Barack Obama is nobody’s fool, so why does he seem so susceptible to Republican trickery? He is like Charlie Brown in the comic strip, forever trying – and failing – to kick Lucy’s football. Across America, we stood for hours – some of us for seven or eight hours – in the cold and the rain, the blazing sun and the driving sleet to vote him back into office, and we did not do that to get some kind of “grand bargain.”
Nobody fights for a draw, Mr. President. We stood in those endless lines to win. And we won, So don’t even think of giving away our trophy.
We can understand why you fell for the Republicans’ trickery in your first term. You thought you could be like Lincoln and other great presidents of the past who won over their political enemies to work for the good of the country. You thought you could placate the Republicans by appointing some of them to cabinet posts. You thought you could reason with them to get their cooperation in recovering from the abyss into which their policies had plunged the nation.
You found out you were wrong.
For four years, the Republicans in Congress fought you every step of the way. And they do not intend to quit now.
They talk of compromise and say they are willing to “put revenue on the table.” You’ll notice that they don’t say they are willing to raise tax rates on the obscenely rich. When they talk of “revenue,” they mean eliminating middle-class income-tax breaks like the mortgage tax exemption. In fact, they are offering nothing more than the policies Mitt Romney campaigned for.
And what do they demand in exchange? Everything.
They want to shred the social safety net by attacking one program after another. First Medicaid, then Medicare, then – and I know theywill deny this but they’re liars – Social Security. They even want to repeal Obamacare as part of “the deal.”
It’s a strategy as old as history. An ancient Arabian fable tells of a sheik who allowed his camel to put his nose inside his tent one cold night. According to the fable, the camel was inside the tent by morning – and the sheik was outside.
Republicans hate anything they perceive as “socialism,” and they perceive all social programs as “socialism.” From the days of FDR, they have been trying to undo his New Deal. And if they can’t get it done in one fell swoop, they will chip away at it every chance they get.
They have no intention of raising taxes on the rich. The rich pay them handsomely to prevent that.
The country cannot move forward as long as Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives. That has been demonstrated beyond any doubt.
There is only one way to end the gridlock in Washington. And that opportunity will come in just two years.
Until then, Mr. President, don’t let them get their nose in our tent.