Will Rogers (above) was born 10 years before my dad and he died a year after I was born, so you can see he lived a long, long time ago. But the legendary comic’s folksy wisdom lives on.
Take his observation that he belonged to no organized political party because he was a Democrat. It was funny, though truthful, back then. And it would still be truthful today – but not so funny.
The lack of cohesion and coherence in today’s Democratic Party is one of the great disappointments of our time.
The party of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt has morphed into a gaggle of politicians with little in common except the desire to get re-elected. It’s easy to find Republicans you can hate; they’re openly hateful. But it’s not so easy to find Democrats you can trust.
How can we trust the Democrats in the House, for example, when 39 of them betrayed their president yesterday?
Running scared because they come from hotly contested districts, they joined the Republican saboteurs to vote on a bogus health care bill designed to add fuel to the Obamacare fire.
It was the same kind of self-interest that weakened the health care reform bill in the first place. Lacking support from members of his own party, President Obama was obliged to abandon the public option and adopt a “free market” plan that originated with the Republicans. And that plan is turning out to be a big headache – especially for the president.
The Republicans he was trying to placate have turned on him with ferocity, and the health insurance moguls the plan was crafted to buy off have double-crossed him.
Besieged by enemies and with his approval rating plummeting, the president needs his party’s support now more than ever.
Unfortunately, he is a Democrat and some Democrats don’t roll that way. Not today anyway. For them, it’s every man and woman for themselves.
I’m being unfair to some Democrats, I confess. Without a doubt, there are stalwarts in the party – Elizabeth Warren springs to mind, Sherrod Brown, Alan Grayson, John Lewis, Jim Clyburn… But the politician I trust most – in either the Senate or the House – is Bernie Sanders, and he is a registered Independent (although he caucuses with the Democrats).
In this era of unlimited corporate campaign funding, the likes of Dennis Kucinich cannot survive. Campaigns cost too much and most politicians are afraid to stand up for the “sufferers” lest they offend the donors with the deep pockets.
It might be this ambiguity that the polls are reflecting. They show equal distaste for Republicans and Democrats even though the Republicans make no secret of their disregard for public opinion while the Democrats’ policies are usually populist.
President Obama must be wondering why he ever got involved in politics, why he thought he could help to make this a better country (and a better world) for us all.
I believe Barack Obama is a good man, a man who has America’s best interests at heart. As the late Ted Kennedy said, he”listens to his better angels.”
It’s a shame that some in his party are so deaf to those angels’ pleas.
If President Obama is to have any hope of achieving his dream of making America more humane and more just, he will need a massive surge of support from the man and woman in the street – you and me. We cannot depend on the professional politicians. We must take the responsibility on our own shoulders.
For one thing, we cannot allow Democrats who fail the president to survive primaries in their districts. That’s a cause well worth working for.