Well into the Bush Administration, I had to stop watching the news as a necessity to preserve my sanity and health. The daily barrage of broken syntax, willful ignorance and the global destruction wrought by ill-conceived polices poorly implemented was eventually more than I could take in daily doses. So with a great sigh of relief then did I greet the election of Barak Obama to the presidency as an invitation to once again feed my news habit.
Alas that foray back into world of perfectly-coifed talking heads and pompous reporters filled with an undeserved sense of self-importance did not last long. I simply can no longer witness the self destruction of the Democratic Party, which has acted like a movie star spiraling into addiction, unable to handle the demands of success. The Democrats have managed somehow to grab defeat from the jaws of victory in a hapless display of incompetence, indifference and petty infighting.
Imagine a car speeding toward a cliff. In the front sit two Democrats. They discuss the options of turning right or left before reaching the precipice, and each presents a cogent argument for his conclusion. Initially the two listen politely to each other, but as the car nears the void, the argument intensifies as the need to rapidly reach a consensus becomes ever more urgent. Finally, civility breaks down and the two occupants start b-slapping each other... as the car sails majestically off the edge. While temporality in flight, both Democrats noted smugly how neither was willing to compromise principle for the sake of the greater good, proud of their last and final accomplishment.
What we witnessed in Massachusetts is that Democratic car going over the cliff, for similar reasons. Democrats are "disappointed' with President Obama. He needed to do more. He needed to create more jobs. He needed to do more to stimulate the economy, punish Wall Street, admonish Detroit, and end the wars in the Middle East. Instantly. Immediately. Now. Democrats are behaving like little kids throwing a tantrum because they cannot get a third scoop of double fudge ice cream. And like those kids, instead of appreciating the two scoops, we will soon be sent back to our rooms with nothing in hand.
Voters have so quickly forgotten the horrendous mess that Obama inherited from the failed Bush years. To expect Obama to clean up that historic confluence of incompetence in one year is ridiculous and childish. Let us review briefly the stinking mess put on Obama's plate:
• A war in Afghanistan, neglected and poorly run
• A war in Iraq, disastrously implemented
• Growing threats of terror in Yemen and Somalia
• A newly-nuclear Korea, who joined the nukes club under Bush
• An ascending and soon-to-be nuclear Iran
• The largest deficit in U.S. history
• A broken health care system
• A federal scientific advisory system in shambles
• A dysfunctional national security organization built on the notion of breaking our own laws
• An intelligence community in disarray
• Crumbling infrastructure
• Guantanamo Bay
• An economy imploding into the severe depression
• A collapse of the auto industry
• Rapidly growing unemployment
• A potentially complete collapse of the financial sector
• Climate change, malignantly neglected
But hey, the Democrats wanted Obama to solve all these myriad problems simultaneously, instantly and completely. And because he did not do the impossible, the Democrats throw a hissy fit, and with great pride slap each other silly as the car flies into the abyss. We deserve everything we get. Republicans stuck with Bush even when anybody with a pulse knew the man was incompetent and unable to perform the duties of his job. Republicans stuck loyally to Bush even when he ballooned the deficit, expanded government, blew two wars and undid thirty years of environmental protection. But Democrats abandon ship like little frightened rats because Obama has not done everything they wish, immediately. It is a pathetic spectacle to witness.
A pox on the house of the Democrats. And so-called "independents" are equally to blame. The Independents are just pesky kids sitting in the back of the car poking and yelling at each other, oblivious to their pending doom. Their impatience and petulance undermine Obama, and therefore destroy any chance they have at real reform. If the pace of reform does not meet their standards, Independents and Democrats alike simply cut and run, like Sarah Palin, in the face of the most trivial obstacles.
Of course Obama has made mistakes. Of course Obama has not accomplished all that we desire. Of course loyal opposition is healthy and positive. But only up to, and not beyond, the point of self immolation. That seems to be a lesson well-learned by Republicans but completely scorned by Democrats. In sniping at Obama, and opposing his agenda, Democrats neglect to consider the alternative. That would be Palin or the likes of the newly-elected Senator Brown. Indeed, consider the alternative because that is exactly what we will get in 2012 if the Democrats continue to exhibit the thoughtfulness and foresight of a hormone-raging teenager. If you think Obama is bad, just consider the next Administration in tune with O'Reilly, Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh and Palin. That is the future we invite by our embarrassing display of discord.
Democrats controlled the House comfortably, had a majority in the Senate by a thread, and an articulate champion in the White House. And even with that line up the Party was still incapable of delivering the most important piece of legislation in generations. Health care costs are crippling our economy, and we desperately need to act. Yet we did not. Democrats in the House and Senate just could not get past their narrow parochial interests for the greater good, so instead stood in chamber slapping each other red. And now we lost Massachusetts in one of the most glaring examples of political implosion in modern history. That debacle came about because Democrats could not unite behind a candidate that would ensure Obama could complete the very tasks those same voters complained he was not doing enough to complete! I am thankful Ted Kennedy is not alive to witness this travesty.
Given the political realities of Washington, given the mess handed to Obama, and considering the short time he has been given to address the country's woes, any "disappointment" in Obama is ridiculously premature, and downright silly.
Democrats need to get behind Obama, flaws, warts and all. And we need to do it now, if it is not already too late. Obama is what we've got, and no matter how "disappointed" we might be, that sentiment pales in comparison to the devastation we will witness if the opposing Party once again occupies the Oval Office. Thoughts of Bush III should be enough to put aside our differences and unite behind Obama while we still can. If we are unable to do that, we truly deserve the worst that can happen to us.