For the longest time, as I have watched our president, I have privately defended moves he has made that I have not understood. During his campaign, and even in his inauguration address, he talked about “reaching across the aisle,” pledging to be a president who worked bi-partisanship in a way it had never been worked before. He pledged to work with nations with whom the United States had had contentious relationships in the past. His was to be a presidency like no other; politics was going to be different.
As I have watched him, what I have seen is a sincere effort to honor his beliefs and pledges to the nation. He has sought to reach across that proverbial aisle, to listen to the opposition. He has compromised to the point of dismay, giving so much that the other side has decided to jump on the opportunity and take the olive branches being offered that have become a tree trunk of opposition.
But enough is enough.
The latest showdown between the president and House Speaker Boehner, with President Obama yet again backing down, has made me sad and angry. I do not know the reasons why the president chose the original date for his jobs speech; the Republicans say it was political grandstanding. I hope it wasn’t that. I hope that it was a legitimate and conscious decision, based only on the fact that he wanted both houses of Congress and the nation to get this very important message and directive as soon as the Congress returned from vacation.
Could he not have known that the Republican debate was going on on that same evening? If that is the case, he needs to fire someone who is advising him. He should never have been allowed to put himself in this embarrassing situation.
But, having said all of that, he is the president of the United States. I was embarrassed for him as Speaker Boehner came out and demanded that the president change the date of his remarks. I keep thinking that if such a faux pas had been committed by any other president, a planned debate hosted by the other political party would have demurred to the president and changed the date of its event.
Not with this group. This smacks of the type of disrespect that has been shown this president from the beginning, in spite of, and maybe because of, his efforts to “reach across the aisle.”
This president has given in, over and over, to the opposition. He has compromised himself and his principles and therefore, the welfare and well-being of the masses of Americans who love him and need him and some policies that will pull them out of despair. I keep thinking that this president, “my president,” if you will, doesn’t get it: that Washington does not compromise. They see compromise as weakness and they go after the weak with a vengeance. I believe in and respect the president’s desire to honor his own spirit and beliefs in trying to bend some for the opposition, but he has bent too much, and nobody but his opposition is being served!
The Bible says that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against “powers and principalities.” The powers and principalities are swirling around the president, and I finally have to admit that I am having a hard time watching it, accepting it and swallowing it. I want this president to stand up to Boehner and say, “hell to the no!” if you will, borrowing a phrase from one of Tyler Perry’s “Madea” movies. I want this president to say “enough is enough.” I want him to put on some armor, if you will, and withstand the darts of the enemies.
He is in a tough spot, to be sure. The opposition in the House, which is comprised of way too many non-compromising sorts, newly elected, can smell blood, and they are going after the jugular. The spoils of the war between the executive and legislative branches of the government are leaving “the least of these” as the victims, lying on battlefields of economic despair and ruin. But the president has got to make a stand and show the opposition for what it is. He has got to show the opposition that enough is enough, that he has chutzpah and things are about to be different.
The opposition is dedicated to making President Obama a one term president. My 25 year old daughter came to me and ruefully said she doesn’t believe he’ll win a second term. Not many people believe he will, but even if that is the case, while he is in office, for however long that might be, he needs to stand up to Boehner, the Tea Party and any and everyone else who is ignoring “the least of these” as they load their political guns and aim them at the president.
There is such a thing as too much compromise. At this point, it just looks like the president is giving in – again – and that is change I do NOT believe in.
Just a candid observation.