Friday, March 23, 2012

What a little empathy for Republicans can get you :-)

One of the things that keeps liberals feeling defeated and disappointed is that they are often so wrapped up in their own struggles they fail to see the challenges faced by the opposition. There is a kind of empathy that they miss in not seeing the world through Republican eyes.

So lets take a moment to check out what the political world looks like right now for Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader McConnell. First...a bit of a trip down memory lane.

Last summer the Republicans decided to take the world economy hostage by refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless their demands for deficit reduction were met. In the end, a deal was reached, Speaker Boehner declared that he'd gotten 98% of what he wanted and WAY to many liberals bought into that line because it affirmed their defeat and disappointment.

But yesterday Speaker Boehner was singing a different tune.

Republicans in the House, Boehner confirmed, will advance legislation to replace automaatic cuts to the defense budget from taking effect on Jan. 1.

“We should never have had the sequester,” Boehner told reporters at his weekly press availability Thursday. “I always thought that the Super Committee had a real chance to do good work, to produce savings so that the sequester wouldn’t kick in... And hopefully in some time near in the future the Congress will really act to deal with our long term spending problem and our deficit problem."

As a reminder, the debt ceiling deal set up a Super Committee to identify ways to reduce the deficit. The committee failed to reach agreement because Republicans insisted on only cutting spending while Democrats insisted on a balance approach that would also include raising revenue. As a result, automatic cuts (called sequester) are set to kick in starting Jan. 1, 2013 that include huge reductions in defense. To avoide that, Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader McConnell will have to find a way to get legislation through both the House and Senate, then signed by President Obama, in order to restore the defense spending.

But that's not the only thing they'll have to get done in the next 9 months. The Bush tax cuts also expire on Jan. 1, 2013. So they'll have to pass legislation to extend them or all their 1% buddies will face a massive tax increase.

Some liberals who are wedded to their defeatism and disappointment see all of this as reason to crow about their supposed prescience in defining this deal as a "win" for Republicans. But you have to wonder if they've looked at this from Speaker Boehner or Minority Leader McConnell's point of view. Have they watched lately how incompetent Boehner has shown himself to be in getting his Republican caucus to do anything? Have they noticed that Democrats still hold a majority in the Senate that will surely require 60 votes to restore the defense spending and/or extend the tax cuts? Have they listened to President Obama threaten to veto any attempt to undo the sequestration minus a balanced approach (ie, spending reductions AND tax increases) to deficit reduction?

The days of Republicans merely obstructing Democrats are over. They are not only reneging on a deal they made to end a crisis they created in the first place. Their talk of deficit reduction as a primary cause is over when what they really want to pass are spending increases and tax cuts. And to accomplish all that - they'll need Democrats to work with them as well as sign-off by the President.

See what a little empathy for Republicans can get you? Poor babies have a total uphill climb over the next 9 months. And Democrats who can see that can also see the win this has been for our side all along.


  1. The republicans have dug themselves into a hole. It is now time to take their shovel away from them.

  2. Thank you, Smartypants, for speaking to something that has bothered me for some time now: the defeatism and 'disapointment' that too many liberals engage in with regards to the opposition. They treat the GOP like supermen that can do know wrong, while they bash and gnash their teeth at any real or imagined wrong turn the Dems may do. Real victories are never celebrated, just constant moaning and hand-wringing. How about we adopt a winning mentality, that is aware of the opposition, but whose knowledge is not always defined by them.


  3. May I suggest a further resource to learn more about empathy and compassion.
    The Center for Building a Culture of Empathy
    The Culture of Empathy website is the largest internet portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion. It contains articles, conferences, definitions, experts, history, interviews,  videos, science and much more about empathy and compassion.

  4. it's "reneging" as in renegotiation or renegotiating, the root is negotiate. I think you wrote something different. Something which (likely totally unrelated) is at the heart of a terrible bumper sticker recently produced by hate groups.

    Otherwise, good thoughts.

    1. Fixed - thanks.

      I'm always grateful to the spell-check patrol.

  5. Jerry, what a succinct yet appropriate answer! We then need to stopo wringing our hands at every negative critique, and get to work getting people to the polls so we can keep or remove the gavel from their hands!

  6. I don't feel any sympathy for Mr. Speaker. I remember him on election night '08. His words were "We're going to fight this." He's been fighting for 2 years and look what it's gotten him. He can find his integrity and call the whole thing off. Right now he's looking at being a minority party after November. He's also looking at the Democrat majority passing everything they want next year and the Republicans being voiceless. The Big O will document every time they slapped his hand if there are objections. "You guys didn't want to govern when you had the numbers and I didn't complain." "Now it's time for the grown ups to handle business." "Go play somewhere I'm busy."

    They could've gotten a little of what they wanted had they worked with him. It looks like the President is going to end up getting 95% of what he wanted instead of the 80% he probably would've been content with. They could've kept a lot of that defense spending that many red districts depend on. Is it ok to laugh at Boehner after winning the election and the Democrat majority? I'm going to rub it in and make them(local wingnuts) feel like a bunch of jerkoffs.


  7. Hey SP,
    Sure hope you are enjoying your vacation but happy you are still writing!

    My thoughts are as follow:
    *Dems do not know how to understand or treasure PBO's brilliance thus they keep leaping without understanding or the courage required to trust the president,

    *Repugs are in the same position, they cannot see this brilliant Black man as smarter than them so they stumble into the traps PBO sets for them

    *the public sees the lack of support from dems i.e."sh*t sandwish" so they have to follow PBO blindly with no backup from dems and repugs beating their chests in faux vidtory

    *finally, the media has been a weapon against PBO from the very beginning with most of them just as ignorant and racist as the repugs.

    For me, I am always assuming PBO, Plouffe and Ax are miles ahead of the rest of us so I just smile when repugs think they won....anything!