Reasonable compromises in an age of Washington madness
This morning, I read an interesting piece entitled “Is Obama the last reasonable man in Washington?” The author, Joy Reid, points out the following reaction to the nation’s first African-American President, Barack Obama:
…his very presence, from his name to his cultural background to wild conspiracy theories about his ideology — has seemed to incite a near frenzy of hatred on the right (and a sliver of the far left).
Sadly, Ms. Reid is correct. To validate the latter part of her comment, we need look no further than Jane Hamsher, the founder of the far left site Firedoglake. She recently called Obama supporters: “the dumbest motherfuckers in the world.”
Now, the President may not be the only reasonable man left in Washington, but he’s certainly one of only a handful. And it is extremely difficult to find any reasonable person among the Republicans hired to represent their constituents.
This past Friday morning, the President held a town hall in Maryland, largely focused on debt negotiations in Washington. A teacher asked an important question: she wanted to know what she was supposed to teach her students in an anti-cooperative age. She asked whether something had fundamentally changed, when members of the opposing party were willing to go on record saying they would not compromise. It is indeed a sad age; I feel for that teacher and for the members of government who are interested in leading this country towards a better future.
This President has been willing to compromise on every issue. He radically limited his healthcare reform package after holding a bipartisan summit with Republicans, and ensuring their concerns were addressed. In return, he got zero Republican votes for the resulting legislation. He limited his Wall Street reform. He allowed the Bush-era tax cuts to continue.
Now, on an issue that actually threatens to destroy the world economy, the President has been willing to grant cuts to Social Security and Medicare that even Republican presidents would have had a hard time offering. In exchange, Republican leaders walk out on talks because Obama asks them to end tax loopholes for corporate jet owners and absurdly profitable oil companies. No compromise from the GOP: not one solitary penny of additional revenue from millionaires and billionaires during times they’ve been successful, and the middle class has been decimated.
The fact is: though this clearly centrist President is willing to agree to almost any terms, we’ve seen where Republicans draw the line. That party believes that their Tea Party revolution is a powerful force. However, according to Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly, it represents about 20% of American voters, and is in serious danger of self-destruction.
Enough is enough. If the GOP thinks that is a revolution, just wait until they see the reaction of the country and the world to their destructive, obdurate radicalism.