Saturday, November 22, 2008
If it's reasonable to draw any conclusions about the meaning of electing Barack Obama, the central one might be that enough people said "enough!" Time to get to work; time to focus on issues rather than politics. That's what I had in mind, anyway.
So the question is, will congressional Republicans rise to the occasion? Will enough of them work with Democrats -- and will Democrats include them -- to the extent that party can be put aside while we work our way out of the many messes in which we find ourselves? Signals from the right are at best, mixed.
Regarding that last link: it's my impression that for mangy Mitch, obstruction has become his mantra. For its own sake. Nor has it faded from my memory -- as it seems to have from his -- that in the first years of the Bush administration (the very term puts the "moron" in "oxymoron"), when Republicans controlled the ball, they made a point of NOT including Democrats in any significant way. And, oh yeah, the Republicans -- who filibustered legislation in the last two years more than any group in any congress in history -- screamed bloody murder back then whenever the Dems threatened or used the filibuster.
To be a politician, you have to have the ability to say a thing and later say the opposite, not only without hesitation but without the least sense of irony. It defines the subspecies.
Time will tell. I do think Obama continues to signal a desire to include everyone; and it's already clear, by way of appointments so far, that he intends to surround himself with brilliant people who are not ideologues. I wonder how long it will be -- if it ever even happens -- before those who characterized him as the "most liberal Senator," a Marxist/socialist/terrorist/Muslim/America-hater will notice? Might be a while.
Even so, I'm cautiously optimistic. Results will speak for themselves. And it will be a survival test for the crazy-talk wing of the right wing: if no crisis is too great; if there is no national need that could ever justify putting aside reactionary rhetoric, then a successful Obama administration might -- as a welcome side-effect -- put their brand of idiocy out of business. And, given the numbers, it'll only require a couple of decent conservatives to make it happen.