I want to publicly thank Bill O'Reilly. Up until his recent appearance on the Daily Show, I had foolishly started to believe that the right-wing cluster of our "Happy Family" political spectrum still had rational members, and by extension, rational ideas.
So I started to nod whenever I heard right-wing pundits and politicians say America is a center-right country. Therefore, Barack Obama has to be bipartisan in his cabinet selection. Otherwise, they say, the country will explode into civil war and Congress will grind to a stand still, which is weird because I thought Obama secured 52.7% of the popular vote, which is more than any Democrat has won since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. That sounds like a mandate.
Furthermore, Congress securing 57 seats sounds like a mandate. And 3 seats are still up in the air, though the race in Alaska now seems to favor Democrat Mark Begich by 1,022 votes, which again proves that Alaskans will only tolerate the "Maverick" thing until you're convicted on seven felony counts. Sorry, Uncle Ted. Minnesota's Norm Coleman barely leads Democratic contender, Al Fraken, by 206 votes. Meanwhile, Georgians are having a mandatory run-off election.
The point is things look great for Democrats. So why are their spines turning to jello already? Conservatives are muttering that 52.7% of the popular vote and 57 congressional seats are hardly a mandate, but George W. Bush swaggered into his second term with around 50% of the public behind him, and called it a mandate, so why can't the same standards be applied to this election?
But putting aside the popular vote, some recent polling about issues most important to Americans is very telling. In a New York Times/CBS poll, voters overwhelming declared the issues most important to them are the Iraq war and healthcare. At the time, only 27% approved of president Bush's handling of healthcare. More importantly, the poll also showed that Americans are willing to make significant trade-offs for a better healthcare plan, including paying $500 more annually and foregoing future tax cuts. This puts a dent in the Republican theory that Americans universally reject raising taxes. On Americans' part, that kind of thinking sounds pretty progressive. Oh, it also sounds like a mandate.
One might even say Barack Obama has a Progressive mandate from the American people.
In order to thwart this stubborn fact of reality, the right-wingers defer to their second favorite Republican of all, all time, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln, they smugly remind those of us who cling to our fact sheets, had a bipartisan cabinet.
Well, yeah, but he has also just led the country through a Civil War, and he had a tenuous grip on the country. If he hadn't invited his enemies into his cabinet, everything would have fallen apart. Now, the Republicans will surely whine and bitch for the next four-to-eight years, but I doubt they'll take up arms and storm the Capitol.
This sudden embracing of all things bipartisan is curious, especially from a party that has been so consistently partisan for the past decade. Where were the cries for inclusion during the Bush reign? It's as though the Republicans and the right-wing media are in utter denial about their presidential loss, Congressional loss, and also the future of their political party.
Which explains why they're desperately trying to finagle their way into the Oval Office. They've already made great strides in hammering the "Continuity" drum. Certain members of the intelligence community must remain in place, they say, or Al-Qaeda will catch whiff of the exact moment of transformation and attack. This is speculative reasoning, at best, and there is no evidence that the United States would be made considerably more vulnerable by officially firing the old guard Bushies.
Now is the time for President-elect Obama to act like a stern father, tell the Republicans to be quiet for a while, and start undoing the damage done by the Bush administration. It's also the time to consider reality and start objectively weeding through corrupt ideologies. Being inclusive will only get you so far before it gets you under the track of the Republican tank.
Obama can't tolerate the Neo-Conservative policies of torture, preemptive, endless war, and domestic spying. He must unequivocally denounce these policies, and distance himself from the perpetrators of these crimes. That includes people like Jamie Miscik, who is helping to lead the review of intelligence agencies and is making recommendations to the new administration. Obama, no doubt, made this decision in the spirit of bipartisanship. It certainly can't be because of Miscik's resume, which reads like a disaster list of failed life decisions.
Miscik, who was fired by Porter Goss, is the former Deputy Director for Intelligence. She is guilty of passing along the October 2002 estimate, complete with the 28 lies Colin Powell eventually delivered to the UN, which is now considered an international embarrassment. Basically, this is the lady who supplied the lies that led us to war. Some countries consider that a war crime.
But that requires a rational examination of history. It's 2008. We don't consider history anymore. Polling tells us Americans are ready for Progressive policies, the Bush doctrine has failed, but we're not concerned with this reality. It took Bill O'Reilly to make me realize that.
Up is down. Black is White. Brown bears are Pandas, and America is not a Progressive country. That's what the Republicans would have us all believe. Except, it's not true.
That's when Bill O'Reilly reminded me the truth doesn't matter. Not as long as you're a pig-headed bully with a fat paycheck and control over corporate airwaves. The truth doesn't matter if you can out-muscle and out-shout your opponent.
John Stewart foolishly tried to reason with O'Reilly and point out the obvious: a majority of America voted for Barack Obama, who based his campaign on Progressive ideals: ending the wars, providing health care for citizens, creating green jobs, establishing a living wage, and restoring America's standing in the world. John argues, therefore, that the country is Progressive.
Watch O'Reilly's head nearly explode:
This isn't a matter of vengeance. The American people will never "get square" with the Republicans. Their Constitution is in shambles. Their rights have been violated. Their safety is in grave jeopardy because of the imperial desires of a handful of needle-dick Neo-Cons.
This is a matter of being sane and remembering the last eight years. It's time to stop letting people who have no grip on reality dictate the future of America. The country isn't center-right, you're not a bold, fresh piece of humanity, and that is not a fucking panda bear.