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.


Stephanie said...

Long before this, I find it disrespectful when the President is referred to simply as "Obama" (and it's done ALOT). He's either the President, President Obama, or President Barak Obama... I don't care how you feel about him... that's the way it is.

Broadway Carl said...

Exactly right, Chez.

I was on the road when the President spoke. By the time I got home and turned on the TV, I saw Boehner speaking and my jaw hit the floor. What the fuck was he doing on my TV talking immediately after the President. And what the fuck is the media thinking in giving him air time? Since when has that EVER happened before?! I don't remember Nancy Pelosi having a televised statement after Bush would speak. I don't remember that EVER happening with ANY other president.

Has the MSM gotten so paranoid in being labeled the "liberal media" that they readily give Boehner time to seem "fair and balanced?" Jesus Fucking Christ!

e said...

Completely agree. And yet it won't matter. I have a friend who's super smart, mechanical engineer, pretty progressive on social issues, but immediately after the speech, he messages me and calls the President a douchebag, and president spend-a-lot. And outlines how the republicans had a deal, but Pres. Obama (I get what you're saying Stephanie, but to me it speaks more of how conversationally/down to earth I view the President, to use just his last name.) shut it down before it could happen.

I like this friend, but I said straight up we can not discuss this as a topic. It will blow up. People's thinking has gone so far off the rails that compromise and basic attempts at maintaining your own position are viewed as "douchey". God, even if you don't agree with Obama, if you look at the facts, there's no way this entire situation can be placed on his shoulders alone.

Sarah said...

@Stephanie - If you're going to correct how people refer to the President, you might want to spell his name right -- "Barack" not "Barak." Mispelling his name isn't exactly respectful. Oh, and by the way "a lot" is two words, not one.

Steve said...

Remember Boehner's oh so clever buzz phrase - "Where are the jobs?" Whenever he defends the in indefensible hard line on fair tax rates for billionaire hedge fund 15 percenters I just want to scream over him, "Where are the job creators?"

What I don't get is, knowing the networks were allowing this unprecedented equivalence between an Ohio congressman and the President of the United States, why Obama didn't preemptively mock the whole "Job Creator" BS. Beyond that, Boehner's got nothin'. At least make the fool's staff scramble to rewrite with two minutes until air. I don't think it's a hard case to make that for the Republicans tax cuts have always been an end into themselves, given that the job creators have not been lured into their supposed raison d'ĂȘtre by years of low taxes.

I have a lot of confidence in Obama, but man it sure seems like some stark opportunities are slipping by.
Not to mention the Dem rank and file lament of fuzzing the line on Social Security as a wedge issue for the next election.

kanye said...

I saw something very different:

I saw two men desperately trying to convince their respective bases that they stood in opposition to one another, when the truth is, no such opposition exists, nor has it ever existed.

At no time has their ever been even the slightest disagreement between them as to what they want to do. From the very beginning, they have both agreed upon and advocated for the exact same course of action: Spending cuts.

Despite what they would have us believe, agreeing on the sale and haggling over the price aren't the same thing. And that's exactly what's going on here: The sale was agreed to, in principal, a long time ago; now their just negotiating the terms.

This isn't what opposition looks like. This isn't what compromise looks like and it certainly isn't what balance looks like.

Had the president countered the Republican proposal of 6 trillion in spending cuts with his own proposal of 6 trillion in spending increases...that's opposition. The resulting negotiations...that would be compromise. The result: Balance.

This is none of those things.

As to the substance of the speech: Economic Infantilism.

Anonymous said...

The House Republicans were sent to Washington not to compromise, but to clean up the mess (that they and the Democrats created together).
If the Republicans compromise, they will not be re-elected by the people who sent them there. All these proposals and compromises are just adding the mess. We need to bring government spending under control, not delay yet again.

Chez said...

Nonsense. Self-destructive and totally clueless nonsense. True, they were sent there by the insane tea baggers, but most of those people have no fucking idea what it takes to get a country out of a recession as deep as the one we're in right now. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, you spend your way out -- any economist worth a damn will tell you that. The people don't have the money to spend and they have no ability to borrow any; the U.S. does. Yes, the debt is bad, but taking care of that before you actually kick-start the economy that has the power to bring the debt down is almost the literal definition of stepping over dollars to pick up pennies. When the economy is operating at full-capacity, the deficit can be whittled down; it's happened before as recently as the 90s.

The House Republicans are beholden to their tea party masters right now -- are those people are by and large both dumb as dirt and blinded by their white-hot hatred of Barack Obama.