The GOP’s super-duper-spectacular-magical-mysterious bargaining power
But here’s what Obama and Democrats ended up with: the appearance (and reality) of crumbling on a matter of core principle. That is far more damaging in the long run than any marginal benefits of the deal. It further weakens Democrats and undermines the progressive cause. And that hurts America.
Obama and his advisers are in the habit of looking to past presidents for guidance. The days of Lincoln and FDR are long gone, but recent presidents like Reagan, Carter, Clinton and Bush still offer a roadmap of what – and what not – to do.
One admonition from President Clinton seems particularly apt for Obama’s predicament:
“When people are insecure, they’d rather have someone strong and wrong, rather than weak and right.”
This is a truism and George W. Bush banked it for six years until New Orleans drowned and the reality of his policies finally collided with his studiously cultivated image of strength and resolve.
Amazingly, Obama and Democrats have the opportunity to be strong and right, yet refuse to do so.
This is a time of great insecurity and fear, a time of confusion where millionaire media moguls feed think-tank crafted soundbites to a believing public. In this atmosphere, a premium is placed on strength and principle, not on faux-compromise.
It matters very little whether Barack Obama is a pragmatist, a multi-dimensional chess player, an inept Democrat, a Blue Dog, a centrist Lieberman protege, or a closet Republican. Good luck trying to read his mind.
All that matters from a political perspective is that he and his once-vaunted team have misread the public mood for two demoralizing years and hobbled the progressive cause in the process. They are clearly misreading it again.
I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it: If you stand up for your principles, you may lose an election but keep your principles; if you ditch your principles, you’ll lose both.
I don’t agree with everything Bill Maher says here, but his take is instructive: