President Barack Obama has admitted the Democrats were trounced, losing 64 seats in the House and six in the Senate. I predicted they would lose the Senate. But they were lucky that angry Americans had the good sense not to give in to their rage. The voters rejected the ridiculous candidates of the Republican-Tea Party alliance, e.g., in Nevada and Delaware, and elsewhere they decided to give Democratic incumbents another chance.
Will the Democratic Party learn from the drubbing and loss of one House? Probably not, but hope springs eternal. Maybe Democrats will take a hint and begin moving to a moderate left position, pulling back from their heretofore more radical left position which they prefer to call "progressive."
I believe that "progressive" as a description of political stance is meant today to convey a position several lengths to the left of liberal. When I was in Congress (1969-1977), I referred to myself as a "liberal with sanity." Most Democrats then referred to themselves as liberals and a few like Bella Abzug, who came from a radical left background, called themselves "progressives" to convey that they were the cutting edge.
This country is now by a plurality moderate conservative with moderate liberal a close second and independents deciding the outcome of elections.
In the two years of President Obama's term, he sought to align himself on many matters with the progressives. But he disappointed those progressives and many liberals with his opposition to same-sex marriage and failure to rescind "don't ask, don't tell," and failure to close Guantanamo.
Notwithstanding President Obama's enormous rebuff by the voters, I believe he can recoup in time to win the 2012 presidential election. Here's how.
Before Republicans begin their efforts to destroy his comprehensive health care bill, the President should offer his own amendments. He should propose letting all insurance carriers offer their policies in all 50 states to increase competition, regulate premium increases, and allow Medicare to seek volume prescription drug discounts - barred under the current law - which could save hundreds of billions of dollars over a ten-year period. He should end the Afghanistan war by immediately ordering our troops to return home and similarly direct that the 50,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq be brought home now as well. He should offer legislation requiring doctors to accept Medicare payments and not as some doctors do require upfront payments by patients. He should announce that we are prepared to wage a 50-year war against the Islamist terrorists now seeking to destroy Western civilization and that we will not compromise with the jihadists under any circumstances, and will call them by their rightful name - Islamic terrorists - not simply militants and will ask the media to do the same.
President Obama should seek to create three "Manhattan Projects." First, he should support sufficient research and development funding to make available as soon as scientifically possible alternate energy sources so as to actually implement the promise of every President since Jimmy Carter: that we end our reliance on foreign oil, hopefully within the next four years. The second Project should be the creation of a process to desalinate the oceans' waters at a reasonable cost before our fresh water supplies diminish to a dangerous point. Third, he should create a Manhattan Project to find the causes and a cure for Alzheimer's and dementia. At this moment, 50 percent of everyone over 85 will ultimately suffer from Alzheimer's or dementia, which will cost the government trillions of dollars in providing long-term care. The cost of the Manhattan Project to create the atomic bomb in true dollars today would be $21 billion. It was worth it.
Above all else, the President should make clear to the public that he sees the Democratic Party not as a vehicle for socialism, but as a vehicle to implement fairness and justice in the mold of social Democrats who believe in our capitalist economic system, with rigorous but not onerous regulations to protect the public in all spheres of public intercourse and commerce, allowing people to rise in our society according to their abilities and at the same time provide a safety net for those who need a helping hand.
Indeed, for me the major difference between the Democratic and Republican parties which has made me a proud Democrat is that the Democratic Party's policy is to provide a helping hand to those in need, whilst the Republican Party has taken the position, if others have made it on their own, the poor, unskilled and those simply having bad luck or dealt a bad hand will have to make it on their own.
There is so much more to be said and so many with greater credentials than I to say it, but this is a beginning. Let others offer their advice.
It's important for everyone to remember how much we owe to this country for all it has given us; and how much we owe the future generations who will occupy this land, "from sea to shining sea." We must continue to be seen by billions as a beacon of light to the world. They will criticize us, but they would love to live here if they could.
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