There's somethin' happenin' here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's going down -- Buffalo Springfield
Every presidential election those who pay attention to what they think is happening often ask, "What is it that is really happening?" Typically, one never knows until the elections are long over, at which time long discussions about what might have happened if this or that had happened take place in diners and kitchens around the state. There are more than enough armchair analysts to go around.
This year's presidential election is living up to everyone's expectations. The Republicans are saying that Barack Obama is the worst president in history (apparently having forgotten the previous eight years George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, not in that order, ran the nation). They point out that the American economy is still bad, which indeed, is true, but they do so apparently without noticing that Spain, Italy, Greece and the rest of Europe is also in the doldrums. Somehow the world economic crisis that began its spiral under former President Bush was supposed to have been fixed by President Obama by now. Could President Obama have done more? Maybe if he had had some help.
Yesterday, an Associated Press story appeared in the Bennington Banner in which our governor, Peter Shumlin, and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley accused House Congressional Republicans of deliberately sabotaging the economy to help Mitt Romney oust President Obama.
"You have to ask the obvious question: How desperate and how far will they go to ensure this president gets defeated?" Gov. Peter Shumlin said.
"There's not a doubt in my mind that in their calculations, that they are hoping for the economy to slow before the election,'' Gov. Martin O'Malley, D-Md., said. "They think that's their best shot at unseating the president.''
Them there's fightin' words. Could it really be possible that one political party would rather see our country fail so that it would mean that America's first black president would only serve one term? Under just about any other circumstance it would be hard to believe. However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did offer this telling comment a couple of years ago while speaking with National Journal magazine about Republican Party priorities for the 2008-10 Congress. He said, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."
Now, the armchair analyst would be asking did Sen. McConnell really mean this or was he just tossing red meat to the base? Initially, I thought it was just a flippant comment designed to show what a tough guy he is, but over the past couple of years it's hard to see how he didn't really mean it.
In the House, the Republicans hold a large majority and they have used this majority to do everything in their power to not cooperate on any level with President Obama. First it was the national debt that was the biggest issue ever, ever (except when the largest debt ever was racked up by the previous, aforementioned President Bush; whose vice president, Dick Cheney, went so far as to say that deficits don't really matter). Deficits sure do matter when they can be exploited and used as a club with which to beat your opponent .
If there is any fault to find in President Obama's first term it was his willingness to compromise with Republicans. You may recall that he caved on the "public option" component of his healthcare legislation about a week into negotiations. He did so hoping that the Republicans would come to the table. They didn't.
He tried to compromise with Republicans on debt reductions going so far as to offer cuts in top Democratic priorities. Under normal circumstances one would have thought the GOP might have taken the offer, but these are not normal circumstances. If Govs. Shumlin and O'Malley's contention is true, that the GOP has only one priority and that is to defeat President Obama, then it may very well be that they are willing to harm our economy and the citizens of this country for their own political gain.
If this is really true, then maybe it's time the average American wakes up, stands up and speaks out. Our country is in tough shape right now and what we need is for people to come together to address important issues that we're facing every day and deal with them in an honorable fashion; much the way Vermonters came together after Irene. Destroying our credit rating, turning our backs on the American worker, stonewalling and political posturing are not what we need now and not what we've needed for the past three years.
The president has engaged in his share of gamesmanship since being sworn in, but he has never said his number one priority is to defeat the other party, and by extension our country.
Bob Stannard live in Manchester.