Wake Up, President Obama, We Need You
Al Gore said it was the high altitude. Chris Matthews said it was because you don’t watch enough cable TV. When even your strongest supporters are making lame excuses for you, Mr. President, you know you failed. But I’d be happy if the only thing you failed at was a debate. My problem is that your failure is bigger than one debate- you are failing at convincing the American public why we need you to lead our nation. If you don‘t wake up soon, we are liable to wake up with an administration that will set this country backwards 50 years.
Let’s face it, you made some mistakes. You should have run with the Erskine Bowles plan for tax and budget reform. You could easily have negotiated aspects of it that were unpalatable, but at least you would have been leading the pack, instead of reacting to it. Now you look cornered, playing defense instead of offense on one of the most important economic issues of our time. You made a mess of Libya, both in protecting our personnel and in reacting to what happened there. Your biggest mistake was enacting Obamacare without the support of even one Republican, leading them to a landslide victory in 2010 that completely stymied your legislative agenda. But no President occupies that office without making mistakes- do you think we don’t know that?
So let’s look at the alternative, a nation governed by Republicans. Mitt Romney brags about exploiting public lands for private gain. That doesn’t sound like a fair exchange to most Americans. We don’t want to extract precious natural resources from our nation at bargain basement prices to enrich the pockets of a few, while endangering our air, water and wildlife habitats. The Republicans call tax reform “income redistribution” like it’s a Red Scare label from the 1950’s. Excuse me, we have been engaged in the process of income redistribution for the last hundred years, ever since we decided that we did not want to end up like Europe with a permanent class of landed gentry who inherited all their wealth. Income inequality has already reached historic proportions thanks to the policies of the last 20 years. If Mitt Romney gets elected, I shudder to think how few people will actually control all the power and money of this great nation by the time he leaves office.
President Obama, we hired you to make the case for the great, hardworking majority of this country. We need you to make that case now, forcefully and persuasively. We know that gas prices are too high, that it’s harder and harder to make a living today. But we are not defeated by these challenges, because we also know that the only way to reverse course is to force the greediest among us to share. We know Obamacare is expensive, but we certainly do not want to go back to the days of pre-existing conditions. If you are re-elected, take a second look at that bill and fix it. Remind us that the Democratic party is the only one standing for government investment in science, civil rights for undocumented kids and gay couples, and freedom of reproductive choice for women. We aren’t stupid, but we don’t have your gift of oratory and your privilege of that microphone.
20/20 hindsight is a beautiful thing for us spectators. We can afford to be critical, and we are. But you asked for this job, and you are asking for it again. It comes with a lot of perks because we ask a lot of you. We ask you to stand for core principles, but be prepared to compromise to get things done. We demand that you be of upright moral character, but insist that you stay out of our personal business. We ask you to fight like hell for this country, but we show you the worst of ourselves every single day, in our bigotry, our selfishness and our greed. President Obama, this may be your last election, but the stakes are not yours. The stakes are ours, and we need you to remember that.