On Ideas for Democrats

Recent results in Massachusetts stung Democrats. As they scramble and make excuses, I find it hard to believe that their ways will change. I normally listen to the State of the Union, but not tonight because watching Democrats stand, applaud, and yell while the Republicans sit and pout supports my notion of the problem. Besides, I’m not in the mood for political rhetoric.

Although I doubt if they are interested, here are 10 ways (in no particular order), Democrats can regain support of independent moderates.

  1. Whether through resignation or vote, replace Speaker Pelosi with a moderate, maybe even a Blue Dog. The public does not support her, and she misjudged this 2008 election results.
  2. Replace Senator Reid as Senate Majority Leader. If not, the people of Nevada may deal an additional credibility blow to the party.
  3. Freeze Congressional salaries without a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), and then only ties raises based on the degree of overall annual government budget surpluses.
  4. Cut budgets for Congressional staffing by 10% and limit staff increases to COLAs.
  5. Govern from the center, and if the White House doesn’t like it, tough nuggies! Governing from the center means helping the people while being fiscally responsible. By the way, the public will abandon obstinate Republicans.
  6. Its jobs, jobs, jobs! Besides being laden with pork, the first stimulus aimed at helping public agencies to support the needy people and funding temporary public projects. Unfortunately, President Obama did not sell it that way. A suggestion – Instead of giving businesses money to do something (which could be whatever), give tax credits for businesses doing something that established employment in the 50 states – not elsewhere.
  7. Health insurance reform is possible, so get out of your financer’s pockets, and think outside the box to legislate something the majority of the public can support.
  8. Stop using the “inherited situation” as an excuse. The people know the situation and are tired of hearing that excuse.
  9. President Obama using the veto pen on this own party.
  10. Step down from your pompous throne and get down to governing. I imagine the percentage of Congressional liberals in Washington is higher than the percentage of liberal Americans.

During the campaign, President Obama used Yes we can. In this recent article after the recent results in Massachusetts, Ben Feller (AP) used Yes I hear it. I use this phrase from a commercial, Can you hear me (us) now?

Interesting Reading

On the President’s Biggest Mistake

With President Obama completing his first year, numerous political commentaries exist – although how many are nonpartisan? For a different type of post, I will use portions of past posts (dated) to make my point followed by a concluding statement

Nov 5, 2008 (Day after the Election)
Like all previous election winners, he (Barack Obama) campaigned about changing Washington. Can he transform his inclusive nature with the electorate onto a Washington establishment that resists change? Remember, the current economic conditions, financial systems, terrorist groups, and countries with anti-U.S. sentiments do not give time. Addressing the difficult force of time is about our country, not a political party. Therefore, I believe President Obama needs to govern from the center. Maybe he can. Hopefully, he will.

On Nov 13, 2008
In 2008 independent moderates wanted a change from Bush administration policies, but also saw Senator Obama as too liberal. Independents want fiscal restraint, but anticipate too much spending in a Democratic-controlled Washington.

On Nov 17, 2008
Pressure is on Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to produce bipartisan results and Barack Obama to lead from the center.

On Dec 17, 2008
So, will change occur in Washington? Hmmmm, I doubt it – I do not think the political parties nor the obnoxiously-partisan media types will allow it.

On Jan 23, 2009 (2 days following the inauguration)
Candidate Obama repeatedly campaigned about working toward bipartisan solutions and setting a new tone in Washington – a noble thought. Now for the first major legislation, he relied on the legislative process to produce the bill known as the economic stimulus. Let me get this straight – relying on two partisan leaders with a dominating majority to produce a bipartisan effort sets a new tone?

On Feb 5, 2009
Speaker Pelosi is on a mission to achieve the party’s agenda. Unfortunately, her mission does not match the public’s wants and needs!

On Feb 11, 2009 (regarding the economic stimulus)
Since Congress continues to operate business as usual figuring the president will take the blame, it is time for President Obama to use his political capital by vetoing the bill and toss it back onto the lap of the problem. The people will love it and Congress will face the pressure to be constructive.

