Republicans Making America’s First Sitting Half-Term President

Could've been our first half term President

If there’s one thing that Republican reaction to the world changing events of last week has definitively demonstrated, it’s that no matter what President Obama does, they will oppose it. Even if it doesn’t make sense, even if they were for it in the past, heck, even if it was their idea.

In all fairness, the foreign policy events of the past week have been a calculated gamble on the Obama administration’s part. Both Libya and Iraq could fall into chaos. The middle east has historically been a place where corruption and power struggles foster dictatorial regimes. If one or more of these fledgeling nations falls apart there will certainly be egg on the President’s face. Ironically, I think that there’s nothing more that Republicans would want than for one of them to fail; particularly, Iraq. Because, let’s face it, Iraq was a Republican war and they’d like nothing better than vindication from it. Mitt Romney stated:

“President Obama’s astonishing failure to secure an orderly transition in Iraq has unnecessarily put at risk the victories that were won through the blood and sacrifice of thousands of American men and women. The unavoidable question is whether this decision is the result of a naked political calculation or simply sheer ineptitude in negotiations with the Iraqi government. The American people deserve to hear the recommendations that were made by our military commanders in Iraq.”

Inherent in that statement are a couple of erroneous assumptions. The first is that there was not an orderly transition or exit strategy which; while a matter of opinion , is also a matter of degrees. Like Afghanistan, we would likely have to occupy Iraq for an entire generation just to achieve incremental changes. The second is that the Obama administration will have squandered the lives and money we’ve already thrown at Iraq. There’s only one group of people responsible for that and the head of that motley crew has retired to Texas. Third, this decision is neither the result of political calculus nor is it ineptitude in negotiations. It’s a promise made to the American people who voted him into office and it conforms to the Status of Forces Agreement timeline already in place. Iraq in never going to be more stable than it is now. It’s time to leave before we spill any more blood in the desert sand and let them figure it out on their own.

Failure seems to be the Republican motif these days. If they can’t win then nobody else will either. Even if nations must topple and world economies must fail, Obama must not succeed at any and all costs. And the American public must believe it’s all Obama’s fault so they will vote him out in 2012. We must be held in misery until we relent and repent our hopey, changey ways.

When Republicans swept up the House of Representative in 2010 on a wave of Tea Party fueled rage they decided just that; Obama must fail at everything. They’ve been pretty successful, too. Playing off of the President’s hopeful but possibly naïve method of cooperation and call for bipartisanship they have blocked almost everything that has come through the House including mundane and normally perfunctory procedural bills. They’ve continually introduced pointless bills that have nothing to do with addressing the economy and have more to do with social tinkering including seven anti-abortion bills and several bills designed to dismantle the EPA. The Republicans have successfully set the agenda since 2010.

They claim that their one, overriding goal is to make President Obama a one term President. But in reality, by blocking everything that this administration tries to achieve for the American people, they’ve quite possibly made President Obama America’s first ever sitting half term President. They have effectively told the majority of voters who elected the President in 2008, ‘No, we do not recognize this man that you elected as President’. But rather than recognizing this strategy the ‘blame Obama’ campaign seems to be taking hold. The general feeling of frustration in the nation is running quite high amongst everyone; the #OWS protests being just the latest embodiment. If Republicans continue to block any economic development and the public continues to blame the President for the economy’s lack of improving then the Republicans could indeed get their wish. However, I challenge anyone to seriously consider any of  the current crop of Republican candidates as our CIC for the next four years and not feel an urgent sense of trepidation.

There is a cheery outcome available to the American people but the pathway is not all that simple. Republicans have more seats in the House to defend than Democrats but the reverse is true in the Senate. But it isn’t out of the realm of possibility to re-elect President Obama and win back the House and keep a majority in the Senate (as well as change the 60 seat majority filibuster rule at the beginning of the next congress).

The Republicans may believe defeating Obama must come at any and all costs but they may have underestimated who will ultimately pay that price.


About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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