An Open Letter to Conservatives

Conservatives

To all my flamboyant conservative friends who proclaim to hate Obama, let’s try to look at a few of the known facts. I understand and respect that you do not like his politics; however, I would dispute your characterization of him as a strict left wing ideologue in the footsteps of the likes of Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. If anything his presidency so far has been characterized by his willing to split with known DNC ideology to facilitate working with the GOP in the spirit of compromise, which quite frankly has decreased his popularity with the left.

For instance last year he changed the day of his address to a joint session of Congress after Boehner took issue with Obama’s initial scheduling, something unprecedented in the history of the Presidency of the United States.

Obama has even lashed out at the liberal press at times such as in July of 2011, when speaking before a bipartisan group of college students about the principle of political compromise, he claimed that if the Huffington Post had been around when President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, its headline would have read “Lincoln sells out slaves”.

Indeed, Obama’s “compromise” principle follows a consistent pattern. His opening bid is to move more than halfway in the direction of Republican principles. When Republicans refuse to consider Obama’s compromise proposals and take the economy hostage, Obama unilaterally offers up further compromises without getting anything back in return, which only encourages further Republican intransigence.

• When Obama first appointed his economic team, he did not appoint “a team of rivals” but a “team of Rubins,” drawing all of his principal economic advisors from Wall Street’s allies like Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, Peter Orzag and Rahm Emanuel, rather than including some advisors with progressive views similar to those of Joe Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Robert Reich, or James Galbraith.

• Although Obama was advised that in order to bring unemployment under control, a stimulus package in the order of $1.2 trillion was needed, Obama’s opening bid was on the order of $700 billion dollars. He then negotiated a package that was made up nearly half of unstimulative tax cuts. Rather than reducing the unemployment rate below 8% as Obama administration officials promised, unemployment is now 8.3% as the stimulus is coming to an end. This alone could lead to Obama’s defeat in 2012.

• Rather than proposing Medicare For All, and then perhaps compromising on a health care reform package with a strong public option, Obama began with a health care plan modeled on Republican proposals originally set out by Bob Dole and implemented by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, then made backroom deals to give away the public option and to ban Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices.

• A few weeks before the BP oil spill, Obama proposed expanding offshore drilling in the hopes of gaining Republican support for the previously Republican idea of cap and trade. He gained no Republican support and a few weeks later, BP began gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, with no Republican support for the Republican-originated cap and trade concept, it died a quiet death in the Senate.

• Rather than demanding that the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans expire at the end of 2010, Obama began his negotiations with Republicans by offering to extend the Bush tax cuts on everyone. Instead, he could have demanded the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans expire, and if Republicans failed to vote for this and allowed all the tax cuts to expire, gone to the American people and forced the Republicans to renew only the middle class tax cuts in the lame duck session.

• Obama’s negotiations on the debt ceiling with Republican hostage-takers who threaten to blow up the economy if they don’t get their way has been the most egregious of all. He offered up a plan made up of 75% spending cuts to 25% “revenue increases” (God forbid, not tax increases). When Republicans remained intransigent, he offered a plan with less than 10% revenue increases. Now he seems prepared to back a plan with all cuts and no guaranteed revenue increases, while cutting social security and Medicare. Moreover, he has adopted Republican talking points that reducing the deficit — not growing jobs — is the key to improving the economy.

And what is the thanks he gets for his efforts to work in a bi-partisan way (other than your endless declarations of hatred and venom characterized by bumper stickers proclaiming “Don’t Re-Nig in 2012”, birther calls for him to return to Kenya, his depiction as Hitler by Tea Partiers, the Governor of Arizona publicly disrespecting the Office of the President of the United States of America, and so forth)?

Here is but one example of how he is being characterized by the liberal press: “Democrats elected President Obama because they wanted something different, not the same outcomes because of an inclination for compromise. President Obama’s advisers may want to think about the fact that Democratic voters felt absolutely ignored during the Bush administration. A Democratic president appearing to do the same in the interest of “compromise” with a group that refuses to compromise on anything is not a good look. Perhaps the president needs to worry less about GOP claims of partisanship and more about the real needs of Democratic voters?”[1]

The thing is that it took us nearly 50 years to wreck the economy through a long succession of both Democratic and Republican administrations and it is going to take that very same collaborative effort to un-fuck things up. So the only operative question is do we work together as Americans in the spirit of cooperation towards a goal that is mutually beneficial to all, or is school yard bullying and rhetoric leading down a long and dusty road to nowhere to be our choice?

To me the answer is pretty clear. I am not so sure about some of you.

[1] http://www.theroot.com/buzz/dems-obama-stop-compromising-gop

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Samuel Warde

Samuel is a writer, social activist, and all-around troublemaker.
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