Now that the lame-duck session is over, and a few decent things got done amidst the plethora of unsolved, ignored or exacerbated problems of the country and the world, i can go back to my cup being 90% empty, resenting the lesser-of-two-evils business, and resuming the mistrust, cynicism, anger and despair that always has been my lot as a lefty. I'm only partially snarking here: the world, the nation, power and politics really are largely in a sad state, and what's been accomplished, while real, and suggesting an actual, though minuscule, possibility of further positive change, hasn't been nearly enough.
There was a Bugs Bunny cartoon in which Elmer Fudd and Bugs switched roles; both found it uncomfortable, and resumed business as usual at the end...
Gail Collins, on the lame-duck session, finds her cup half full this morning:
Good work, White House! Thank heavens we got rid of our former president, Barack Obama, who couldn’t even get the trade agreement he went all the way to South Korea to sign. Our current president, Barack Obama, would never let that happen, and, in fact, came up with a really excellent trade agreement with the South Koreans just the other day.
“Administration officials have bent over backwards to try to solve every problem that’s come up,” said Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, one of the Republicans who reached across the aisle ...
...let’s admit it. Nothing would have gotten done if Obama hadn’t swallowed that loathsome compromise on tax cuts for the wealthy.
If he’d taken the high road, Congress would be in a holiday war. The long-term unemployed would be staggering into the new year without benefits. The rest of the world would look upon the United States as a country so dysfunctional that it can’t even ratify a treaty to help keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists. The people who worked at ground zero would still be uncertain about their future, and our gay and lesbian soldiers would still be living in fear.
It’s depressing to think that there was no way to win that would not have involved giving away billions of dollars to people who don’t need it. But it’s kind of cheery to think we have a president who actually does know what he’s doing.
---I'm not sure I'd concede that accepting the tax cut is the 'high road'. I'd feel marginally better about it had he been more forthright and persistent in opposing it, had it come in isolation rather than as part of a pattern of one-sided 'compromise' characteristic of the Obama administration, and had he not gone out of his way to disparage the doubts of those 'supercilious, overly pure' members of the base who elected him. But I've struggled, throughout the campaign and since inauguration, with being unhappy with Obama's acceptance of the limitations of the politically possible, while recognising that he's accomplished some things--again, not enough--that move the goal posts just a bit, and had eluded his predecessors. And I'll doubtless continue to do so...