Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why We Play Nice With Our Opponents

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.


mahakal said...


Doctor Biobrain said...

Interesting, as that's exactly how I feel about you. I give lengthy arguments explaining my position, and then you reply with brief non-responses which fail to address anything I wrote. I then make a futile attempt to read your mind to understand why you wrote what you did, giving yet another lengthy argument. And you reply with a rewrite of the same non-response, as if the problem was that I didn't understand the english language. You then insult me for making any attempt to guess at what you're trying to say, as if there's something wrong in trying to understand people we disagree with.

And you respond by doing it yet again. I provided what I believed to be a decent argument, and you respond with a snarky insult implying that I'm a brainwashed fool. And perhaps that's correct, but at least I'm making an argument.

Suzanne said...

Doctor Biobrain I think I love you! Just found your site from the blogroll at The Only Adult in the Room and I am lovin' the way you think.

To my mind the reason there has been so much noise from the right and left is that folks haven't understood how Obama thinks and works. He's made it perfectly clear in his books, speeches, and from what I've seen in TV biographies about him. But still...he's not LBJ, he's not FDR, he's Hitler! He's the Antichrist!

He's such a different politician than we've had in this country before. I've been reading a bit about the Founding Fathers and didn't find a match there, but have read a little about Lincoln and have the feeling he's actually more like Lincoln. I need to read much more about Lincoln before I decide.

I think President Obama is the perfect person for this particular stormy period in our history. A lot of what has to happen is people looking at their beliefs and seeing if they work anymore, making new decisions about how they want life in the US to be, and being education about the real source of problems we are having. That is happening and he's gotten caught in the crossfire. In the meantime he has walked steadily ahead with his focus on what he wants. I don't care what history will say. To me he is already a great president for the gift he has given this country of dragging it away from the cliff and keeping us steady on course with everyone flailing around.

I look forward to reading more of your posts and I'm so glad to find you!

majii said...

I have consciously chosen to turn off the rants coming from the left regarding decisions President Obama has had to make over the last 23 months because I don't think they could do as well were they in his position. I've also noticed quite a bit of denying reality among them. They forget the republican obstructionism, the failure of the MSM to report on the president's policies in an accurate manner, the role of the conservadems in aiding the republicans in weakening legislation, and the huge role the rw media operation plays in deliberately distorting any piece of legislation the president would like Congress to address.

I think they attack the president because they're on the outside looking in and haven't a clue how difficult it has been to transform ideas into actual legislation. I'd hate to see any of them in the role of POTUS, because as you've stated, we'd end up with NOTHING, but they'd get an opportunity to show how they "whupped up" on the conservatives. IMHO, this isn't worth 2 cents when you have people in this country who are barely hanging on from one day to the next.

I'm black, and a survivor of segregation who went on to finish college and earn multiple post-graduate degrees, and someone who worked for 35 straight years after college until I retired last year. This has provided me with a unique perspective, and experience, about how difficult it is to accomplish anything when one has to swim upstream and fight sharks in one form or another along the way.