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Bill Allen Headshot

Drive to the basket, Mr. President!

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During the State of the Union address, for the first time, I got a glimpse of the man I voted for in the 2008 election. His performance during the speech and against the right-wing clones at their "retreat," was an indication that he should just start telling it like it is. Frank Rich is right -- there isn't an LBJ anywhere in Congress. How enthusiastic can anyone be with the Democratic leadership in either house? Give me a break. I've seen more fire and backbone in al dente spaghetti.

Sorry, Mr. President, but you're the one who has to be both Sam Rayburn and LBJ and threaten, reward, or whatever it takes to do a spine graft on Congress. It's time to stop being nice. Keep calling the Republicans out. Remember that even though the facts are on your side, that doesn't matter all that much to voters unless you put it on our level. Keep it simple. Tell the voters directly and often what these clowns on the far right are really trying to do. Explain what your proposals mean in health care for them. Their costs will go down, overall health care costs contained, more people covered. Keep it simple. Explain the catastrophe lurking if the Republicans manage to stop any reforms for their Wall Street buddies. The obscene bonuses will just get bigger; the tax-payers will just be on the hook for more bail-outs; and either their or their neighbor's house will be in foreclosure because bankers and others on Wall Street and Fleet Street and even in Beijing figured out that without controls (thanks to their Republican collaborators) they can again leave the taxpayers with the losses while they upgrade their yachts. Keep it simple.

You don't even have to tell the public that the Republicans' real effort has nothing to do with any legislation at this point and that it's all about destroying your presidency. The Republicans just won't accept that you won the election. To them bipartisanship means, "Do it our way or we will make sure nothing gets done."

Just keep hammering them all -- both Republicans and Democrats. Keep it simple. Surely you can find one of LBJ's bullwhips around to use. And where the hell is Rahm in his combat boots these days? He was supposed to be the one who knew how to kick ass and take names. He needs to unlock the closet full of brass knuckles and delicious desserts -- and not be afraid to use whichever he needs to get your ideas enacted into law. He knows how. With the stunning lack of success in moving things through, the results so far look as if he slipped into a white sundress and is serving tea on a manicured lawn somewhere. If he can't be a pit bull, then find one or do it yourself.

You've shown that you got game, sir. At some point, Mr. President, you have to stop taking jump shots from ten feet behind the 3-point line while watching your inside guys get beaten on the boards. Just drive to the basket right past, through or over the bastards. Time is running out and the good guys are behind.