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Jewish World Review
February 24, 2010
/ 10 Adar 5770
Put down the shovel
For the past few weeks here in Washington, nearly all of us have spent a big chunk of our lives with shovel in hand, digging out from that which we were unable to control. Something bigger than us all ground every agenda, activity and schedule to a halt, teaching us in the process that at some point, you must simply put down the shovel, wait for the thaw and regroup.
Sadly, President Barack Obama hasn't been able to get what the rest of us have accepted. In short, Obama still doesn't know when it's time to stop digging and put down the shovel.
Instead of listening to a very vocal American public and its distain for, and opposition to, Obama's healthcare agenda; Nancy Pelosi's and Harry Reid's secret, behind-closed-doors maneuverings on ObamaCare; and our collective alarm at the ginormous fiscal crater ObamaCare would leave in our economic future, President Obama's ego won't let him let go of the shovel. And as everyone who can spout an overused cliché recognizes, when you are digging yourself into a hole, you gotta know when it's time to stop digging and put down the shovel.
The recently announced, renewed commitment to shoving the unpopular ObamaCare down our throats through reconciliation, requiring only 51 Senate votes, is the political equivalent of looking Americans in face and offering a certain rude hand gesture involving a single preferred digit.
This after one of the most historically liberal states in the union spoke loud and clear by filling the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's (D-Mass.) seat with Republican Scott Brown. Brown ran heavily on the message "I will be the 41st vote in the Senate against ObamaCare," thus preventing the Democrats from breaking a filibuster with 60 votes. His victory is a clear indication voters in even Massachusetts aren't copasetic with a 51-vote reconciliation bulldozer approach.
But instead of putting down the shovel long enough to listen to and ponder this message from voters especially one following so closely on the heels of the message sent in New Jersey with the defeat of incumbent Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine by Republican Chris Christie, and Virginia electing Republican Bob McDonnell over Democrat Creigh Deeds Democrats seem to be on a political kamikaze mission when it comes to ObamaCare, Big Government and Big Taxes. This week's Obama so-called "summit" with Republicans to pretend to work on a bipartisan basis on a package the Democrats have already decided to ram through Congress is, as House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) says, little more than a political "infomercial" pure propaganda with Republican lawmakers used as mere extras.
President Obama expects congressional Democrats to fall on their swords for him, regardless of the will of the people.
Democrats are foolish to blindly follow their leaders, Obama, Pelosi and Reid, on healthcare. Do they not wonder why, as they face town hall meetings filled with voters voicing anger and opposition to Obama's healthcare scheme, the president himself seems to be hiding out and has not held a formal press conference in 215 days? Doesn't Obama's freefall in the polls provide them with a crystal ball into their own numbers come Election Day?
Some Americans may be fooled by the fact that the healthcare proposal posted on the White House website does not include a public option that first toe in the water of government-run healthcare. But there is a darn good chance it will be included in reconciliation, making congressional Democrats accountable to their constituents and even more vulnerable in November. And despite a near-universal aversion to anything remotely resembling Big Brother in healthcare, Obama proposes establishing a seven-member Health Insurance Rate Authority to "monitor" insurance companies something that undoubtedly will raise the dander of many libertarian-minded independents.
Notably, incumbent Democrats who have done a pretty good job back home of pleasing enough Republicans to garner reelection in years past are now in trouble solely due to that "D" after their name, which is now synonymous with Obama and his political baggage. Those Democrats will lose reelection unless they stiffen their spines and stand up to this unpopular, ineffective, inexperienced and seemingly arrogant young president.
Democrats facing voters this coming November need to decide if their loyalty to President Obama is stronger than their loyalty to their constituents who sent them to Washington to work for them.
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JWR contributor Cheri Jacobus, president of Capitol Strategies PR, has managed congressional campaigns, worked on Capitol Hill and is an adjunct professor at George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management. She is a columnist for The Hill and appears on CNN, MSNBC and FOX News as a GOP strategist.
12/22/09: Hurry up and slow down
11/24/09: Jury of peers
11/10/09: Czar light, czar bright
11/02/09: Reid's landmines
10/26/09: Public option for Congress
10/19/09: Big Brother wins
10/13/09: Dancin' DeLay
09/26/09: Paterson under the bus
09/14/09: Start over, Mr. President
© 2009, Cheri Jacobus