Thursday, October 22, 2009

GOP’s strategy towards Obama: Lets use it on him before he uses it on us!

I have been to enough rallies and events as a reporter-type person in which the conservative opposition to Barack Obama vents its views that I have repeatedly heard how the incumbent U.S. president is “Hitler-esque.”

Now, it would appear that the right is coming up with another label, one that will make Obama’s supporters shudder. They’re saying the president is “Nixonian.”

AT LEAST THAT was the impression I got from learning of Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who made remarks Wednesday in Washington that imply Obama and his aides are developing an “enemies list.” That tactic literally was used by former President Richard M. Nixon, who put together a literal list of people he considered to be the opposition, with the idea that the federal government would single them out for abuse (an IRS audit, anyone?)

Anyone with sense will realize how ridiculous this tactic is, because it is coming from the people who ideologically were sympathetic to the Nixon administration, and probably had no problem with the idea of a list that singled out certain Democratic political officials, labor union executives and several news media editors and commentators.

About the only way using this tactic makes any sense is if it is viewed as a distraction. Getting political pundits to spend a few days debating the issue of “Is Obama Nixonian” will shift the focus away from the political hardball that Republican political people are playing with their opposition to health care reform.

For the record, that is the issue upon which Alexander says Obama is using such “Nixonian” tactics, and may very well be putting together an “enemies list” of people who won’t back his goal of trying to do something about the 47 million people in this country who currently have no health insurance (and therefore, no way to pay for medical treatment, should they need it).

DOES THIS MEAN that Republican opponents fear they are going to lose this political fight, and now they’re trying to set things up so that anything bad that happens to them in the future can be blamed on partisan politics?

Considering that the country as a whole is split on this issue, it probably is completely appropriate that the debate these days is messy. Take the latest Gallup Organization poll, which on Wednesday said that 50 percent of the populace wants a health care reform proposal with a public option (which in my mind is kind of the whole reason for even bothering with reform).

Also, while 58 percent of the people surveyed (25 percent for and 33 percent against) have made up their mind – another 39 percent (a rather significant total) want to see exactly what is in the final proposal before deciding whether to support it or not.

Now I’m not going to lie. Despite possessing some ideals about a Better America, I know better than to think Obama is “Saint Barack.”

HE MAY BE Hawaii-raised, but this is a man who learned his electoral politics in Chicago and at the “Statehouse in Springpatch.” This is a man who was mentored by former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, D-Chicago, who wasn’t a “goo goo” by any means.

Heck, this was a guy who got elected to his first electoral office by playing political hardball and getting his incumbent opponent kicked off the ballot (remember Alice Palmer?).

Barack Obama isn’t a political virgin.

I don’t doubt that he and his people are capable of engaging in political tactics meant to hinder the opposition in order to try to get measures they want passed into law. That is what electoral politics is about.

IN A SENSE, I don’t really blame the Republican opposition for the tactics they are using these days to try to stall action (if not kill it outright) on a healthcare reform measure. That also is what electoral politics is about.

Would we really rather have a government where officials just impose actions by issuing statements, rather than have to engage in the give-and-take of politics? That give-and-take, by definition is what Democracy is all about.

Government by pronouncement is something more in line with fascism – and I don’t think many people in this country seriously want that approach.

Now I’m not calling Alexander a fascist. That would be ridiculous.

BUT I FIND it equally ridiculous that he’s trying to blame Obama for trying to fight back against his health care opponents, who have been blasting him for months for bringing the issue up in the first place.

Could it be that this latest round of attack about an “enemies list” is something that should be dismissed as nothing more than political whining?

Or is this just a matter of conservative officials who know how to use dirty political tactics automatically assume that the whole world plays the political game the same way they do?


EDITOR’S NOTES: By his own admission, Lamar Alexander knows about “enemies lists” ( because he was a low-level aide in the Nixon administration.

The latest thoughts of the American people on health care reform ( from an organization that says Barack Obama has a “favorable” rating from 50 percent of the public.

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