Carpetbagger's got a post about how Republicans in the House actually blocked a bill that would work to stop child marriage worldwide, even though it passed through the Senate unanimously and was co-sponsored by many of the same Republicans who voted against it. Why did the House Republicans oppose it? Because they were wrongly told that it somehow involved abortion and that their base would be upset about it. And that was enough for them. Due to arcane congressional rules, this bill needed two-thirds approval, so it failed.
And in case you were wondering, yeah, this is yet another of my posts about people on the left attacking Obama and why they shouldn't. Because I read this and think: If these congressmen are so crazy and/or scared of their base that they're willing to support child marriage, what exactly is Obama supposed to do to appease them on issues like healthcare and financial reform that they'd actually disagree with? How can he cow them into submission from his Bully Pulpit, if they're already this scared of their base?
Because that's a part of all this Obama'a leftwing critics get backwards. They keep acting like Obama is some great fool for trying to work with them. And I understand that thinking, but it's flawed. Because the reality is that Obama isn't trying to work with Republicans. He's trying to work with a handful of conservative Democrats and any non-crazy Republicans he can find. Not because he wants to, but because our rules force him to. And he has to bend over backwards, forwards, and sideways to appease them, and even then they might pull out at the last minute and support a filibuster for something they support.
Wooing the "Moderates"
And these aren't issues that Obama needs to take to the American people to convince them that he's right, because they already agree with him. The problem is Republicans and their subservience to their base. And in that context, there's no amount of bellowing that Obama can perform to woo them to his side, because he's already lost them. His only hope is to convince Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Olympia Snowe, Scott Brown, and the other cowardly "moderate" jerkoffs that they won't get punished for voting with him.
And if he can't do that, then he can't get anything. It's that simple. This isn't a dictatorship. We are ruled by laws. There simply is no other way around this. In our democracy, majority doesn't always win and you still have to convince powerful cowards that it's in their best interests to do the right thing. And if anyone could explain how insulting Republicans will woo Nelson, Landrieu, Snowe, Brown, and these other "moderates" to our side, I'm willing to listen.
But the reality is that these people are grown-up babies who are scared of their own base, and that's what democracy has wrought. Should we have better politicians? Yes. Do we have some dumb rules? Oh yeah, definitely. But like it or not, this is what Obama is dealing with and if you really think that people who'd oppose an anti-child marriage law that they co-sponsored can be insulted into submission, then you're really not paying attention.
Being polite to the people who attack you is a requirement in modern life. Try insulting someone you're trying to win over and you'll see what I mean.