Saturday, August 15, 2009

Republican Death Trip

Yet another poignant essay by Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman:

Sure enough, President Obama is now facing the same kind of opposition that President Bill Clinton had to deal with: an enraged right that denies the legitimacy of his presidency, that eagerly seizes on every wild rumor manufactured by the right-wing media complex.

This opposition cannot be appeased. Some pundits claim that Mr. Obama has polarized the country by following too liberal an agenda. But the truth is that the attacks on the president have no relationship to anything he is actually doing or proposing.

Right now, the charge that’s gaining the most traction is the claim that health care reform will create “death panels” (in Sarah Palin’s words) that will shuffle the elderly and others off to an early grave. It’s a complete fabrication, of course. The provision requiring that Medicare pay for voluntary end-of-life counseling was introduced by Senator Johnny Isakson, Republican — yes, Republican — of Georgia, who says that it’s “nuts” to claim that it has anything to do with euthanasia.

More here.

I wrote this about then candidate Obama back in April of '08 during the height of the Reverend Wright dust-up:

The only way for Obama to survive this crap-scandal is to take charge of the narrative. He's got to get out of the rhetoric of denial, which is now doing nothing but digging a bigger hole, and start talking about real issues, the ones that piss people off. He's got to take sides. He's got to declare enemies. He's got to tell Americans that, even though he would never phrase it as "God damn America," we have some horrific sins on our national conscience, with which we have never dealt.

The time for uplifting good vibes is over. Obama's got to roll up his sleeves and ball up his fists. Time to fight. 'Cause right now, he's getting his ass kicked.
And I wrote this during the Congressional fight over the stimulus bill last February:
This was my biggest fear about Mr. Change. He talked big during the campaign. "Yes we can," he said again and again. But he also said all this uplifting shit about coming together, about being "post-partisan." These two ideas, change and unity, are incompatible. There are vast concentrations of economic and political power that will and are doing everything they can to resist both change and unity. The only way to get past them is to fuck their shit up. The only thing to get this wonderful "change" President Obama's been going on about for a couple of years now is for him to roll up his sleeves and punch these motherfuckers in the nose. Repeatedly. Unity ain't doing nothing but repeating the dreadful Democratic mistakes of the past.

Unless Obama takes the lead in branding these Republican know-nothings as straight-up bad for the country, which they most decidedly are, he'll lose, big, and take the nation down with him. Fuck friendliness; the conservatives don't go that way.
So, obviously, I think I, and many others with much louder voices than mine, have made the point already. You can't be friends with people who are beating the shit out of you. Thing is, President Obama appears either to not understand or to not be listening. Same difference: in his drive for bipartisan "unity," he's getting his ass kicked. If the President doesn't up his rhetoric into the stratosphere (i.e. "These Republican attackers are just f'ing stupid."), his goose is cooked, health care reform is dead, and so is the rest of his first and what will probably be his only term.

You can't have "post-partisanship" without a preexisting and popular philosophical and intellectual framework within which to contextualize it. That is, America just isn't ready to get along with itself. The right wing continues, even after some fifteen years, even after reality has rendered the majority of its favorite ideas dead, to be in hyper-self-righteous mode. They will not give up. They will not stop fighting. They will use, and are using, every tactic they can imagine, up to and including outrageous lies and, yes, even violence, to destroy anything they don't like.

Right now, America has little use for "unity." What we desperately need is a fighter. I'm rapidly losing hope that President Obama is up to the challenge.