Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Why Seeking Unity With Extremists Is Wrong

In today's Washington Post, Dana Milbank has a column that suggests that the man has his head so far up his ass that it is a wonder he hasn't suffocated.  Obama's inaugural address cited the founding principles of America and called on Americans to embrace their better angels and work to deliver the full fruits of those principles: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.Yet all Mibank can do is chide Obama for not seeking unity with the extremists and political saboteurs within the Republican Party.  I guess, those who opposed Hitler and his policies were wrong as well in Milbank's book.  Seeking peace with evil and those who would knowingly and deliberately wreak harm on others - in this case the poor, those without health insurance, the unemployed, disadvantaged minorities - while bestowing tax cuts to billionaires and pandering to bigots and white supremacists is never the right thing to do.  Yet, Milbank would have Obama roll over to the agenda of those who want to bring back the inequality of the Gilded Age and a time that saw even a higher percentage of Americans doing without protections in the work place or any kind of social safety net.  Here's a sampling of Milbank's head up his ass whining:

President Obama began his second inaugural address with a reminder that this ceremony, like the 56 inaugurations before it in U.S. history, was a unifying symbol.

What followed was less an inaugural address for the ages than a leftover campaign speech combined with an early draft of the State of the Union address. Obama used the most visible platform any president has to decry global-warming skeptics who “still deny the overwhelming judgment of science.” He quarreled with Republicans who say entitlement programs “make us a nation of takers.” He condemned the foreign policy of his predecessor by saying that “enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.”

“We cannot mistake absolutism for principle or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate,” the president informed his opponents. Not that they were listening.

[T]he emphasis was unusually political for an inaugural address. Obama reminded his opponents that his oath of office, “like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction.”

But if the speech wasn’t as grand or as memorable as previous addresses, perhaps that’s not entirely a bad thing. In his first term, Obama was undone by impossibly high expectations. This time, expectations are quite low that he can do much to change the grim state of Washington. With a lower hurdle to clear, Obama’s pedestrian rhetoric and tough words for his opponents gave Americans a fair sense of what to expect in the coming years.

The blunt truth is that the American people need to face reality: many of the nation's problems track directly to one political party, the GOP.  It's failed policies brought about the 2008 financial collapse, it's rush into unfunded wars that were fool's errands and based on lies, and it's blind fealty to the wealthy and those who seek to undo the Constitution's promise of equality and religious freedom have all helped to put America in the bad place in which it finds itself today.  Yet Milbank expects Obama to embrace these people and not challenge their lies. 

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