A Reality Check?

After President Obama’s State of the Union, quite a number of Congressional Republicans were both perplexed and almost outraged. Why, the Republicans had won overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate. Why wasn’t the President seeking cooperation? Why wasn’t he acknowledging that the “people had spoken”? How could he not “listen” to them? One even declared that the President needed a “reality check.”

I have no inside track to the President. I’ve never met the man, and I think he’s made a number of mistakes, many of which weren’t necessary and got in the way of what he wanted to do. I also think he’s gone overboard in a number of areas. Technically, I’m a registered Republican and always have been, and even was staff director for a Republican Congressman and served in the Reagan Administration. More to the point, I’m not terribly happy with either party, and I suspect I’m far from the only one.

As for the President, why would he want to “cooperate” with Republicans? They have a radically different ideology than his, and one even more right-wing than the beliefs of the majority of Americans [just as the Congressional Democrats have an ideology far more left-wing than the majority of Americans], and they’ve rebuffed what few attempts he’s made in that direction. Republicans have been very clear on what they want – and that’s nothing for anyone but business. “No,” if you will, except for “yes” to big business and vested interests. They harp on the need for lower taxes, despite the fact that individual tax rates are the lowest they’ve been in more than sixty years and that the country needs massive infrastructure replacement and repair; they want less government interference, i.e., less regulation on business, especially on big business and the financial community that has already wrecked the economy once; and they’re demanding a repeal of health insurance just gained by millions of Americans… and that’s just for starters. Exactly why would a President want to “cooperate” with a Congress whose agenda is to dismantle what few things he has been able to do?

As for the people speaking, well… the people spoke twice in electing and reelecting Obama, and the Congressional Republicans didn’t listen to the people then, but they’re expecting him to listen when they “won”? But did the Republicans even win in the larger sense? Oh, there’s no doubt they won the majority of the votes cast in all those districts and states, but given the fact that turn-out was just about the lowest on record, because it was an off-year election and because a significant number of Americans are disgusted with both parties, to characterize the GOP majority as a mandate of any sort is misleading at best. Obama actually won far more votes than the Republicans in 2008 and 2012, and the Republicans certainly didn’t consider that a mandate.

Reality check for the President? What about for the Republicans?

And what about some “cooperation” in the areas where they actually agree… and there are more than a few of those. That way, we could at least see some progress.

10 thoughts on “A Reality Check?”

  1. JakeB says:

    Could you elaborate on “[just as the Congressional Democrats have an ideology far more left-wing than the majority of Americans]”? I don’t see it, at least with respect to views on the environment, the need for reform of the financial sector, and the popularity of Obamacare.

    1. R. Hamilton says:

      Obamacare has NEVER been popular…except maybe before people realized stuff like “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” was not to be taken seriously.


      1. Grey says:

        Actually, people really like the Affordable Care Act – they just don’t like “Obamacare”.

        It’s true – rank and file Republicans don’t like “Obamacare” because they have been told not to by their dear leaders. But they have no idea what it actually does, and when you ask them how they feel about what it does do, they like it.

        Just an example: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119441/poll-obamacare-medicaid-expansion-responses-change-without-label

    2. I’m not about to go into a laundry list, but there are a few examples of proposals supported by a significant number of Congressional Democrats that appear, at least given public polls, to be more “liberal” than the views of most Americans: taxpayer-funded abortions for those women who cannot afford them; banning all private handguns; single-payer [government funded] health care; expanded income support [welfare] for the disadvantaged; continuation and possible strengthening of affirmative action; increased foreign aid; liberalization of restrictions on immigration and support of the Dream Act.

      1. Grey says:

        Immigration and the Dream Act are not “liberal” ideals – there is actually broad, supermajority bipartisan support for this kind of immigration reform among the American people.* We haven’t seen legislative action because the GOP is paralyzed on this issue by the far right, which has proven its ability to primary-out representatives who don’t toe a hard line. (This is why Speaker Boehner refused to allow a vote on an immigration reform bill that passed the senate with 68 votes in 2014.)

        *For example, from earlier this month: “Fox News Poll shows that Democrats by a 4-1 margin and Republicans by a 3-1 margin favor a path to citizenship over deportation.” http://americasvoice.org/blog/fox-news-poll-confirms-path-to-citizenship-is-the-mainstream-position-in-immigration-debate/

  2. Plovdiv says:

    Sorry, Brit unfamiliar with aspects of American life. What is affirmative action, and what is the Dream Act? Like you, I’m naturally conservative, but I’m pretty disgusted with what the Tories have done to the UK since 2010. On the other hand, Labour are run by a useless leader, and their policies, especially their financial policies, lack credibility, given the mess they (particularly Chancellor of the Exchequer Ed Balls) left the country in.

    1. Affirmative action provides special opportunities for the disadvantaged, especially blacks and other minorities. For example, a sticking point with many is that minority students with lower grades/test scores often get preference over Caucasian students in admission to college or graduate schools on the assumption that some portion of those test scores are not a result of lack of ability, but lack of educational opportunity due to economic disadvantage. The Dream Act was legislation proposed to allow citizenship for children brought to the U.S. illegally but who grew up here, provided those children successfully finished college and met other standards [there were several variations on this, but that’s the general idea].

  3. Plovdiv says:

    Ah, ok. These are similar to issues discussed in the UK at the moment. Just a quick question, how come Tor UK isn’t publishing your books in UK editions? I know Orbit published the first three Recluse books, but they then dropped out of sight. I would have thought that Tor UK would be eager to publish your books in the UK? I can still buy your books in the US editions, but was just wondering if you knew anything that you are able to tell us?

    1. Orbit actually published the first twelve or so. Tor UK is actually enough of a separate operation from TOR that they don’t have to publish the Recluce books. This is complicated by the fact that Orbit still has the rights to a number of the Recluce books. So no UK publisher wants to take on my books at this point.

  4. Plovdiv says:

    Oh, ok. Shame about the rights situation though, for you because you get less income and for we readers because we find it harder to read physical copies of your books.

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