The recent decision by President Obama to "release" the stranglehold that Republicans have on middle class tax cuts, is a sure sign that even in today's politically charged Washington, something's got to give. The question on the horizon -- do Democrats and Americans feel comfortable with the methods the president employs to "get things done"?
The Bush era tax cuts were a sure way to generate joy and satisfaction with Americans, and with wealthy ones in particular. The longstanding GOP plank of "giving to the rich, while hoping that they [eventually] give to the poor" has been a thorn in the side of Democrats for as long as I can recall. But with the economy still teetering on the fence of instability, what counts as "fair game" when it comes to helping the American people? Is it kosher for a president to seemingly side, or at least lean towards the political opposition, to get the wheels of government turning?
I've always felt that one of the keys to being a good president involves the ability to be a great negotiator; to get a clear understanding of what's at stake with both sides of an arguement, and to cleanly divide the "wants" from the "needs" to end up with a solid, well-though out plan. We all know that business isn't always pretty, and that the business of politics, with its pomp and circumstance, is no different. But with the clear end-user in politics being the country's citizens, the stakes are much higher than your ordinary run-of-the-mill customer. Lives and livelihoods are in the balance, which, if nothing else, emphasizes the outcomes of any presidential decision.
So as the president meanders his way around Washington's business "culture," are his decisions so far a result of his having to dodge political fights, or are they his way of starting them?
To many, the latter seems very far off base with what he has done so far. People are yearning for the president to put on the gloves and take on the GOP mano-a-mano (your's truly notwithstanding). The GOP has always been an 800 pound gorilla, backed by the muscle of the wealthy, the business owners, and the investors. So what better fight to watch, than to see the president put his dukes up and come out swinging with Republicans? Sure, this presidency has many firsts, so perhaps the president is trying to make it a clean and tidy legacy. But why go through the effort to make compromises, to try and keep things clean and tidy, if you end up losing so much?
In my mind, a successful concerted effort is one which has evidence of battle scars that come along with the gold medals. There's a saying "no pain no gain", and in this political climate I don't think there's any other way around it. The proof that I see lies in the faces and the attitudes of many Americans -- unemployed, homeless or losing their homes, and worried about their future. Meanwhile, the GOP is wiping the Democratic blood off of its hands, coming out of the mid-term elections like a prize fighter after beating up a scrawny teenager. The president is now feeling it from all directions now, so in my mind his unwillingness to "put down his law degree, and swap it for a baseball bat" is coming back to haunt him.
As even liberal Americans become unsatisfied with the president's efforts, the 800 pound gorilla is now getting close to 1000 pounds, and still growing.
The brute strength that comes from this, may ultimately be the redefining of politics in America.