Shut up and lead

Posted by By at 22 October, at 12 : 59 PM Print

For the past 4 years, dating back to the summer of 2006, I have heard a familiar refrain from the Democratic Party: Its all Bush’s fault.

This was an effective battle cry for 30 months or so, vaulting the Donkeys into control of both congress and the White House. This unified power (on the surface) gave the Democrats the ability to both set and implement their policy agenda. If only Organizing for America had prepared one while campaigning, the Democrats might be rolling.

Yet here we are, almost halfway through the Obama presidency, engaged in a vital struggle for the future of the Republic and the seminal issue raised by the Democratic Party is&blame Bush?

Considering that the man has been out of power for 20 months and remained largely invisible as he was used over and over again as the Dem’s straw man, you would think that his usefulness as a foil would have passed.

Yet there was Vice President Biden, following up a speech by my leftist brother on the need for unity and leadership and an end to partisan rancor, thanking him for the intro and then launching into his prepared partisan invective designed to divide the electorate and conquer them. The chief villain, Bush, of course.

Wasn’t this administratio going to end the partisan bickering (side note – has anyone come into office on the claims of intensifying partisanship?) To forge governing coalitions that included the GOP on key issues? In short, wasn’t the election of our first post-Modern president supposed to signal a new day in how business gets done, in DC?

The fact is this has been one of the most nakedly partisan administrations since Jefferson beat Adams. All of the signature pieces of legislation have passed without meaningful GOP support. More devastating to the process has been the almost gleeful exclusion of GOP ideas by the House and Senate leadership – a fact that, when coupled with either the White House’s inability or unwillingness to shape congressional give on take on the issues, means that the Democratic party now “owns” all of the policy changes since Jan 20, 2009.

Think of all the promises made, then “delivered” in terms of legislative action, yet DOA in terms of effect.

Weren’t we going to keep unemployment below 8%? Cut the wasteful Bush spending rate? Enjoy a recovery summer? See health care costs decline when Obamacare was passed and implemented?

If any of these things had happened, any ONE of them – they would be the battlecry of the party in power. But unemployment went UP after the stimulus. Obama is adding $3Trillion dollars to the national debt in 2 years, While Bush added $4Trillion in 8 years. The summer saw the economy stagnate, not recover, a fact that all could see and which made the whole concept of Recovery Summer look like Ford’s “WIN” pins – which stood for “Whip Inflation Now” – although at least Ford’s plan stimulated the pin makers Union.

And then there is the centerpiece, Obamacare. Nationalized healthcare has been the far left’s Holy Grail for so long that, in the end, they were willing to go Machievelli and do whatever it took to get “something” passed. They lied about its cost and benefits. They mischaracterized its timetable and savings. And in the end, even the watered down lies loom large over a bill passed against the will of the vast majority – in electoral terms – of the people, as these smaller lies are still too big for the reality.

Hell, even Obama himself now admits that his claims that Obamacare would cut total costs were fictionally based on a parallel world called Obamania where everything he wishes comes true. Okay, I made up the Obamania part up, but this is an answer to the White House presroom September 10, 2010, which sounds a whole lot different than the talk I heard in February:

“As a consequence of us getting 30 million additional people healthcare, at the margins that’s going to increase our costs — we knew that. We didn’t think that we were going to cover 30 million people for free.”

Yet, in the minds of many Americans, this is EXACTLY what they conveyed. And his track record of “performance” – a stimulus that they claimed would keep unemployment at 8% saw it climb to 10% and stay there; huge spending increases; and a Frankenstein healthcare policy that is costing more and doing less for the vast majority of voters – is abysmal.

No wonder the Democratic party has reverted to blaming Bush (and now Boehner and the Chamber, but more on that at a later date).

This is admittedly similar to the blame Clinton mantra used by the GOP. In fact, it’s a tactic used by all whenever occasion allows – as evidenced by the GOP making this race about an unpopular President while holding policy promises at a minimum. It is effective - yet hollow, and a great disservice to our Republic.

So, as we come down the home stretch, listen critically to what you are being told. If someone spends all their time complaining about the “other guy” – R or D – ask them what THEY would do instead.

Otherwise, we will simply get more of the same – self interested politicians with more rancor than ideas, more venom than vision. And we have had enough of that already – from both sides.


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This post was written by:
- who has written 77 posts for Rock The Capital
Scott Paterno is an accomplished policy analyst and political consultant based in Hershey, PA. Mr. Paterno, never one to sit still, has practiced law, run for a house seat, and worked as lobbyist in Harrisburg and Washington. Paterno is Vice Chairman of the Sustainable Energy Fund and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Political Science. He is happily married with three children. - Email scottp

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