There's an old saying which admonishes us to "take care of home first." There's another which says "know which side your bread is buttered." Or how about, "dance with who brung ya." All of them offer the same general pearls of wisdom; knowing where your true support base resides and making sure they remain your top priority.
Everyone else is secondary.
President Obama by most accounts is as vulnerable as ever since ascending to the Oval Office. We can analyze the minutia ad infinitum, point our fingers of blame at Tea Party politics and assail the rhetoric of the right wing more broadly. Nevertheless, the problems of President Obama are ultimately of his own creation. We can even make a meaningful and substantive argument as to how the debt ceiling fiasco was a direct result of extremist interests which took Congress hostage. It's neither here nor there. President Obama is the captain of this ship and when it runs aground, blame will be cast accordingly and rightfully.
Many within the Democratic party have become disenchanted with the president because he has not clung to the party ideology or protected what loyalists hold most dear. What heretofore was untouchable in the debt ceiling debate was put on the table in order to resolve it.
Republicans never made any attempt to meet him halfway. A bipartisan approach to governance only works when the opposing party is actually interested in working for the good of the country. If the earlier healthcare reform debate revealed anything at all, it's that Republicans are wholly uninterested in working with this administration, only about the business for maintaining the socioeconomic status quo through obstruction.
Bailing out the banks and the automotive industry may have been nice gestures, but did nothing for the widest swath of America. I wonder what the average American feels at this moment, battling historic levels of unemployment and incessant calls from bank creditors trying to squeeze blood from a turnip. Unfortunately, average Americans weren't afforded the opportunity to come before Congress with equal levels of arrogance and impunity on the way to receiving a fresh start as Wall Street did. For all the discussion of Wall Street vs. Main Street during the election of 2008, Main Street got the shaft. Again.
"Take care of home first."
President Obama has not and we now have an unhappy home... for those of us who still have one.
The reality is that Wall Street can not and will not get President Obama re-elected. They never were connected to the Democratic base and never will be.
"Know which side of your bread is buttered."
President Obama has made political concession after concession after concession, arguably to position his administration above the partisan fray of recent years. While ostensibly admirable, it has yielded nothing, except an emboldened Republican opposition and increased Democratic disillusion. Give a mouse a cookie, he won't thank you and leave, he'll demand a glass of milk to wash it down.
America has a rodent problem. Mr. President, please stop feeding the animals. You have given the Republicans an inch and now they're running the proverbial mile.
I'll use 100 more trite clichés if need be.
If they encourage our president to finally go "Samuel L. Jackson" on the Republicans, I'm all for it. The Pulp Fiction Samuel L. Jackson. The Negotiator Samuel L. Jackson, complete with screaming, profanity and facial contortions.
Yes, President Obama addressing America from the Oval Office á la "Julius" citing Ezekiel 25:17 wouldn't only be cool, it would now be appropriate.
Enough is enough.
A disillusioned Democratic base historically has signified low voter turnouts on election day and ultimately Republican victories.
African-Americans, white middle America and Latinos voted for Obama en masse in 2008, hoping for a different climate and a marked change in the Washington modus operandi. We collectively escorted Barack Obama to the Inaugural Ball.
I won't speak for anyone else, but I know we as African-Americans are still waiting for our chance to cut in and dance this waltz.
"Dance with who brung ya."
Elections are swung by small margins, not large ones. President Obama retaining only 88% of the African-American vote in 2012 as opposed to the estimated 92% or more in 2008 could be disastrous.
Despite seemingly dire circumstances, we all know the political climate changes by the hour. Just months ago, our president was riding high on the wave of having killed Osama bin Laden. These days he is mired in an economic morass, simultaneous to the loss of 30 American servicemen in Afghanistan in a tragic helicopter ambush.
The winds will change directions multiple times between now and election day 2012. The question is whether our president will impose his will on the weather or continue to choose the path of least resistance in his ongoing effort to be conciliatory. In the remaining months of this term, I implore President Obama to return to the fundamental principles of the Democratic Party, leading the way and no longer allowing rogue Republican interests to stand in the way. It is essential and integral to restoring the party base which must undergird any re-election bid.
Otherwise, any inferior Republican candidate will easily become our next commander-in-chief.
Morris W. O'Kelly (Mo'Kelly) is a regular political commentator for the BBC Radio and Television networks and author of the syndicated column The Mo'Kelly Report. For more Mo'Kelly, go to his site. Mo'Kelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and he welcomes all commentary.