After watching the new president's inaugural speech, I am taken by his call to "pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and remake America." His call for our society to do big things, to put aside petty politics, leave behind clearly failed policies of the past and move forward with new ideas and in the spirit of fixing the problems we have was well received by me and, from what I gather, most Americans.
So great. Right guy, right message, time to move forward, do new things, get this country going again. There is a willing public seeking leadership, change and a return to better times. On top of that, Obama has a plan of action to start down this road that he's seeking to get passed into law.
All seems good, right?
Wrong. Despite all of the above, who do you think might impede progress? Who do you think would dig in, cry "foul," and reverse their previous stances simply to cause paralysis at the moment we need action? Yes, you guessed it...the Republican Party.
Yep, like that creepy uninvited drunk loner guy at your party who is scaring off all the girls and talking like a braggart to the other guys about how cool he is and how he's gonna beat up someone tonight, the Republicans are single handedly orchestrating a national buzz kill of serious proportions.
Sure, you may say to yourself that, hey, Obama is president and there is a Democratic Party majority in both houses of Congress so he should be able to do what he wants to. You'd be right, but you'd also be wrong.
Yes, both houses have Demo majorities and Obama is a Democrat. Yes, Obama and the Dems have a plan to get the country moving again. And sure, there's room to negotiate and change the plan to get all on board. However, in the Senate, the Republicans hold enough seats that they can filibuster and therefore defeat legislation Obama and the Democrats want.
And I learned this week that they are using the threat of using this minimal but significant amount of power to thwart Obama's plans...to the degree that Obama had to turn to Republicans this week amidst their false scare tactics of protest over "big government," "socialism," "more tax cuts," etc. to say to them, "Remember, I won."
Hey, the Democrats are no great shakes. They're only a very little different that Republicans in my mind. But, Obama did win and damn it he should get his chance to enact new policies.
That is why I think this Republican maneuver so early in the Obama administration and contrary to the will of the citizenry is an ominous sign that the Republican Party will not take up Obama's call to meet these historic times as Americans rather than Ds and Rs and instead serve up their usual ration of partisan hate and obstruction of progress.
I mean, come on. All of a sudden, the party that presided over the biggest expansion in the size of government in U.S. history is deriding Obama's plans as "big government." Over night, the party responsible for turning our federal budget surplus of 2000 into the largest federal budget deficit in U.S. history is now saying Obama's plans will drive up deficits. Get the picture? No credibility.
So, will the "creepy drunk guy at your party" (Republicans) succeed in alienating everyone at the party (our economy) - shutting it down for good? Or, will some of the level headed party goers (voters) shut him up or show him the door?
We shall see. The next month should be interesting in finding out the answers to those questions.