We’re stuck in neutral

(This conversation needs to be happening in the Oval Office right-frickin-now.)

I spent the past several days watching the parent-in-the-store-with-whiny-kid approach Obama’s been taking toward health care reform and pretty much anything else. The kid is screaming and threatening and punching and the parent is doing the “now, now” thing.

As a parent of a “dramatic” child, we’ve got a pretty simple philosophy when it comes to this kind of stuff: first time, it’s “Midget, you need to stop this right now.” Second time, it’s “You will stop this now (complete with parent eyes and pursed lips).” Third time, the punishment is coming down the pike. We rarely get there because she knows it’s there and that it ain’t pretty. (Relax, I don’t beat my kid. There is a fine line between corporal punishment and strict reinforcement.)

I want my president to do that. I want him to do the “we’re going to try to get you to buy in.” That happened, the kid was still screaming. Unfortunately, we haven’t gotten to stages two or three yet and the kid is now attracting attention from the guy at the deli counter, the kid stocking fruit and the “non-parent parents” who feel that they should give you “the look” to let you know you’re failing.

Mr. President, I picked you because you gave me hope. This is a rare thing for a born cynic and a jaded former journo. Usually I pick between the lesser of two evils. However in your case, I wanted you to do stuff. I wanted you to move stuff. I wanted you to fix stuff.

Sure, you moved in to a house after the worst possible tenant. The back door was missing, there were urine spots on the walls and a pizza was some how stuck to the ceiling in the bedroom. I get that. There’s been a lot of elbow grease you needed to apply to make the place livable. However, sir, we’re now beyond being grateful for running water and a heater that works. It’s not enough to talk the game. We’ve got to live the game. Having the tools to do what you want only has merit if you actually use those tools.

There are a lot of people like me, and I don’t even need universal health care. I don’t need this program, but I want it anyways because it’s good, it’s right and because it’ll show me that you can actually do something.

You took over from the “war” president and promised to be his opposite. However, to borrow a phrase, the opposite of war isn’t peace.

It’s creation. Create something.

And don’t let the whining in the cart continue. Spankings are acceptable.

7 thoughts on “We’re stuck in neutral

  1. I think we just entered your stage 2 — “cut it out, I mean it, last chance.”
    I think a lot of people forget that the President is not just trying to woo Republicans Senators and Congresspeople. He is also trying to woo Republican (and Independent) voters as well. If a non-trivial slice of the GOP supports the bill (over the objections of their elected leaders), that’s a good thing for the health insurance reform movement, a good thing for the Democratic party, and a good thing for the country.
    I know Republicans who aren’t crazy, who see the logic in the President’s approach, and are prepared to go along with it. They don’t have radio shows or sit in legislative bodies, but they are out there.
    Picking up the former “moderate” wing of the GOP will dramatically shift the debate left-ward, between a moderate-right party and a left party. I think Young Barry sees the value in getting non-crazy GOP’ers on his side, even if he doesn’t gain their leaders’ votes for the bill.

  2. I think what all of us have to do is paint the Republicans as those who are putting profits over American lives. This is the angle that I have not seen from anyone yet. The rest of their behavior is simply a sideshow, a distraction from what is really taking place — that they care more about making money and benefiting from lobbyists than about the health and well being of the American people.

  3. I was pleased to hear Baucus talk about the speech as a gamechanger, but I’m not holding my breath. There’s going to have to be a lot of armtwisting (and worse–show me what you’ve got, Rahm) to get this done.
    And we have to keep the pressure on. Write letters to the editor, to wavering congresscritters, call talk radio–get the message out constantly that the teabaggers are liars, that America wants health care reform. And push the idea that we all want the public option, too. This is *not* a left-wing hobby horse–the public option is dead center of the American public continuum.

  4. See, here’s the thing about voting for a Democrat who mobilized and inspired people last Nov. – I didn’t think that I’d still be watching West Wing saying “if only THAT were my president, if only it was like THAT.”
    I hope that conversation is happening. I just don’t have very much faith any longer that it is. Oh, we’re gonna get “reform,” and Obama is gonna pat himself on the back, and the insurance company fat cats will lick their whiskers at the thought of all those new “customers” FORCED to buy their crappy product, and at the end of the day, regular people who just want be healthy or get care when they need it without going bankrupt will not be any better off. Costs will continue to rise, premiums will continue to rise, middle class people will chose between paying the rent or getting fined for not paying 15% of their income for health insurance.
    We can do better. We must do better. Obama needs to find his inner liberal. He needs to read the speeches of Robert Kennedy, and the speeches and letter of Ted Kennedy, and find a way to make it better.

  5. Obama needs to grow a pair of the type of balls that LBJ had. As good as his speeches are, they really pale compared to Johnson. Find some of his civil rights speeches and you’ll realize that that’s what we need now. Someone to tell the other side to fuck off.

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