get pushed back.
So you feel like punishing Obama for disappointing you? Fine, wait two years. But right now, it’s all hands on deck!
Let me offer up a slice of autobiographia to let you know where I’m coming from.
Back in 1996, I was still going to college at SOU in the Theater Dept. I had just gotten back for the voting station (Mail in ballots in Oregon hadn’t started up yet.) where I had just voted for Bill Clinton for the second time around and I was talking to my buddy, Mitch Jones. And I was going on about how great I felt about voting, being part of the process, making my voice heard, etc, etc.
And Mitch fixed me with what I assumed to be his droopy eyed version of a steely glare and said “They’re all cocksuckers.”
To which I replied, with all sincerity, “Yeah, but Goddamn it, Clinton’s our cocksucker!“.
(Of course, he turned out to be more of a cocksuckee but that’s besides the point.)
My point is that this ain’t my first time at the rodeo. Everybody disappoints if you know them long enough. And perfection is not so much a goal but a distant star that you aim for,. So the end of the day, you go by points. And like it or not, the Democrats are at least making the effort. The House under Pelosi has been churning out strong legislation and it’s not her fault that the GOP in the Senate (Aided by Harry Reid’s failure to keep the Blue Dogs in line.) have been using the Filibuster to hobble them like a South African mineworker.
You think handing back the House to the GOP and letting John Boehner take Pelosi’s job is going to improve that situation?
I’ve said this before and I will say it again. The current incarnation of the GOP can’t be trusted to run a Goddamn lemonade stand let alone this country. No new Jobs Bill. No new green energy bill. And all the subpoenas you can eat… (H/T to Paul “Life of the party” Krugman.)
The last time a Democrat sat in the White House, he faced a nonstop witch hunt by his political opponents. Prominent figures on the right accused Bill and Hillary Clinton of everything from drug smuggling to murder. And once Republicans took control of Congress, they subjected the Clinton administration to unrelenting harassment — at one point taking 140 hours of sworn testimony over accusations that the White House had misused its Christmas card list.
Now it’s happening again — except that this time it’s even worse. Let’s turn the floor over to Rush Limbaugh: “Imam Hussein Obama,” he recently declared, is “probably the best anti-American president we’ve ever had.”
To get a sense of how much it matters when people like Mr. Limbaugh talk like this, bear in mind that he’s an utterly mainstream figure within the Republican Party; bear in mind, too, that unless something changes the political dynamics, Republicans will soon control at least one house of Congress. This is going to be very, very ugly.
In short, expect the second half of the Clinton years only with a resurgence of racial animosity replacing the blowjob jokes.
Yet me make this clear, I’m no party hack. There are clearly some Democrats that I wouldn’t mind see tossed out. (Take a bow, Blanche Lincoln, Ben Nelson and Max Baucus!) Hell, if his opponent wasn’t so fond of sweet, rapey lemonade, I could live with Reid getting the broom. But we lose too many, we lose the House. We lose the house, that’s the ball game.
So, you ask. What do we do about this?
The absolute least you can do this election. Get your ass to your polling place the day of and vote. Hell, if you live in Oregon, you don’t even have to leave your house. You can vote by mail.
But what if I don’t feel like voting?
Fuck you. It’s not just a right, it’s your Goddamn civic duty! Your grandfather left six feet of small intestine in a ditch in Europe just so you can vote. You can choose not to. But if you complain about how things turned out and you’re in arm’s length of me, I will punch you in the fracking throat out of general principal!
I’m in a state/district with a blue dog Democrat is running. He’s awful but his opponent is much worse.
Tough call. And believe me, it’s one thing for me to tell you to vote. I can’t ask you to vote for someone that’s awful. (Believe me, I feel for the people of Nevada. Between spineless Harry Reid and Batshit Crazy Sharron Angle…Well, I’ve said it before. Sophie had an easier choice.) All I can say is do your homework and make the calculation yourself.
Also, keep in mind, there are plenty of down ticket races that also get decided. Who you want for a sheriff of judge. Ballot measures, Bond measures. As much angst as the national races cause us, the local stuff counts too.
So stop your damn bellyaching and at the very least, VOTE!
2. ENCOURAGE YOUR FRIENDS TO VOTE!
And when I say “Encourage”, I mean “Nag at them to get their sorry asses to the polls and vote.” Ask them if they think it’s fair that Nanci Pelosi loses her job while Harry Reid keeps his. Or remind them of the Texas GOP that wants to outlaw sodomy for everyone. And when they say “Sodomy”, they mean blowjobs!
Or maybe just play part of Glenn Beck’s 8/28 rally. Hell, they’ll leave skid makes on the way to the polling place.
3. WORK AND/OR RAISE MONEY FOR THE CANDIDATES YOU SUPPORT!
If you live in a state/district that has a strong Democratic candidate. Or at the very least a blandly appealing one who at least has his or her’s heart in the right place, help out. Send money, knock on doors. If you can’t do a lot, at least do something.
I live in the OR-02 district where Greg Walden has been a congressman since 1999. And because of the way the district is set up, he has the reliable slice of red in what is otherwise a blue state. Running against him is a Democrat named Joyce Segers. I actually have an ActBlue page set up for her here.
I’ve had at least one friend of mine chide me for putting any effort into raising money for this woman. He says it’s a waste. She’s cannon fodder. The seat is Walden’s until he either quits or dies. My response?
So fucking what?
My job as a participant in a democracy is not to work for a candidate I know will win. My job is to work for the candidate who best embodies my views and will translate those views into workable public policy.
I like Joyce Segers. I want her to win.
But I will settle for making Walden feel like he’s been in a real fight!
Look, I know a lot of young people out there feel disappointed in Obama. Hell, I’m disappointed.
But disappointment should not lead to surrender. If anything, we need to work harder!
You say the Democrats don’t deserve our support. I’m saying deserving got nothing to do with it!
We either forge ahead and reject the past. Or surrender to despair.