Is President Obama Ready to Make Republicans Shit Blood Again?:
The Rude Pundit knows, Christ, he knows, that there's much to pile on regarding how President Obama has squandered many, many opportunities in his first year and a half in office. Obama's failure to close Gitmo is the most starkly broken promise. It's analogous to Bill Clinton's failure to end the military's discrimination against gay soldiers - oh, wait, no, Obama's failure to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell is analogous to that. This could go on, with promises unkept (Will the Afghanistan war actually end?) and compromises kneecapping the reforms he has gotten passed in the thuggish Congress (like taking the public option off the table during the health care reform "debate"). But there's one significant measure that the Rude Pundit has decided to await: how much is Obama willing to fight to keep the Congress at least nominally Democratic?
If yesterday is any indication, the answer is: "Oh, fuck, it's on."
In Racine, Wisconsin, President Obama seemed like a man who's finally had enough, like he's a single parent who has come home from a weekend away to find the house trashed because his teenage son has had a party with 100 of his closest asshole friends. No, motherfucker, it ain't time to put the PS3 in time out and limit junior's internet time to school work. It's time to toss all his shit out, break his credit cards, hammer his iPod, flush his pot, get rid of all the indulgences and comforts you've allowed him just to make your life a little easier. Yeah, you're to blame, too, but you're the one who can make it better.
Following through with what his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said last week, Obama laid bare, in stark relief, the utter depravity of Republican ideology:
First he put out the evidence and explained what they were doing that was so assholish: "Now, you’d think this would be pretty straightforward stuff, but I’ve got to say that lately we’ve been having to wrangle around what used to be pretty noncontroversial things -- providing loans for small businesses, extending unemployment insurance when 8 million people lost their jobs during the recession. But lately, there’s a minority of senators from the other party who’ve had a different idea. As we speak, they are using their power to stop this relief from going to the American people. And they won’t even let these measures come up for a vote. They block it through all kinds of procedural maneuvering in the Senate."
Then he gave it some context for how we got here: "Now, some of this is just politics. That’s the nature of Washington. Before I was even inaugurated, there were leaders on the other side of the aisle who got together and they made the calculation that if Obama fails, then we win. Right -- that was the basic theory. They figured if we just keep on saying no to everything and nothing gets done, then somehow people will forget who got us into this mess in the first place and we’ll get more votes in November. And, you know, that will make people pretty cynical about politics."
Which led to: "Now, let’s be fair though. The other party’s opposition is also rooted in some sincere beliefs about how they think the economy works. They think that our economy will do better if we just let the banks or the oil companies or the insurance industry make their own rules. They still believe that, even after the Wall Street crash, even after the BP oil well blew, that we should just keep a hands-off attitude. They think we should keep doing what we did for most of the last decade leading up to the recession." That line, "let's be fair, though," is just fucking awesome. Calling Republicans "sincere" in their ideology means that, no matter what they say, at the end of the day, there are beliefs that aren't gonna change.
Then the knife twist: "So their prescription for every challenge is pretty much the same -- and I don’t think I’m exaggerating here -- basically cut taxes for the wealthy, cut rules for corporations, and cut working folks loose to fend for themselves. Basically their attitude is, you’re on your own."
Read the whole speech. Obama goes on to wreck Republicans, mocking them and calling them out: "There were people who said that Social Security was socialism, said that Medicare was a government takeover. There were automakers who said that installing seat belts was unnecessary, unaffordable, and would ruin the auto industry. There were skeptics who thought that cleaning our water and our air would bankrupt our economy. Right here in Wisconsin -- if you look at the lake now and look at the lake, what it was like 30 years ago, 40 years ago. And there were people who said, well, there’s nothing we can do about all the sludge and drudge and whatever is going on in there. But they were wrong. They were wrong then, and they’re wrong today."
The Rude Pundit's said it before and he'll keep saying it: Obama plays rope-a-dope with his opponents. He did it with Hillary. He did it with McCain. He wants to see what your best swing looks like before he unleashes. For all his faults, and there are many, the man knows how to make Republicans shit blood at the thought of going up against him. They have to know it's coming. They just don't know when. The question, of course, is if it's too late in the match.
If there was a takeaway from the speech, a talking point for other candidates to use, it was this: "So I want everybody to understand, this debate that we’re having in Washington is not about big government or small government. It’s about responsible government. It’s about accountable government. It’s about whose side government is on. It should be on the side of the American people."
It's always nice to see someone rip the corpse of Ronald Reagan out of the earth and smack it around in front of an audience.