This year, Barack
Obama won a huge victory, the GOP's far right is on the verge of being forced
back to the fringes, where they belong, and Obama will have two houses of
Congress with significant Democratic majorities to deal with. And part of the reason for his victory was
that liberals finally did what they should have done in 2000 and 2004, and
supported the best of the candidates who could win.
Now is the time for patience, liberal brethren.
This is the
beginning of a reform movement, folks. But I must stress that the turning away
of a large portion of the right wing is the BEGINNING of that process, and is
not the process itself. This will be a long haul, that will take at least a
quarter century to happen. And that requires patience; a lot of patience.
I watch and read a
lot of liberal commentary, and I am distressed at the way so many on the left
are questioning everything Barack Obama does. I mean, if I hear one more
supposed "expert" question Obama's choices of former Clinton staffers
as appointees, and ridicule them because they don't see that as
"change," I think I may just throw up on them.
Here's some history
for you to use as background. After the less-disastrous-but-still-messed-up
first Bush presidency, the populace elected Bill Clinton president by a huge
margin. At the same time, they gave Democrats 57 seats in the Senate, and a
significant majority in the House. In
other words, Clinton's election in 1992 was much like this year, albeit less of
an absolute disaster than the second Bush.
So, basically, there
was euphoria, there was talk of a major reform movement, etc, same as we’re
hearing now from liberals, including me. And yet, two years later, Republicans
took both the House and the Senate, and even though Clinton won a second term in
1996, he still failed to get a majority of the vote, and Democrats lost even
more seats in Congress. In fact, it took 12 years to take majority control in
the House and 14 years to win back a majority in the Senate.
Why did that happen?
Because the first two years of the Clinton presidency were just about the
greatest ClusterF*** in the history of American politics. Clinton, in trying to be bold, and new and
progressive, screwed himself, by surrounding himself with people who had great
ideas, but had no idea how to get anything done.
Politics is about
the process. Essentially, the core of our government is Congress, which is made
up of 535 people, representing 435 distinctly different districts. Each member
of Congress has to perform for his or her constituency, or he or she will not
be there very long. Because of this, processes have developed, which have to be
followed, if a president is going to enact any of his agenda.
In other words, you
can have the biggest and boldest plan in the history of the country, but if you
don't have people in your administration who know how to get the agenda through
Congress, chances are, your agenda will remain on paper.
That's where Clinton
screwed up. Apparently, in 1993, he believed that he was so enormously popular,
that he could just mention a program, and Congress would jump to attention or
something. And he hired a Cabinet and a staff who had no experience dealing
with Congress, and getting things passed through Congress. Clinton and his
people eventually learned, but it took three years and a loss of Congress in
order to do it.
cannot afford to wait two to three years to move his programs through Congress,
and he apparently learned from the Clinton Administration that, in order to get
things passed, he needs people around him who can work the system. What you're
seeing are not "Clinton retreads," you're seeing experienced people,
who know how to get the job done. Obama will pack his Cabinet with experience
for the first two years, and surround those people with deputies who reflect
his vision, who will spend the first two years or so learning the ropes. Then,
as the experienced people peel off and separate, by the second or third year,
he will have largely his own team in place, and they'll be ready to take over
The President sets
the tone, and the president himself decides the policies of his administration.
Just because you're seeing a lot of Clinton people in his Cabinet and staff,
does not mean we're looking at a third Clinton term. In the last 40 years, we have
only had two Democratic presidents, and let's face it; the Carter people who
are still around are probably a bit long in the tooth by now.
As I said, this is a
long process, and Obama is only the first step in this, and we have to learn to
have a little patience. Putting experienced people in top government positions,
even if they do have ties to Clinton, or even Bush, is a smart move, and it's
likely to prevent the same sort of shortsightedness that led to the Republican
"Revolution" in 1994.
Let's trust Obama,
until he gives us reason not to.