Bullying, U.S. Senate Style

8 Dec

Everyone is abuzz about the deal that President Obama struck with Senate Republicans “compromising” on a number of tax issues in an attempt to extend unemployment benefits. Sadly, as with far too much that this administration has done, it reeks of capitulation rather than collaboration. The President expressed his regret at “negotiating with hostage takers” but said he had to do it for the good of the hostage.

Bad analogy, Mr. President.

The Senate Republicans are not hostage takers. They are bullies. They took your lunch money during the health care debates and now they want your Reeboks. You might be able to negotiate with hostage takers; bullies you have to face down or walk away. Letting them take your shoes and give back the laces doesn’t do you a damn bit of good. Yes, there are risks in standing up and saying “No more!” But giving in on a $700 billion, deficit-growing tax cut to get benefits that the Republicans would be hard-pressed to deny is a bad deal. Standing up to the bully usually gets them to back down: do the Republicans want their obstructionism to raise everyone’s taxes and stop benefits? I doubt it. But you blinked, so we’ll never know. And that Social Security credit you bargained in? That’s a boondoggle that will haunt you in a year when you’ll be forced to appear to raise everyone’s taxes or privatize the program. You just traded your shiny new iPod for a 1983 Walkman.

Sadly, you pissed off all the kids on the playground that might have stood up for you at the same time. Cutting House Democrats, who still hold a substantial majority until January, out of the deal making right on the heels of their bold legislative action was another bad move. And they’ve noticed.

I’ve tried very hard to be patient, Mr. President, but I’ve begun to lose faith. You’ve squandered huge congressional majorities, deferred basic civil rights issues, and let the bullies rule the playground. It’s only going to get uglier after January, and I don’t know that you have the leadership to deal with that reversal. Please prove me wrong.

One Response to “Bullying, U.S. Senate Style”

  1. Michele B December 8, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    Right on!

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