Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
Only two weeks until Election Day 2010. Either way our houses of Congress swing, things can get very interesting. Some polls are predicting a loss of both houses for the Democrats. More are tempering their doom and gloom scenarios by only ceding the House of Representatives to the GOP. Historically, the midterm elections, after a triple majority election whereby the House, Senate and Presidency all fall to one party in a banner mandate as we had in 2008, many seats are lost to the opposing party. No big whoop. What IS a big deal is how our President will react to the upcoming election results and Honey, nobody puts Baby in a corner.
First of all, let’s assume that the House of Representatives goes Republican. Can you imagine the laughs we will enjoy when John Boehner, the Tan Man, that Prince of Orange, is Speaker of the House? The potential entertainment value alone makes me salivate. It is actually the GOP that will suffer the most at the victorious hands of the Tea Party. Having no substance to its platform, the Republican party will either have to fall into the black hole of the far right wing’s anti-intellectualism, pandering to an empty mantra of lower taxes, less government and dearth of ethical standards, or fly on their total lack of an agenda. Succumbing to their party’s extremist views will hold water for only so long. Sooner or later they will have to speak up or shut up.
Boehner has not shown any substance in his role as House Minority Leader. Oh sure: he can bad mouth the Democrats and especially our President pretty damn well. How incensed is he that our Head of State has a black face? Pretty irate. But what if his party takes over the leadership of the House —- how long can he maintain real power by ignoring the issues at hand and allowing the ultra-conservatives to run the show? If Nancy Pelosi should lose her Speakership, let me say in advance that no one in the last two years has done their job as thoroughly, competently and loyally as she has. That is precisely why the opposition is so adamant in calling for her removal. Those admirable qualities of fulfilling one’s job description has no place in the Tea Party and thus, the GOP. The Republicans are as eager than ever to regain power, and if that entails welcoming with open arms the extremism of the Tea Party, so be it. The surprise waits for the GOP after the election: how will they be able to rid themselves of this noose around their necks, which is exactly what the Tea Party will be for them. Yes, the right wingnuts might aid in the reclamation of power for the GOP, but they will also be the downfall of that party in actual governing.
And what about the Democrats, should they lose one or both houses of Congress? This will be a good thing for them. While their agenda and intentions are much more attuned to the needs of our citizens, perhaps a loss will force them to acquire some backbone. A shake-up might also teach them not to cave to such star seekers as Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln. A loss in these midterms might also create a loyalty to their President that as yet, has been sorely lacking.
Over the weekend, the article in the New York Times Magazine, ” Education of a President” by Peter Baker, quoted President Obama as saying:
“Given how much stuff was coming at us, we probably spent much more time trying to get the policy right than trying to get the politics right. There is probably a perverse pride in my administration — and I take responsibility for this; this was blowing from the top — that we were going to do the right thing, even if short-term it was unpopular.”
Op-Ed writer Bob Herbert today writes of President Obama’s lack of honesty in this statement. Herbert believes that the President’s shortcomings are instead a refusal to acknowledge America’s pain, followed then by no cohesive plan to remedy her ailments. Is Herbert ever shortsighted. Just like our citizenry, if we cannot get what we want when we want it, like right now, the fault lies in the leader. Wrong. The press is just as juvenile as the voters, with no patience for or appreciation of real change. Whether Herbert’s need for media attention or for self-corroboration is responsible for his fair-weather support of our President, his overwhelming requisite of immediate gratification trumps reason and reality: change does not come easily or quickly, certainly not within two years. Then, as if to underscore his disappointment with this young administration, he proceeds to minimize the actual accomplishments, such as the historical enactment of health care reform.
I have more news for Herbert. The chance does exist that our deep-seated problems such as high unemployment, the lop-sided distribution of wealth and the general economic malaise just may not recover. Just because America has come back stronger from trouble in the past does not guarantee that we can do it again. Put that in your hat. There is the possibility that we are going to have to dig deeper, and much differently, than we have before to better our lives and our country. This will necessitate even more time, creativity and spending.
Speaking of our President, I do believe that President Obama will react tougher than he ever has before. If his political foes as well as his supposed allies think he has not been a strong leader to date, just wait. They ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. You want aggressive, you will get aggressive. You want guts, you will get guts. With a Republican majority in the House and perhaps the Senate, he no longer has to pussyfoot around for that fictional bipartisanship that he tried so hard to establish. Nah. Then he can just go directly for the jugular.
You doubt that he will take that course of action? Think again. Remember his winner-take-all battle with John McCain in the national election? Even more so, how about his long, drawn-out neck and neck battle with Hillary for the Democratic nomination? This guy is a fighter and when times get tough, he will get that much tougher.
And do you know why? Because nobody puts Obama in a corner. Not going to happen. You see, in order for that to happen, somebody would have to put Yo Mama in a corner. I can guarantee that just as the sun rises every morning in the east and sets every evening in the west, nobody will ever put me in any corner. The bottom line is that President Obama IS honest in his desire to help his country back to prosperity and justice for the sake of those principles. However, he has two children, as I do, and those children are the dominant reason to do the right thing. Despite our goals for success and our concern with building a decent legacy, it is the kids that truly keeps us honest and driven. So go vote, but accept that any way this election pans out, we are going to be okay.