Dear Mr. President:
It is apparent that the Republican party continues to marginalize what can best be described as your historical victory this past November. One repeated message, “We The People,” consistently hear from the Republican Party and correspondents from their Running Mate, Fox News, is how this previous election was a status-quo election, in their feeble attempt to try to portray how Americans supposedly support “their message and platform.” What these very people neglect to admit however, is how your victory in November was more overwhelming than the following Presidents; JFK, Richard Nixon, and George W. Bush on both electoral bids.
Furthermore, the conservative media neglects to tell the American people how you are the first President since Ronald Reagan to procure over 50% of the vote in both of your electoral bids. In a similar vein, they refuse to convey to the American people, through their media, how it was predicted, prior to this most recent election, that the Senate could possibly be flipped over to GOP control, with the exact opposite occurring due to several Democratic Senators riding your coat-tails into office. Finally, these very people, who are supposedly the “experts” in politics neglect to tell their viewers how the House of Representatives could have easily been Democratically controlled, had it not been for the redistricting efforts engaged in by those GOP controlled State legislatures.
Instead, “We the People,” are treated to a daily diet of marginalization of your victory, and the consistent citing of polls supposedly reflecting how the American people expect ALL parties, including yourself, to compromise in the current Fiscal Cliff negotiations. Yet, what these very polls neglect to convey is precisely who it is, that the American people expect to compromise. It seems to me, at least, that the majority of Americans do not want Social Security or Medicare to be part of these negotiations, while agreeing on increasing “TAX RATES,” on the wealthiest in our land, lends support to the notion that perhaps it is the Republican party whom those polled expect to compromise.
We are further told on a near consistent basis by Speaker Boehner, how there is no progress to the current negotiations, and how he and the GOP do not wish to go “over this Fiscal Cliff,” coupled with allegations regarding you and your Administration, referenced as the “White House,” needing to get serious regarding these negotiations. While the Speaker has the audacity to accuse you of not being serious, we Americans are well aware of how The Speaker, and his House, adjourned the week before last, until December 11, 2012. Adding insult to injury, The Speaker, in his most recent press conference, had the temerity to shift the focus off of the “real issue” of tax reform, by indicating “spending is the problem.” He further argued that the “People sent him and his caucus to Washington for the sole purpose of cutting spending,” while reiterating your supposed “lack of taking the fiscal cliff negotiations seriously,” due to you not proposing spending cuts. Adding the proverbial cherry to The Speaker’s faux sundae, he then recessed his House, after working only two days last week!
One can readily determine by the Speaker’s actions that the party needing to get serious is he and his fellow Republicans. While I certainly do not envy the position the Speaker finds himself, due to the consistent tea party influence in his caucus, it is time he recognize the “mandate” you have won during this most recent election. To be clear, Mr. President, The Speaker finds himself in this current dilemma due to his consistent catering to the tea party, and had he taken a stand from the outset, that is, when they were originally elected into office, by conveying the importance of compromise in Washington, he very well may not have found himself in this political quandary. Simply put, The Speaker has lost control of, not only his caucus, but the entire House, a responsibility he alone has, and is currently failing miserably!
I bring this issue of a mandate up only due to your predecessor, former President George W. Bush, who upon winning re-election told the American people the following: “I have political capital and I intend to spend it because that is just who I am” (Paraphrased). This, despite his narrow victory in the Electoral College accumulating only 285 electoral votes; just four more than his controversial victory in the 2000 election. Call me naive Mr. President, but it seems YOU have a political mandate here, and your responsibility is to the voters who have placed you back in office. To be clear: While I cannot account for other’s motivations or reasons for their casting their ballot for you, for re-election, I can tell you that I did not vote against former Governor Romney; but for you, simply due to the message you campaigned on. My suspicion is that nearly all of your supporters share in my sentiments, despite the consistent attempts by GOP pundits who provide extrinsic excuses for their loss in November.
As I have observed the GOP’S behavior, along with their supporters, as evidenced by their interaction in social media, it seems obvious, that once again, as they did in 2008, they would like to ignore the results of this most recent election. In 2008, your election was a supposed fluke; an anomaly, while this year, your victory according to the GOP is due to Hurricane Sandy, their Party’s failure to communicate their values in an amenable tone, the presence of one Black Panther at a polling station, your supposed engagement in “gift giving for the moochers of society, or even voter fraud allegations with the list continuing ad nauseum. That is, it is clear that their disdain for nearly “anyone” not sharing their ideology is consistently marginalized, including you Mr. President, the leader this Nation placed back into office!
All one need do, is to look at their distractions over Benghazi, their refusal to understand the will of the American people, the most recent fiasco played out by Senator Mitch McConnell regarding his bringing your proposal regarding the debt-ceiling, only to turn immediately around, and filibuster it, and their consistent ignoring the will of the American people with regards to new tax policy, and the maintaining of Social Security and Medicare, to determine that if anyone is not taking this Fiscal Cliff issue seriously, it is the GOP!
