john boehner

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The NYT this morning has a scathing editorial on the pettiness of John Boehner’s refusal to allow Obama to make his jobs speech on Wednesday, Sept. 7, and they accuse Obama of caving once again by agreeing to give his speech on the following day. I think I agree that Obama caved yet again, but then I find the following reader’s comment:

Really? This delay, even seen as a concession to a request, however churlish, from another elected representative of considerable stature (i.e., the Speaker of the House) is seen as “caving” or some sort of sign of weakness? Was Lincoln’s willingness to wait patiently to meet with General George B. McClellan, the general-in-chief of the Union Army at the early stages of the Civil War (and, later, his Democratic rival for re-election as President) also “caving” or weakness?

What has happened to the notion that it is the stronger, more mature, and more self-possessed individual and leader who can overlook – much less ignore – such pettiness and posturing, keeping his (or her) eye on the more important issues and goals of good governance and the communication of one’s vision and plans for the same?

Or are virtues such as patience, restraint, and forbearance (yes, even towards the small, the petty, and, dare I say it, “those who hate you”) of no value and are no longer desired in our leaders, much less our President and Commander-in-Chief?

OK, this is all well and good. Clearly, Lincoln showed forbearance and maturity and became one of our very greatest presidents. But look what Obama is up against:

I don’t know how true this is, but on The Ed Show (granted hardly an unbiased source) it was said that the Obama people sent the request early in the morning, and that Boehner hesitated in replying to the President, until after Rush Limbaugh went on the air and on the warpath and publicly berated Boehner for not turning down the President’s request immediately. It seems the Republicans in office are so beholden (again, if this is true) to such non-elected personalities as Limbaugh, Beck and Grover Norquist that they cannot act independently on their own. In fact, if you include the astroturf groups such as The Club for Growth and Freedomworks, it seems elected Republicans are no better than lemmings marching to the drumbeat of corporate-funded advocacy groups and media individuals.Not to let Obama off the hook, because he backed down again, but the Republican have no intention of showing respect for the office of the President as long as their leadership-in-fact is a bunch of astroturf groups and rich individuals, especially Rush Limbaugh. I can’t believe so many poor and middle-class individuals are taken in by a rich man who flaunts a golden microphone, and how many politicians, including the one who is second in the line to the presidency, are beholden to him.

Is this equivalent to what Lincoln was up against? It may have been worse in Lincoln’s time but at least then there was no instant media to excite the masses.

The first quote was by William Gabriel of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the second was by r5169 of Midwestern U.S.A.

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I’ve been getting pissed at what’s going on. Here we have Obama trying to make nice with the Republicans, and you know? They could care less*. Some of them are masters at speaking out of both sides of their mouths simultaneously, while others don’t even bother to hide their sanctimonious nastiness. Mitch McConnell would be in the former camp, John Boehner in the latter.

Oh, but Obama’s just as bad as the rest of them! Look at all these tax swindlers he’s appointed to high office. Sure, squeaky clean you’ve got to be to get into high office these days, especially if you’re a Democrat. Tom Daschle’s tax problems seem large to the “ordinary person”, and they are. However, he is not a crook! He would have been the best choice to beat back the Republican machine which will pull out all the stops, along with the insurance industry, to beat back any attempts to establish what they’ll call “socialized medicine”.

The best guy for Daschle’s job would be Arnold S. Relman, M.D., but nobody’s ever heard of him and he’d have zero political clout amongst the hyenas. That’s why we needed Tom Daschle, tax warts and all.

I’m so sick of the news media, especially the sanctimonious news anchors, you know, Katie, Brian, Chris and Charlie, not to mention that slime journalist Maureen Dowd of the NYT. Oh, I’m pissed alright!

I try to read people who really know what the hell’s going on like Paul Krugman and Robert Reich, plus a lot of financial blogs all over the place. Hey, Robert Reich’s latest blog entries are really great!

Many economists feel the stimulus plan isn’t large enough! Even the conservative well-known economist, Martin Feldstein, Ronald Reagan’s chief economist, told Congress that the stimulus should be $800 billion.

I could rattle on but why don’t you just read Barney Frank’s latest comment? Frank to bankers: People hate you! OK, I’ll stop now!

* Well, according to this article he is making some progress.

UPDATE:
Here’s Josh Marshall on Denial As Political Strategy:

Behind all the back and forth over the Stimulus Bill is a simple fact: the debate in Washington is rapidly moving away from any recognition that the US economy — and the global economy, for that matter — is in free-fall. The range of outcomes stretches from severe recession to something closer to a replay of the Great Depression, though that label is perhaps better seen as a placeholder for ‘catastrophic economic collapse’ since the underlying place of the US economy in the world economy is very different from what it was in 1929. This reality was palpable in the political debate until as recently as a few weeks ago. But Republicans are using a strategy of conscious denial to push it off the stage.

Take stock of the last few weeks and you can almost visualize the two conversations — path toward economic calamity and debate over Stimulus Bill — diverging.

The other key into the current debate is that the Republican position is ominously similar to their position on global warming or, for that matter, evolution. The discussion of what to do on the Democratic side tracks more or less with textbook macroeconomics, while Republican argument track either with tax cut monomania or rhetorical claptrap intended to confuse. It’s true that macro-economics doesn’t make controlled experiments possible. And economists can’t speak to these issues with certainty. But in most areas of our lives, when faced with dire potential consequences, we put our stock with scientific or professional consensus where it exists, as it does here. Only in cases where it goes against Republican political interests or economic interests of money-backers do we prefer the schemes of yahoos and cranks to people who study the stuff for a living.

Of course, at some level, why would Republicans be trying to drive the country off a cliff? Well, not pretty to say, but they see it in their political interests. Yes, the DeMints and Coburns just don’t believe in government at all or have genuinely held if crankish economic views. But a successful Stimulus Bill would be devastating politically for the Republican party. And they know it. If the GOP successfully bottles this up or kills it with a death of a thousand cuts, Democrats will have a good argument amongst themselves that Republicans were responsible for creating the carnage that followed. But the satisfaction will have to be amongst themselves since as a political matter it will be irrelevant. The public will be entirely within its rights to blame Democrats for any failure of government action that happened while Democrats held the White House and sizable majorities in both houses of Congress.

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