Before I discuss the debt ceiling deal and the political ramifications that it appears to have on the general perception of President Obama and the entire Democratic Party, I would like to share some insight. During the 2008 Presidential campaign I witnessed certain events that, I believe, will shed some light on the Obama presidency. To begin with, no one thought that he could actually win, and I mean no one! His candidacy became a running joke for Republicans, pre-Teabaggers, conservatives in general, and every good-old-boy with a 401k and vested interest in the preservation of the White-male-dominated-society of former U.S. presidents, which also included quite a few good-old-gals as well.
I can recall a certain incident, at a place where I used to do business, where people were holding a mock airfare booking contest to see who could get the cheapest first flight out of the country if Obama was somehow elected. And trust me when I say, that the rhetoric was heinous. One of the most venomous statements came from this conservative man who said, “There is no way in Hell that this country will ever elect one of those. It just cannot happen, and it will not happen. They need to know their role and stay in their place, where they belong. I’m so sick of seeing all of these ignorant ‘Tire People’ out campaigning for this primate. I want the first flight to England or Germany if ‘Mr. Watermelon’ gets elected. The ‘Tire People’ will go ape sh*t if he wins, and I don’t believe in evolution!” Now if you don’t understand the term ‘Tire People,’ just ask yourself what’s the one obvious thing that a tire and African-Americans have in common? You shouldn’t have to think too hard about that.
Now the most compelling precursor to the Obama presidency and the effect that it would have on the country came on the day of the election as this middle-aged, white man confronted me at a local gym. “So how does it feel to finally have your Black president?” he proceeded to ask me. “The polls say he’s actually going to win. I’m sure you and your people are very happy, but this is going to ruin this country even worse than it’s already ruined now. He has some nerve thinking that his kind deserves to be our President. These liberals and their social-engineering experiments are going to destroy America. Why couldn’t you guys just be happy with your projects, your rap music, your basketball and your welfare checks?” After that he just sat down on a bench, dropped his head into his hands and openly wept like someone had just shot his own child.
I knew then that if Obama won the election there would be some fierce blowback at some point. Because this type of behavioral insecurity would never just go quietly into the post-racial night! This is why, despite the political civil war currently being waged on the progressive front regarding the political worthiness of President Obama and the Democratic leadership, my feelings for Obama have not changed. And that is because I never expected much more than what I’m getting right now from Obama’s presidential distribution. I always felt that electing President Obama was quite an extraordinary feat. But I also knew that the inevitable push back against it would be just as extraordinary, but not in a good way. With a permanent fort built specifically to thwart him at all cost. Fueled by a sheepish public selling post-racial wolf-tickets.
When the Tea Party started to gain momentum I felt that it was only the beginning. And during those last days of the 2010 lame-duck session I could almost feel the calm before the storm. So instead of in-fighting over the validity of President Obama as a Democrat or a Progressive I look for the bigger, political picture. The picture painted before my eyes during the 2010 mid-term elections, when Republicans and Teabaggers were swept into offices all across the country, in spite of the previous eight years of the Bush administration (which were atrocious at best), was a picture of thousands of David Duke’s with their megaphones yelling, “Get the Hell out of our house now! We don’t want you here! This is our house, and we want it back!” I think many, like Sarah Palin and others, said that almost verbatim!
Remember, the Republicans and the Teabaggers could not have accomplished all of this if not for the overwhelming help of the public. A public that has politically emboldened the conservative brand by giving it monumental support. This is why so many Republicans and Tea Baggers feel as if they alone have the power to make, break, bend and control the rules and the conversation, not only in Washington, but within the entire country. To me, this debt ceiling ambush was just as much of a revealing moment about the expectations of the presidency as it was about the expectations of the president. Meaning, who truly deserves to wield its power? And what is it a reflection of, if the answer to the first question cannot be properly controlled and inaccessibly contained?
So who am I mad at based on this outright GOP victory of using the debt ceiling as their weapon of choice? A weapon that no one saw coming? A weapon that was not supposed to even be a weapon? Well, I’m not mad at President Obama. But I am tired of the entire Democratic Party’s inability to see the storm because of the clouds. As Green Day’s song “Know Your Enemy” says: “Do you know your enemy? Do you know the enemy?” Apparently not, and this ‘Democratic tortoise against the Republican hare’ scenario didn’t just start with the Obama compromises. Again, the cooperative spirit of compromise is abused more than it is appreciated or respected. I’m sorry Democrats, that’s just the nature of this business!
The basic GOP/Teabagger model is simple. It represents the kinds of political shysters who will smile in your face, pat you on the back, promise to have your back, speak with good intentions; they will tell you it’s for your own good, play mind games with your trust, steal your ideas, use those same ideas against you, lull you to sleep while plotting their next move, reinvent themselves for the better while reinventing you for the absolute worst, hold the Bible in one hand, and plunge the political knife in your back with the other. They are the axiomatic bad guy wrestler who distracts the referee with things like religion or gay marriage while they dig into their tights and pull out a chain (i.e. debt ceiling) and proceed to knock out another Democrat, who still hasn’t figured this plot out well enough to prepare for it or counter it. Now I know somebody will say that Democrats do all of this stuff too. But I’m saying that Republicans do it that much better and it’s time for the Democrats to catch up!
And for the record, what I’ve always wanted the most from the Obama presidency is to see him and his family able to walk away from the White House the same way that they walked into it. And I’m not the only one who feels that way. I’m just the only one willing to put it in print. Anything beyond that is just legislative icing on the executive cake for me. The only person that I am mad at is former Congressman Anthony Weiner. Damn you Weiner! When the Democrats needed someone like you the most, you weren’t there.
So Democratically I’m disgruntled, disgusted and depressed. I’m disgruntled over the fickleness of our progressive unity. I’m disgusted because the Democrats keep falling for the same old GOP knock knock jokes. And I’m depressed because I can do very little to change any of it. If damaging and splintering the progressive support for President Obama was truly the end game for the Republicans and the Tea Party, their latest conservative, Trojan Horse move, known as the debt ceiling, may just have done the trick.
the book The Fear of Being Challenged; I Am the Realacrat
Edited By: Alexis Atherton