Friday, November 5, 2010

Memo to Obama: Prove McConnell wrong on January 20, 2012

Mitch McConnell, Republican Leader in the Senate of the United States Congress has, this week, demeaned his office, his role as leader and the political process in the country with his ascerbic vitriolic comment:
"Our number one priority is to ensure that Obama is a one-term President."
Everyone knows that in 2012, there will be a Republican candidate for president, running against the encumbent Democratic President, Barack Obama. So the fact of the Republicans' desire and goal to win that election is a given.
What is not a given is the timing, nor the depth of the contempt, nor the absence of statesmanship in McConnell's brash assertion. After all, the election is over and the time for campaign rhetoric is over and it is now time to find ways and means to work together at a time of national crisis.
For Obama's part, while publicly working "with" Republican leaders, including McConnell, to forge some concensus, there is a hidden benefit to McConnell's ugliness.
First, if he had any thoughts that being a one-term president would be enough, given the hand he has been dealt, those thoughts have to evaporate. He must go for two.
Second, the legislation that Obama has accomplished, while watered down in the eyes of the Democratic base, is nevertheless worthy preserving and building upon and any attempt, for example, to rob the states of funds to enact the health reform act must be thwarted, and Obama is poised to accomplish that.
Third, the reputation of the U.S., although improving in the corridors of power around the world, still needs the steady and firm and mature and responsible hand of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, for at least another six years, (the remaining two in this term plus a second term) in order to stabilize both the domestic and foreign situations, especially including Iran, Korea, Turkey and even Iraq.
Fourth, the poor and the middle class, around the world, can and so see Obama as their voice on the world stage, and while that renders the rich and the powerful and the lions of the corporate board room less powerful than they would prefer, that is a good thing for all of the people of the world.
And lastly, Obama has to instruments of power including the bully pulpit, the veto pen, the Senate where Democrats still hold the majority, and the public support from the middle classs, although there is much work to do on debt and deficit, and can use the McConnell sniping as a motivation, almost like a piece of reverse psychology, in this sense, "Oh you think you can make me into a one-term president? Just watch me overturn your hopes and dreams!"
McConnell, we can all hope, will live to rue the day he uttered this utterly inappropriate and malicious statement, and we can remind him of his excess on January 20, 2012, when Obama is inaugurated for his second term.
Obama is not only not the "worst president" in American history (the words of the son of Dan Quayle) but he is and will be proven to be one of the best of the American presidents when history is written, long after all of us have ended our journey on this planet. And a second term for Obama is essential for all of us.
As Red Green puts it, "We're all in this together, and we're all pulling for you (President Obama)!"

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