Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Obama strikes back

What Gary Kamiya says:

The Republicans have made it clear that they are Obama's mortal ideological enemies, and he must treat them as such. Respectfully, politely -- but as enemies nonetheless. That means not shying away from challenging conservatism's sacred cows -- the blind obeisance to the market, the dogmatic reliance on tax cuts, the reflexive hatred of government. It means making it unequivocally clear that government can be a force for social justice, that tax cuts for the wealthy are both discredited as economic policy and morally outrageous, and that the extreme income disparity in America is unacceptable and destructive of our economy. And it means playing political hardball. Obama must aggressively make the point that it was Republicans and Republican policies that got us into this mess and that the American people decisively rejected their failed policies and threadbare ideology.

Obama has begun doing that, but he needs to do it consistently. Instead of wandering around in some never-never land where the bloodthirsty lion lies down with the lamb, he needs to make it clear that the lion is a lion. In his press conference, Obama said he remains "an eternal optimist" about the possibility of working constructively with the GOP. If that civil rhetoric is merely tactical, a velvet glove covering the iron fist, it's unobjectionable. But if Obama truly believes he can find common philosophical ground with Republicans, and acts on that belief, he's dooming his presidency to mediocrity. He can cloak his arguments in the soothing language of bipartisanship, but the reality is that he needs to delegitimize the contemporary GOP in the eyes of the American people, make them see that it is an extreme party that has learned absolutely nothing from its catastrophic mistakes and has nothing to offer except obstructionism.

After the last eight years, that shouldn't be very hard to do. [my emphasis]
Yes, the Republican Party really is that hostile to Obama's program and to needs of the vast majority of the American people.

And Obama certainly seems to be seeing at the moment he has to strike back, and hard. And that he has to discredit the predator-state philosophy that now drives the Republican Party and that was the hallmark of the Cheney-Bush Presidency. Along with torture and needless war.

Joahn Nichols also cheers Obama's current response to the Republican Wrecker Party in Obama's Bully Pulpit Best Bet to Beat Economic Royalists The Nation Online by John Nichols on 02/09/2009.

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