It’s ironic in one way. Republicans had accused Obama of being a capitulator — that is capitulating to al Queda by pulling our forces from Iraq and Afghanistan — then he did what tough-talking GWB couldn’t do, which was get bin Laden. But after the disgraceful outcome of the debt-ceiling negotiations we now can say that Obama is indeed a capitulator, it is just that the terrorists that made him blink are House Republicans.
I voted for President Obama, even though I knew he wasn’t a strong liberal. But I figured he’d be a better choice than John McCain and Sarah Palin. Now I’m not so sure. Had McCain/Palin been in the White House — well, first of all, there would still be Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. But even if the Republicans had managed to take a majority in the House, they never would have held the U.S. economy hostage as they did over the past months if McCain had asked for the debt-ceiling increase.
Am I being shrill? Perhaps, but Paul Krugman calls it the same way:
Make no mistake about it, what we’re witnessing here is a catastrophe on multiple levels.
It is, of course, a political catastrophe for Democrats, who just a few weeks ago seemed to have Republicans on the run over their plan to dismantle Medicare; now Mr. Obama has thrown all that away. And the damage isn’t over: there will be more choke points where Republicans can threaten to create a crisis unless the president surrenders, and they can now act with the confident expectation that he will.
In the long run, however, Democrats won’t be the only losers. What Republicans have just gotten away with calls our whole system of government into question. After all, how can American democracy work if whichever party is most prepared to be ruthless, to threaten the nation’s economic security, gets to dictate policy? And the answer is, maybe it can’t.
I continue to like President Obama. As villains go in this sad episode, he is a distant second to the terrorist Republicans in the House. But he has been far too willing to sell out liberal ideals for political expediency. He will never again receive my vote.
Come next year, I’ll be voting for some third-party candidate, someone worthy of my vote. I hope that person exists. Russ Feingold, where are you?