Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that health care finally passed. I am. (Especially since the year I've spent worrying that it wouldn't has given me an ulcer.) It just didn't need to be so hard.
If the GOP had waltzed in with majority's so large then by this time in their tenure the White House would have corporate billboards in the Rose Garden, our drinking water would glow in the dark, and they would have officially outlawed public funding for the teaching of French.
Now, with this stunning reversal of fortune, the president once again has some momentum. The White House can either continue to dream of bipartisanship on the GOP's terms, continue to pre-negotiate against themselves hoping to deliver bills that the GOP can stomach, or they can strike fear in the opposition and make the GOP come to them.
This president is probably the smartest one we've had in a generation but so far also one of the least feared. The GOP calls him a lying, socialist, Commie mole for al Qaeda and he continues to take the high road. I'm a Zen Buddhist and compassion is the core of our belief, but compassion is not blind. To borrow from another religious tradition, no matter how much you love your enemy, sometimes you just have to throw the moneychangers out of the temple.
I love raptors, redtail hawks especially, and Obama vs. the GOP reminds me of watching a redtail harassed by a murder of crows. I picture Obama, so dignified, so regal, ready to lead, while a bunch of shrilly screeching crows swoop and feign attacks at his head. I've watched these battles hundreds of times and always wonder why the redtail stands for it. He's twice as big and fifty times stronger. When the crows win and the redtail gives in and flies off from its perch, I always feel a pang of sadness.
But sometimes, the redtail has had enough of their feints and slights. It catches one of the crows in its talons and eats it, scattering the others in abject panic.
Joe Wilson after his, "You lie!" ejaculation would have been a choice meal for the president but others will come. The White House needs to look for the opening, look for the GOPer who crosses over the line.
And then gobble him up.
The cowards in their murder of crows will scatter and cower. And Obama will be free to enact the changes he wants and that he has promised. Today's historic health care victory must only be the beginning.