Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Not a game


When President George W. Bush needed bipartisan support to save our financial system, then-Sen. Barack Obama was in a position to obstruct the negotiations. His base of Democrats would have loved it, but at risk was collapse of the world economy.

Instead of trying to obstruct the process, Obama took a leading role, voted with the president and approved bailouts. This spirit of bipartisanship didn't last long.

Obama took the oath of office as the 44th president of the United States on Jan. 20, 2009. Within mere days of the election, organized groups sprang up and began to try to delegitimize him. Out of what was touted as a grassroots movement, donors with names like Koch and Murdoch provided funding for spokesmen who questioned whether Obama was a "real" American citizen.

Republican lawmakers loved the game. They noisily and gleefully filibustered nearly every bill supported by Democrats that came before them. Their congressional leadership at the time admitted that their only purpose was not to govern, but to defeat Obama in 2012.

Now, these same elected officials are locked into talks over a procedural vote to raise the debt ceiling, something that happened without comment seven times during the Bush years. So far, no one in the Republican Party has stepped up and brokered a compromise.

Such is not part of their game plan. But time is short and the stakes are high. The victims of the bad economy understand in a very personal way that what is at stake is not an election, but our country and our economy and our people.

And they understand it's not a game.




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