It’s Time to Look in the Mirror

An Open Letter to Mitch Stewart, Director of Organizing for America (OFA) in response to a recent call to challenge obstructionism by Republican Congressional leaders


Dear Mitch, Of course what you say regarding Republican obstructionism is true.  The thing is, it’s not news.  It’s no TOP SECRET plan that has just been revealed on WikiLeaks.  Boener, McConnell, et al have been singing that tune at the top of their lungs since the day President Obama was sworn into office.   What has changed is that their lies and distortions have been repeated often enough that they gained traction – enough to help change the balance of power in Congress so that it will be orders of magnitude more difficult to implement the progressive changes we fought so hard for.What is keeping me up at night is not the obstructionism that the Tea Party has injected into American politics but rather the naive and self-defeating reaction the Democrats under President Obama’s lead have adopted. 

What is it about “No Compromise!” don’t we Democrats get? 

It’s time to examine our own strategic failures and learn that the way to negotiate with obstructionists is not to preemptively provide concession after concession with absolutely nothing in return until what’s left of our political agenda is a barely recognizable carcass. 

It’s time to call their bluff on tax cuts for millionaires that most Americans struggling to get by clearly understand and support.   It’s time to call their bluff on approval of the nuclear non-

proliferation treaty that even conservative Regan and Bush Republicans know is necessary to move the world toward sanity and security.  It’s time to call their bluff on Don’t Ask,  Don’t Tell which 70% of the military and the top brass now support.  And on and on.  Yes, Congress must act –  The only way we’re going to re-take Congress and set the legislative course back in a progressive direction is to demonstrate that we are committed to our principles and willing to fight for them.

But the tone for this strategic battle is formulated in the White House.  Now’s not the time to apologize to the congressional Republicans thinking that if only we had them over for brunch more often they would negotiate in good faith and all would be well.

Now’s not the time to announce strategic concessions to the platform before the discussion even begins.  Now’s not the time to chastise the progessive base that energized your campaign and made your victory possible while abandoning core principles.

If the President continues down this path it will become increasingly difficult to define what he stands for. He not only risks losing support from young voters and his progressive base but from moderate Democrats and independents who helped make the difference in the 2008 election.  It’s time to look in the mirror. 

Published in: on December 11, 2010 at 12:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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