A few months ago, on the heels of President Obama’s stirring appearance at the National Correspondent’s Dinner, I encouraged him to be more available. I encouraged him to not only be seen more often, but to be assertive in his criticism of those Republican rivals being actively disingenuous or flat-out lying. Now would be a good time for the president read it.
The Republicans are primed for public humiliation of epic proportion. Their media empire is crumbling upon it’s yellow foundations and elected Republican officials on state and national levels are engaged in folly that makes the demented pundits of the right seem nearly sane (I take that last bit back, considering the uproar over Michelle Obama eating a hamburger, but still…).
The moment is especially perfect because the debt ceiling debate must be resolved soon (the President has threatened to continue negotiations through the weekend), and Republican politics throughout these negotiations have exceeded credulity. Who agrees to negotiations and then refuses to negotiate? They didn’t really even need to negotiate: the president offered $4 trillion in spending cuts from government programs in exchange for $1 trillion in tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans and corporations exploiting loopholes and sweetheart deals, and the Republicans refused. Imagine passing on four dollars for one in return. It seems, based on that logic, that if the president offered $4 trillion in spending cuts for a single dollar to be paid personally by Warren Buffet, the Republicans would refuse. They are holding the American economy, and therefore the American people, hostage for ideological purposes. And that’s what the Republican Party has become in the age of Obama: ideologues. They put conservatism ahead of patriotism. They have no ideas and no sense of decency or democracy. They need to be publically called out. Now. And the president is the man who needs to do it.
He needs to get up on the presidential platform and do the following:
- Remind America how we got into this economic mess and how many Republicans, including their current leadership, were “Government Spenders Gone Wild” during the Bush administration, a time when “deficits didn’t matter” according to Vice President Cheney.
- Inform America of how many jobs were created vs. how many were lost in the aftermath of the Bush tax cuts. Debunk the rhetoric that that tax hikes on the wealthy would “kill jobs.”
- Tell America about the sweetheart deal you offered the Republicans and why they passed.
- Detail to America the consequences if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, the reality of ceased payments to our seniors, military, government employees, the poor, the ill, etc.
- Explain to America about the damage to be wrought upon their savings and retirement portfolios and property value and respective loans.
- Tell America about how many jobs will be lost if the debt ceiling isn’t raised.
- Finally, explain to America how low our current tax rates are compared to the rest of the developed world and also compared to recent American history. And how, as a result, wealth is being disproportionately distributed to the wealthy, while the overall economy of the rest of America suffers.
Get patriotic. Come up with an “Ask not what your country…” line (don’t ask me to come up with it, though, I’ve done enough for you already). This is not humiliation for humiliation’s sake. This is humiliation for the good of the country. This is sunlight as antiseptic. This will be good for future Republicans who actually want to be part of the American conversation. The current Republicans have become a pack of ideological bullies operating in the shadows of misinformation, ideology, and political calculation; thankfully, the President of the United States has the best bully pulpit on the face of the earth and, with it, the power to bring a whole lot of sun. So, bring it, man. Bring it.
—Photo Flickr/The U.S. Army