Having given the president a much-deserved word-processor-lashing last week, it's now time to pick him up and dust him off.
A good coach doesn't just yell at a kid for doing something stupid and leave it at that. (I generally laugh at a kid for doing something stupid, which is part of the reason why I've never claimed to be a good coach.) However, after the laughter dies down, I do try to offer some help in the way of, "Next time that situation arises, why not try it this way?"
Not that I could ever actually be Barack Obama's coach. If I were, I'd kick him off the team for smoking.
More than a few Dems let me know that they thought I was too hard on the president. Many took the tack of, "What was he supposed to do? The Tea Party jackasses were willing to hold their breath until the country passed out." Well, he had several options, but when he looked at the multiple-choice question, he froze and circled "none of the above."
It's real simple (and totally useless) for the average citizen such as myself to say, "Well, I know what I would have done," because we really don't. We just think we do. But what would other presidents have done? That's fairly easy to discern. I'm not old enough to remember Harry Truman, but from what I've read and heard, it's reasonable to assume he would have taken the fight to Congress.
If Lyndon Johnson had been president, the minute John Boehner walked into the White House conference room, he would have discovered a half-open folder full of 8-by-10 glossies of himself and the lobbyist he had been shtupping. The negotiations would have taken a different tone thereafter. And if the Tea Party crazies had threatened to shut down the government and the economy with Bill Clinton in office, the man from Arkansas would have said, "Go ahead, bitches; do your worst. We'll see who takes the blame and who comes out on top."
But Obama chose to do nothing, and there's only one other Democratic president who would have done that: Jimmy Carter. Nice man, humanitarian, builds a darn fine low-income house. But he was a crappy (one-term) president, and Obama's heading down that road if he doesn't develop a backbone. He can't keep retreating and living to fight another day. If he keeps that up, his finite supply of "another day" is going to run out on Jan. 19, 2013.
Having said all that, I must add that I plan on voting for Barack Obama again in 2012. Who else am I supposed to vote for, Michele Bachmann? (One l, two n's, no sense.) Ron Paul? The racist pizza guy? No, unless the Republican Party can pull a Jurassic Park and somehow genetically resurrect Abraham Lincoln, I'm voting for the Democrat. I might also settle for the resurrection of Teddy Roosevelt, who had a healthy cynicism toward the excesses of big business.
The thing is that neither Abe Lincoln nor Teddy Roosevelt would be welcome in today's Republican Party. Heck, when Teddy Roosevelt started establishing national parks and monuments, much to the chagrin of the timber and mining interests, Roosevelt was effectively kicked out of the Republican Party halfway through his second term. He wasn't even welcome back then! (I've always found it amazing that many Republicans don't realize that "conservation" and "conservative" share the same root.)
Anyway, I've been trying to figure out a way to get President Obama jump-started in the right direction. I remember that Bill Clinton used the Fleetwood Mac song "Don't Stop (Thinkin' About Tomorrow)" to great effectiveness during his first campaign. Just think of the damage he could have done had he used Parliament's "We Want the Funk" instead. I know that the official title is "Give up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)," but most white people know it as "We Want the Funk," because they heard it in a Target commercial.
The perfect song came to me pretty quickly. It's a classic from the pre-Parliament funkmasters, Sly and the Family Stone. They made brilliant music until their leader, Sylvester Stewart (Sly Stone), decided to snort the entire layer of topsoil from the entirety of Colombia. Single-handedly, he made the Grateful Dead look like Amish. The song's called "Stand!" and the lyrics go like this:
Stand! In the end, you'll still be you, one that's done all the things you set out to do ...
Stand! There's a cross for you to bear, things to go through if you're going anywhere ...
Stand! All the things you want are real; you have you to complete and there is no deal ...
Stand! You've been sitting much too long; there's a permanent crease in your right and wrong ...
Stand! They will try to make you crawl, and they know what you're saying makes sense and all ...
That's pretty deep. Plus, there's this really funky horn/gospel shout-out breakdown at the end that would get even Sarah Palin's bootie to shakin'.
So, that's my advice, Mr. President, short and simple: Stand up to the Tea Party bullies. Stand your ground. Stand for something.