It was a message not directly spoken but heard by all… President Obama met privately with House and Senate Republicans, all without aides, in the Roosevelt Room. Simply said, there’s room on this train for everyone, I want your opinion and help if you offer solutions vs. attack. Make no mistake, it’s leaving the station with or without you. If you want the lunatic fringe to run your party even further into the ground, keep listening to and singing Limbaugh and O’Reilly’s themes of hate and frothing at the mouth. Do that and you become even more irrelevant and divide our nation further.
The Republican Party’s far right wing has been screeching the same divisive themes of the campaign for the three months since the election, egged on by talk radio’s Rush Limbaugh (of Democratic Senate Minnesota hopeful Al Franken book fame: ‘Rush Limbaugh is A Big Fat Idiot’). Said Obama last week to the assembled group of lawmakers: “you can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done.”
Further snippets from the room as parsed by both sides: “there are big things that unify Republicans and Democrats and we shouldn’t let partisan politics derail what are very important things that need to be done.” Then, taking a page from a playbook I wish Harry Reid (Senate Majority Leader) and Nancy Pelosi (Speaker of the House) would “audible” from every now and then, President Obama, when challenged by a Republican in the room, shot the critic down with the simple phrase, “I won. And I will trump you on that.”
Hallelujah! An acknowledgment that they are no longer the party in control and their entire last eight years has been repudiated soundly and even with a hint of the feeling he actually senses a mandate to move forward. Wow. Finally. A Democrat doing to them, and offering a place for them on the train, what they did to Democrats (who were never even allowed to sit at the table). If I were a moderate Republican trying to right the rails and neutralize the Sarah Palin lunatic fringe wing of my party, I’d ask, “where do I sign up to preserve my party’s standing as a party.”
What I cannot fathom, is the fear omnipresent in Democrats who control a minimum of 58 Senate seats (59 when Coleman loses his battle and Al Franken is seated) and 235 or 59% of the seats in the House. It’s time to flex some legislative muscle and in the words of Larry the Cable Guy… get ‘r done!
Almost 60% of both houses and with several more key Republicans retiring in 2010 in both chambers, why do Democrats walk on eggshells and live in fear of a Gingrich Revolution 1994 repeat? One thing is for certain, keep acting like lambs and letting the right wing-nuts own the newscycle and indeed you will manifest that greatest fear. In other words, follow President Barry, grow a spine, two solid brass – no titanium – ones, start acting like the majority party and stand firm. Just as President Obama urged Republicans to stop listening to Rush, you need also to ignore him and move forward with deliberate haste.
Listen and then move YOUR and OUR agenda forward. Please stop letting the hatemongers all over talk radio and the right wingnut bloggers slow you down. They are playing the same old song to no music, “he’s a Muslim, he’s a fraud, he wasn’t born here so he can’t be President, he did not recite the oath correctly so he is not really President…” blah, blah, blah, hate, hate, hate… just STOP!
Are we clear now?
Denis Campbell is a US journalist based in the United Kingdom. He contributes to newspapers and magazines, is a BBC Radio election commentator and publishes the daily e-magazine The Vadimus Post from the Latin Quo Vadimus – where are we headed and do we know why?