Reading the papers this weekend you can find a lot of smart commentary about our political and economic situation. Plenty of people get it. Unfortunately the loudest voices drawing the most attention seem to be the least informed and most destructive. We’re not in polite society anymore and the nation’s future is at risk. So it is time to stop pretending that Republicans — and Tea Partiers especially — are well-intended good Americans with valid political ideas. They’re not.
Anything Barak Obama will propose to help the economy will be shot down. Republicans haven’t a clue and anyway they benefit politically if unemployment stays high and the economy remains depressed. Obama shouldn’t expect any cooperation from conservatives and he should stop trying to work with them. Move on, let them implode. But he can only do this if he offers a strong alternative to their anti-government whining.
At the very least, the president should do all he can not to legitimize their narrative by trying to co-opt their fears and policy positions. It is pointless. Even worse, it is destructive. There isn’t a valid idea anywhere from the right. None. That is an intellectual wasteland hijacked by religious zealots. Get away from those ideas.
President Obama should set the tone and agenda for his presidency; he should make the bastards come to him and not the other way around. The lesser half of American politics is lost anyway. They won’t come around. Promote smart solutions to the people with a head for solutions.
More importantly, our president must focus on engaging better, smarter Americans, especially the battered middle class. He needs to create a narrative that is his own and repeat that message over and over and over again. Instead of a gutless “Grand Bargain,” give us a grand plan. Explain the history and economics behind sound government stimulus during a time of recession. Educate and motivate America’s intelligence behind legitimate economic solutions, don’t wallow in the insanity of the misguided policies that have to this point wrecked our society and economy.
There really isn’t much of a fight for the opinions of the educated and informed voter. Republicans have a list of presidential wannabes that defy common sense and civic responsibility; these are not legitimate leaders and enough people are smart enough to understand this to keep them from winning an election, but only if the president engages smarter voters. Apathy could kill this country in a hurry if we face a President Perry or President Romney.
But these people are not an immediate threat, not yet. They’re still tussling with each other in primaries. Now is the time to offer a strong solution, sell it, and get started on a path to winning re-election.