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Clarence B. Jones

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Are There Any Republican Adults in the Room: The Challenge Confronting Our Country

Posted: 07/24/11 11:00 AM ET

At the hastily called White House news conference following the collapse of discussions with Speaker John Boehner on raising the debt ceiling and deficit reduction, President Obama rhetorically asked: "Is there anything that the Republicans can say 'yes' to?" Yes, there is: his resignation or re-election defeat.

If it were not clear before, it is unmistakably clear now that the majority of Republicans in Congress are prepared to subordinate the best interests and welfare of our country, and violate their oaths of office, in pursuit of defeating Obama; at all costs.

In an earlier blog captioned "No Drama Obama" on June 30, 2011, I wrote:

It it now clear that the Republican Party is dominated by persons who, under no circumstances, no way, no how, in this life, or the next, will accept the legitimacy of Obama, as an African-American, as president of this great nation. Few people have the guts or the courage to tell it like it is, lest they be criticized for "playing the race card," or suggesting that an African-American who becomes president somehow should not be criticized, but "given a pass" based on some offensive "double standard," etc, etc.

I am not suggesting or advocating any kid-gloves treatment of Obama because of his ethnicity. However, any careful observer of the media or listener to talk radio across our nation can only conclude that the antagonistic opposition to Obama is because of who he is, pure and simple. Ex-constitutional Harvard Law Review president, no-drama Obama, has obviously unhinged a substantial segment of our body politic.

"This debate boils down to a simple choice," the president said. "We can come together for the good of the country and reach a compromise; we can strengthen our economy and leave for our children a more secure future. Or we can issue insults and demands and ultimatums at each another, withdraw to our partisan corners, and achieve nothing." (Obama's weekly Radio address)

Just what is the definition or concept of leadership subscribed to by Republicans in Congress?

"To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is even more difficult," (Nietzsche). Winston Churchill stated "The price of greatness is responsibility... The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

The president, the Democratic Party, indeed the people of the United States, is now confronted with an extraordinary challenge to the full faith and credit of the United States. Are obligations issued by the United States government going to be honored or defaulted and compromised after August 2, 2011?

The Republican leadership in Congress is in a parallel universe divorced from day-to-day governance reality of managing the economy and the financial obligations of our nation. The president and the Democratic Party have no realistic political choice or option except taking the Republican obstructionism to the country at large. Since Obama has been unable to change the reality perceived by the Republican Party, he, the Democratic Party, and independents must mount a decisive political re-election campaign to change the eyes in Congress that see the current Republican reality.

President Obama's "balanced approach" to deficit reduction by revenue increases, initially through elimination of tax subsidies, and expiration of the Bush tax cuts, along with careful, prudent and phased-in reductions in the cost of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, have been rejected by the Republican controlled House and Republican leadership in the Senate.

Under existing urgent circumstances, President Obama, must do what he has to do to protect the welfare of the nation. In a word, he and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner must do whatever is necessary, by the exercise of his powers as president under the Constitution, to protect the good and welfare and national security of the United States as a credit worthy nation.

To those progressives in the Democratic Party or independents who may be justifiably concerned that President Obama is compromising too much; if you want to strengthen his stand, be prepared to mount a challenge in every Congressional District across the country to all those currently elected Republicans or Democrats who oppose the efforts of the president. Or, short-term, chose the earliest date when you and one million of your friends and supporters are prepared to come to Washington and engage in a non-violent 24/7 "sit-in" outside and around Congress, keeping it in session until members discharge their duties under their respective oaths of office to raise the debt ceiling and reduce the deficit.

Resolution of the debt ceiling and deficit reduction crisis is also essential because waiting on the other side of these unresolved issues are other major problems requiring immediate attention by the White House:

  1. Illegal immigration and border security;
  2. Housing foreclosures and effective 16 percent unemployment, not 9.2. percent. Unemployment is the largest driver of home foreclosures;
  3. Addressing our 50-year failed "War On Drugs" and its dual adverse consequence of creating a new "51st State of State Prison Incarceration" with a new inmate demographic consisting principally of Hispanic and African-American males and providing the billions of dollars that ignites and fuels the engines of the narco-terrorists in Mexico who supply our consumer market for illegal marijuana and cocaine;
  4. Providing our state and local governments with the resources to repair and replace their decaying infrastructures of bridges and highways;
  5. Reducing our presence and funding of our military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (Hey! By the way; where were all of the deficit hawks when President George W. Bush initiated and conducted those wars "off the books," with no off-setting cuts or revenues to finance them);
  6. Resuming priority attention to resolving the Israel-Palestine dispute over their respective national borders and a two-state solution. The Palestinians say they plan to take their efforts for recognition as a sovereign independent State to the United Nations General Assembly this September. This will unavoidably become a major issue in U.S. domestic politics.

In a speech at the State Department on May 19, 2011, President Obama said:

(T)he events of the past six months show us that strategies of repression and diversion won't work anymore. Satellite television and the Internet provide a window into the wider world -- a world of astonishing progress in places like India, Indonesia and Brazil. Cell phones and social networks allow young people to connect and organize like never before.

A new generation has emerged. And their voices tell us that change cannot be denied... The United States opposes the use of violence and repression against the people of the region. We support a set of universal rights. Those rights include free speech; the freedom of peaceful assembly; freedom of religion; equality for men and women under the rule of law; and the right to choose your own leaders -- whether you live in Baghdad or Damascus; Sanaa or Tehran.

While the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, and a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.

  • 7. The 10th Anniversary of "9/11" this September will place the issue of our war on terror front and center on the national stage once more.

Efforts to address and resolve these issues require the president's time and attention. So, Obama is not unreasonable when he asks "Is there anything the Republicans can say 'yes' to?"