A paragraph from Eugene Robinson’s editorial Monday about President Obama’s tax plan really struck me:
[According to Republicans] whatever does not fit the GOP’s worldview is, by definition, illegitimate. By this standard, Obama could propose only measures that are in the Republican Party’s platform — which obviously would defeat the purpose of being elected president as a progressive Democrat in the first place.
A lot of progressives, and even lefty bloggers not known as Obama fans, have been pleased by the new tone of President Obama over the past few weeks.
American Jobs Act. Big hit.
Tax on Millionaires. Home run.
Veto threat on entitlement cuts without revenue increases. Grand slam.
One wonders if the Republicans have been lulled into a false sense that Barack Obama is a pushover. If they were, they were not paying attention. Yes, he wants to govern with bipartisan support. Yes, he wants consensus. Anyone watching his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention knows his feelings about red America and blue America and how he longs for a United States of America.
But he is a fighter. One does not get elected as the first black president of the United States without having some serious resolve and a willingness to do battle.
I recently saw this quote from Barack Obama in 2007 and I was startled:
“I’m always best as a counterpuncher. You know, if somebody comes at me, I will knock them out. If not then I’ll try to understand their point of view. That actually serves me well. I give people the benefit of the doubt. I try to understand their point of view. If I perceive that they try to take advantage of that, then I will crush them. (laughter)”
I am not a big fan of “crushing” anyone (even those who seem to deserve it) so I was relieved to hear the laughter. But the sentiment expressed is one that a lot of us are feeling.
Here is a thumbnail of the Republican Party platform, pretty much unchanged since 1960 (from famous blogger belinda ridgewood describing a conversation with her mother):
In the summer of 1960, I was five. I was seeing all these people on TV, having what appeared to be a big fun party, with balloons and streamers and funny hats and noisemakers. They were singing and chanting, “We want Nixon!” I went in the kitchen, where moms were in 1960, and asked, “Do we want Nixon?”
“No!!!!” my mother said. “We want Kennedy!” So then I said, “What’s a Republican?”
I don’t know why her words struck me the way they did, but I can still hear her saying them, in that pleasant, kindergarten-teacher tone. “Republicans,” she said, “are selfish, greedy people who want to keep all their money for themselves and not give any to poor people.”
I think it’s possible that, in 1960, that might have been an oversimplification. It certainly does not seem to be any more.
Once more, from Eugene Robinson:
The headline from Obama’s plan, though, is the call for wealthy Americans to pay taxes like everybody else. If Republicans believe the current system is fine, Obama said, “they should be called out. They should have to defend that unfairness. . . . They ought to have to answer for it.”
Yes, they should.
President Obama is fighting back … for us. Let’s help him by fighting for him.