Saturday, February 13, 2010

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

I might have had it with the Democratic party.

No, this is not a defection to the GOP. (Never!) Nor is it an abandonment of President Obama. On the contrary, the Democratic Party is becoming as much of an obstacle to our president as the Republican Party. (Well, that's a slight exaggeration.) And this is maddening. For the last year, I thought I was watching the GOP in a slow death spiral. I've now come to believe both parties are in the same death spiral -- the only real difference is the Democrats have one, lonely man trying to hold them up.

Last night I had to endure a spiel from a NYC high school teacher about what a phony, crappy leader President Obama is -- claiming that Obama was a weak, "horrible president."

I had to restrain myself from slugging the guy in the gut and shouting "Fuck you, asshole!"

The criticism of Obama from the left and right of the Democratic Party is literally driving this schlub to distraction. Both sides are complete morons.

Yes, there are large elements of the progressive side of the party who have made the realization that Obama is our last best hope. That he is their best bet for getting some kind of health care reform passed. That he will be the best way to dismantle the Bush era assault on civil liberty. That he will end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan sensibly and intelligently.

But there are large swaths of progressive idiots (like NYC teacher) who would rather sink the ship than not do things their way. (In this, they resemble the Republicans.)

"He's shown no leadership!" NYC teach said. "If Hillary Clinton were president, at least she'd do battle with the Republicans, and I think we'd have healthcare right now!"

All emotion -- not a whit of thoughtful analysis.

Let's forget, for the moment, that Barack Obama's presidency gets an automatic B-plus because he's not the reckless lunatic we had 13 months ago. Let's forget just how close to the brink the economy was when Obama took over. Let's forget the quick, smart and extraordinarily savvy steps he took to get the stimulus bill passed. Let's forget that the GOP is acting with complete and utter disregard for the consequences.

Let's just talk about healthcare.

Do these people not remember the last time HRC tried to ram through healthcare? Clearly not. Or, if they do, they'll say something along the lines of "Well, she learned from her mistakes." My answer to that is: Barack Obama has played healthcare like he, too, learned from the Clinton Administration's mistakes.

The big criticism was that the Clintons (and HRC specifically) was too authoritarian about the way they presented a take-it-or-leave-it bill to congress. The Clintons convened conferences of doctors and healthcare experts and overruled a lot of their suggestions.

The result was that the bill didn't even reach the floor.

Obama made sure congress had a big role in drafting the legislation, and made sure that the finished product passed the smell test for doctors and health care economists. There has been little (if any) criticism from those quarters about the finished product. Almost everybody insists that these are very good pieces of legislation.

Look: I'm somewhat pessimistic about the chances for healthcare reform after the special election in Massachusetts. I'd say the chance of it happening have tilted towards defeat rather than victory. If and when it dies, even a stalwart supporter like me will concede that Obama suffered a major defeat.

But I still feel that the only reason that this bill has to fail is if Democrats refuse to sack up. (Which, so far, appears to be what they're doing.)

They can whine about blaming Obama all they want, but it's their own fault if they can't vote for a bill that both chambers of congress passed. They'll go down, they'll go down hard, and they won't even have a good bill to show for it at the end of the day.

But Obama will probably be fine.

He's not up for election in November. They are. He is only doing the things that he promised to do during the campaign. He is still personally much more popular than the GOP or any member of congress. Right now, the GOP doesn't have anybody -- not Sarah Palin, not Scott Brown, not Mitt Romney -- who could credibly challenge him. Will somebody emerge in the next three years? Will his numbers continue to go down?

It's possible, but I tend to doubt it.

So what will happen? Democrats will lose a lot of seats in November. They'll probably retain the majorities in both chambers, but they'll have the wind knocked out of them and a lot of the urgency will leave the Obama agenda. Another wasted opportunity that the Democrats won't get again for a generation. Truly: these guys are a bunch of morons.