On April 8, 2009

  • Speaker Pelosi continues to lead in a partisan manner, thus foregoing a bipartisan response in favor of forcing an ideological agenda.
  • Democratic operatives are lining up at the pork buffet. Sure pork is actually a small portion of the total budget, but it is about principles.
  • Senate Leader Harry Reid’s focuses his effort to back the Pelosi-driven agenda by either limiting Democratic defectors to keep the majority or to gain GOP defectors to get the key 60.
  • Groups as MoveOn.org, the Campaign for America’s Future, and US Action are already targeting centrist Democrats for “standing in the way of the president’s programs.” In other words, the Democrats are using a bully pulpit.

Conclusion
How did I do? Candidate Obama repeatedly campaigned about working toward bipartisan solutions and setting a new tone in Washington – a noble thought, but far from practice. Since the first major legislation he relied on the legislative process to produce the bill known as the economic stimulus, and not much has changed ever since.

Although I do not approve of obstinate Republican tactics, the bully pulpit is also unacceptable. Does relying on two partisan leaders with a dominating majority to produce a bipartisan effort set a new tone? Nope, and now the Democratic is paying the price and giving Republicans upward momentum – and yes, I called that too.

On the Moderates’ Dilemma

We moderates have a dilemma. On one side of the political aisle;

  • Republicans are drifting aimlessly in search of their identity.
  • Rush and his wannabe talk hosts continue to be a loud voice, not for all Republicans.
  • The GOP’s conservative wing is negative about every idea different from their own, thus welcomes anyone desiring to join them while proclaiming no compromise.
  • Minority Leader John Boehner tries to regain the people’s ear by saying Republicans strayed away from their ideals and calling Democratic actions a “sideshow”, meanwhile forgetting that he was the circus ring-leader during those straying days.
  • The Republican party lacking credibility, and party leaders act like they are 300 miles from shore in a small boat rowing into a stiff wind with a set of toothpicks.
  • Calls of socialism and comparison President Obama to leaders as Stalin continues to serve as red meat for the partisans while alienating moderates and reinforcing their lack of credibility.
  • GOP language and action continues to serve as a divisive wedge aimed at regaining their political foothold, meanwhile lack providing meaningful solutions.

Meanwhile on the Democratic side of the aisle;

  • Speaker Pelosi continues to lead in a partisan manner, thus foregoing a bipartisan response in favor of forcing an ideological agenda.
  • Democratic operatives are lining up at the pork buffet. Sure pork is actually a small portion of the total budget, but it’s about principles.
  • Senate Leader Harry Reid’s focuses his effort to back the Pelosi-driven agenda by either limiting Democratic defectors to keep the majority or to gain GOP defectors to get the key 60.
  • Groups as MoveOn.org, the Campaign for America’s Future, and US Action are already targeting centrist Democrats for “standing in the way of the president’s programs.”
  • In other words, the Democrats are using a bully pulpit.

Meanwhile at the White House;

  • President Obama won many votes because people believed he would work in a bipartisan manner, yet the Democratic agenda unquestionably succeeds.
  • President Obama speaks out against pork spending after signing two massive bills, each loaded with unnecessary bacon.
  • White House actions demonstrate more partisanship than bipartisanship.
  • President Obama’s simultaneous attacks on all major issues are either based on blind faith, the rolling the dice, or a tribute to his own ego.
  • As the people appreciate the president’s leadership presence, Congress has yet to figure out that if they could deliver serious solution, President Obama is the one who could sell it to the people.

With one party bullying a partisan agenda and the other lacking credibility, who is serving as the voice of moderates? Who is there to stop a large-scale agenda that cannot fit into the established pipeline?

It’s time for the moderates in both parties to rise up and block the current Democratic agenda; however, not to support the Republican ideas, but to lead in a sensible fashion at this critical time. A recent 51-48 vote shows signs of this in the making.

There’s a risk for moderates to go against their party because the party can withdraw their support in future elections. After all, the two most powerful lobbies are the Republican and Democratic parties. I can still hear former senator saying, “If you do what’s right, you won’t get re-elected.”

Our crisis continues to be too great to let partisan agendas have higher priority than our current needs. The current polarization is simply a matter of partisan politics displayed by both parties. As liberals and conservatives may not appreciate this post, let me remind each of them that the voting moderates/centrists/independents are the ones deciding elections.

