Notes from the Class War
It is time for President Obama to act Presidential, to read the riot act to the Republican reactionaries who have seized control of the House. It is clear from their comments after meeting with the President that the newly elected Republican Congressmen and Senators are in no mood to compromise with him on anything! Listening to the optimistic comments from Mr. Obama alas, I was reminded of the old Chinese adage: “They were sleeping in the same bed but dreaming different dreams.” Hence to the supporters of Mr. Obama, this writer included, the time for compromise with the Grand Obstructionist Party while they march in lock step around their backward agenda is over!
Pumped up by their dramatic victories in the last election, these right wing zealots believe that they have been given a mandate by “the American people” to reverse the dramatic gains the Democrats have made in the public interests. The first big fight has already begun. The Republican threat to block the passage of any of the President’s proposals unless he agrees to extend the $700 billion tax cut to the rich and super rich – who comprise 2% of the populace – is a direct challenge to the President’s power and an insult to the broad masses of Americans – especially since he has frozen the wages of federal employees for two years by presidential edict!
While demanding this windfall for the plutocrats, the Republicans blocked the extension of unemployment benefits for two million Americans in an economy in which there are five applicants for every identifiable job, and new claims for unemployment relief has gone up by 26,000 this month, putting the number of new applicants at nearly half a million. This in spite of the fact that the overwhelming majority of professional economists agree that unemployment benefits are a greater stimulus to the economy than tax cuts to the rich because the unemployed will spend the money immediately. Furthermore, if all of these people are thrown on the welfare rolls it will be more expensive than paying unemployment benefits.
Wall Street and the corporate sector are now enjoying the most profitable quarter in history, with an estimated trillion and a half dollars in their coffers, but are not investing in job producing ventures. Hence to suggest that giving them billions more will result in job creation is hocus pocus at best, and blasphemy at worst. The issues under contention here expose the true colors of the Republicans.
After bombarding an angry, frustrated, frightened and clueless electorate with well crafted propaganda that managed to convince millions of working and middle class whites to vote against their economic interests by posing as their friends, Republican actions are telling a different story. Now is the time for President Obama to use his bully pulpit to beat them down to the ground. Rather than seek further compromises with the Grand Obstructionist Party, whose leaders have pledged to do everything to insure that he will be a one term President, Barack Obama should finally give them a taste of their own medicine and let them know what it means to challenge a President who also controls the Senate.
Up to this point I have had no serious complaint against the governance style of the President, because he was getting monumental things accomplished. Politicians can huff and puff all they want but they must pass legislation to convert their ideas into reality, and only verbose fools will argue with success. But now Barack must stand and fight! Yet to successfully wage this war against the “Economic Royalist,” as FDR labeled them, Barack Obama must change his dramatis personae.
With headline grabbing pomp and circumstance, Obama must retire the role of Othello, Shakespeare’s noble, trusting but naïve Moor who was victimized by his enemies, and adopt the role of Aaron, Shakespeare’s Machiavellian Moor whose cunning ruthlessness threw his enemies into disarray. And he must learn from the presidential machinations of Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson, his Democratic predecessors in the Oval Office. Johnson let his congressional opponents know that they would never get a bill to benefit their district past his veto if they opposed him, and Truman forced his Republican opponents to reject every measure he put forth then denounced them as “a do nothing Congress.”
I believe his course of action will reenergize the coalition that elected the President, and put him on the road to victory in 2012. But if he caves and extends the Bush tax cuts to the plutocrats, after he has frozen the wages for all civilian employees of the federal government for two years, he will lose many of his present supporters, especially in organized labor, and others will began to doubt if he has the will to engage in a no holds barred brawl and began to lose faith…this writer included.
Harlem, New York