Furthermore, their insisting on further “spending cuts,” despite their failure to articulate, per your request, specifically where those cuts are to come from, demonstrates that it is you who has a clear plan, while the Republican Party does not! Finally, with regards to their proposed spending cuts: One must ask why the insistence on cutting spending at a time, when leading economists seem to agree that the absolute worst thing the government could do at this current time, is to cut spending. In fact, the exact opposite, that is, stimulating the economy is what our current economical portrait, calls for, and further, as these economists make clear, “there seems be nothing left to cut, with regards to spending.
In addition to all of this Mr. President, I am enraged that every single time the GOP has to negotiate with you, they have consistently waited until the “eleventh hour,” to do so. Speaker Boehner accused you Sir, of “slow walking” these negotiations related to the Fiscal Cliff, and is attempting to shift the blame to you Mr. President, should you and the GOP fail to reach agreement. Sadly, Mr. President, this strategy seems to be working too. On Thursday of last week, as you are most likely aware, the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll reflects 56% of Americans will place blame at the feet of both you and the GOP for failing to reach a deal. As one who deals consistently with statistics, Mr. President, it is this poll which initially confused me. The reason I say this, is due to this poll seemingly contradicting all other polling data related to this issue. But upon further reflection, there seems to be an explanation to this, and why the GOP continues to slow walk through these negotiations. The GOP engages in this slow walking process for two main reasons.
First, the length of time it takes to reach an agreement with the GOP, creates the perception that you, Mr. President are not effectively leading; despite the very fact that you are. However, Mr. President, as I am certain you know: In politics, “perception IS reality.” Second, and perhaps most sinister, is the extra time the GOP gets by stalling on this matter allows them to garner further support from their base, through the “ginning up of their constituents,” and financial backers, via the medium of messaging. Put another way, Mr. President: I would submit to you, that the GOP “intentionally” engages in this “slow walking” process only to create the illusion that you are not an effective leader, while garnering further support for their position by recessing the House and allowing their members to travel home to speak to their supporters, while emboldening their message of misguided blame. In a similar vein, the effect this has on those who do not take the time to research the issues, is insurmountable. This is precisely what the GOP is banking on, Mr. President: They are hoping that the longer this agreement takes to reach coupled with the frustration the American people have regarding the current political climate, will translate into allowing their party to shift the blame to you, just as they did with the debt-ceiling negotiations.
Or, even worse Mr. President, they are once again playing games with the economy by holding it hostage in their attempts to place “their Party platform” over country. No matter! Either way, this process allows the Speaker to tell the press, as he so boldly did after the debt-ceiling talks, that “I got 98% of what I wanted.” What the Speaker fails to understand, however, is this is the precise reason I, as I suspect others, voted for your re-election. The Speaker should realize that this is NOT about HIM; but, the American people and the danger his Party’s brinkmanship poses to our economy.
What they as a Party have to gain engaging in this drama remains to be seen, but what you have to lose by conceding or compromising seems much more important to me. Lest you have forgotten: During your first term, progressive support began to wane, not so much over your policy, as much as your consistent compromise with a party that has had as its number one goal, to make you a One-Term President. Further, they obstructed everything and anything you supported through the stringent utilization of the filibuster, while allowing or worse, circulating false information about proposed legislation to their running mate, Fox News, all the while dividing our Country.
All of this to say this: Mr. President, I believe you have the support from the American people to implement the legislation you ran on during your campaign for re-election this past November. We are here to support you and your efforts. Personally, I have written both my GOP Senator and Congressman from my State; all with no response. It is time the wealthy pay their fair share towards our Country, without placing middle-class programs on the table as a bargaining chip, and quite honestly I hold no positive feelings that this GOP will act any differently, despite your electoral win! My suggestion is simple: Allow this Country to go over this hyperbolic “Fiscal Cliff.” And when you do, make certain your message is clear to the American people: You have a Bill just waiting for approval drafted by the Senate, but Speaker Boehner nor the GOP want to approve that bill nor even allow it to the floor for debate. Explain why the GOP plan to cut spending at this moment in time, fails to address the issue. Furthermore, make the GOP publicly articulate their wishes to cut spending benefiting the middle-class, while allowing the wealthy to get an additional tax rate. Be certain that you articulate clearly, as I am certain you will, that the American people decided this matter at the ballot box, providing the justification for your position.
Finally, ensure the American people know and realize just who is responsible for the Country going over this Fiscal Cliff and start from scratch once we do go over. That way, all previous bets or agreements can be off the table and you can implement a taxation plan that is fair for one and all! Think of it in this manner: If the GOP does agree with raising rates on the upper 2% of our Country, this translates to them having the Bush tax legacy furthered for the remaining 98%. It is time we abandon the failed ideological arguments proffered by the GOP, while doing away with the insistence of implementing the supply-side model they treasure so much, which placed this Country in the situation you have been working so diligently to get us out of.
In closing, I remain ready and able to do my part to ensure your political policies are implemented, as I am sure my progressive or liberal friends are too. Please do not compromise with this GOP under ANY circumstances! Hold firm to the beliefs and convictions you hold, because in the end, that is precisely how your leadership will be scored. You have nothing to lose Mr. President while the GOP appears to have everything to lose. Stand firmly and do not allow the GOP to place you in the awkward position they placed you in during your first term!
Mark Bear Ph.D. PMP