Monday, July 25, 2011
A Debt of Attitude
I'll make this quick.
There's no arguing with the fact that what we all just witnessed outlined in pretty clear terms the dynamic that's been going on in Washington for the past several months in regard to the debt ceiling fight. Obama was not only reasonable, measured and -- I can't believe I even have to say this -- mature, but he made it clear that he was a man so willing to compromise for the good of the country that he's consistently fending off fire from many in his own party who feel like he's somehow selling them out. Boehner, meanwhile, was a petulant, haughty adolescent, someone not the least bit interested in genuine compromise and who's more than willing to forgo honest dialog in the name of cheap theatrics, bad jokes and brutish partisan intransigence because he knows it's what his party demands at this point.
I tweeted this a little earlier but it can pretty much be broken down like this: Obama: "We need to compromise and stop being petty children for the sake of everyone." Boehner: "Fuck you."
Interestingly, though, it was an aesthetic point that caught my eye almost immediately -- and one Chris Matthews pointed out on MSNBC a little while ago during the wrap-up coverage of the speeches. It was in bad taste enough, I thought, that Boehner chose to speak minutes after the president, despite the fact that it was always sure to prove Obama's point flawlessly that thanks to the House Republicans and their tea bagging overlords, DC has turned into nothing more than an embarrassing and endlessly mock-worthy circus. But there was something specific about the way Boehner spoke -- the surroundings he set for himself -- that bugged the hell out of me. He stood at a podium, with flags behind him -- a similar setting to the president's own speech. The implication was inarguable and thoroughly offensive: it gave the impression that the Speaker of the House was somehow on the same level as the President of the United States -- that this was a battle of equals.
Since the very beginning, the right has sought to utterly diminish and delegitimize this president; as a collective movement, it's treated him with disrespect and derision, called him an anti-colonialist-Marxist threat to the country who isn't even from this country and who wants to indoctrinate our children into the cult of socialism. They've made up lie after lie about this guy, and they've showed him and the office he occupies so little respect that they've felt they can stand up and call him a liar during a State of the Union address.
And tonight, in yet another breathtaking insult, John Boehner stood there as if he held the same authority as Barack Obama. As if he were America's other president.
I'll say this one more time for the cheap seats: I don't approve of everything Barack Obama has done during his presidency. He's by no means perfect. But what we saw tonight put into perspective the monumental differences not simply in vision but in sheer seriousness between Obama and the people he's up against.
Sorry, but at this moment every American has no choice but to take a side -- and I'm on Obama's side on this, 100%. Ironically, that is the compromise position. As for Boehner, screw him and the disgraceful bunch of uncontrollable babies under his purview who are holding this country hostage. Enough is enough.