Mr. President, I suggest you grab the center because the public will do to the bullies on the left what it did to the bullies on the right. If patriotic solutions can’t be found, bring on the stalemate so we can throw the bums out!

Numerous Resources to Read

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 15

On the President’s Birth Certificate
I continue to be amazed that numerous partisans continue to maintain that President Obama was not “naturally born” in this country, thus the Constitution doesn’t support his presidency. Of course many of these people would claim fraud even if they pulled the certificate themselves from the Hawaii files.

I offer these two sources for the sensible seeking closure to this conspiracy theory.

FYI: Hawaii law only releases birth and marriage certificates to the person on the documents or their immediate relatives.

On Partisan Divisions
Is anyone tired of the opposing party giving their response after the president addresses Congress? Come on parties, start showing country-first behavior … yes that also applies to the Democrats the next time you’re out of the White House.

Although the call of socialism by the GOP against the President Obama continues to serve as red meat for the partisans, the language of socialism and idolization of Joe the Plumber serves as an intentionally-delivered divisive wedge. Why? Surely not for the purpose of working toward a constructive solution; therefore it is only aimed at regaining their political foothold. Nothing else and nothing more.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) is calling for a spending freeze. How about starting with freezing Congressional salaries until the Federal government operates for two consecutive years without a deficit? Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi (another problem) squashed that idea.

Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) states, “In just one month, the Democrats have spent more than President Bush spent in seven years on the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan and Hurricane Katrina combined.” Here’s the math.

On Earmarks
I’ve taken my shots at John Boehner many times, but he was correct to remind President Obama about his campaign stance on earmarks.

I know earmarks are actually a small percentage of the budget. People simply want efficient spending, which may be wishful thinking. For those wanting more on the Pelosi-Reid-led legislation of earmarks, here’s a source.

On President Bush
I continue to hope that neither Obama administration nor Congress will waste their time, effort, and money toward investigating the Bush administration. There are bigger and more important problems on the plate!

I just finished an article about loyalists working to preserve his legacy. One way or the other, time – and only time – will make that decision.

On the Stimulus Negotiations

Our economic situation is serious, yet Capitol Hill behavior more closely resembles the halls of a high school than the hallowed halls of leadership. The scrambling lawmakers are the students rushing a major project the night before it’s due while participating in juvenile name-calling and labeling as they pout, sulk, and complain with their club of pathetic peers.

I’m unhappy with the House Democrats for unnecessary loading up a bill as if were the holiday shopping season and essentially acting as legislative bullies. I’m unhappy with the majority of Republicans who continue to act as whiners and intentional obstructionists under the sham of protecting our fiscal interests. I’m unhappy with the leadership on both sides for distorting the facts and not acting in the country’s best interest.

In the spirit of debate, the congressional inept argue to determine the least effective of the least harmful plan – not a plan to benefit the country. Both sides have a greater concern for their ideology and making the other side look bad over finding a favorable solution. Their pathetic nature makes one wonder if the problem really exists or do they even care? Let’s us remember that only 3 GOP senators worked to seek a compromise … and I applaud their effort.

I’m not disappointed with President Obama because the White House doesn’t serve as a law maker. He has his views, but I believe he wants a genuine bipartisan effort. According to the polls, many more support the president than support Congress.

People are, and have been, tired of partisan politics … and that is part of the change voted in November. The nearly-equal split between moderate independents regarding the stimulus bill shows the next step. Since Congress continues to operate business as usual figuring the president will take the blame, it’s time for President Obama to use his political capital by vetoing the bill and toss it back onto the lap of the problem. The people will love it and Congress will face the pressure to be constructive. 

Although the votes aren’t there to override the veto, President Obama has taken a stand, thus can’t veto this bill. Hopefully he will consider this tactic on the next round.

I’m not an avid disciple of columnist Peggy Noonan, but her new book will help anyone understand the need for change in Washington. For starters, the title says a lot: Patriotic Grace: What It Is and Why We Need It Now. It is a good read, so check your local library.

Sound philosophical debates should be part of the process; meanwhile, let us continue to watch Capitol Hill work in the best interest of their party and their special interests, thus without the patriotic grace we need and deserve.