Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Letter: Obama's now firmly in charge

Letter: Obama's now firmly in charge

Stanley M. Weintraub
St. Augustine
Publication Date: 02/24/09

Editor: U.S. Sen. Barack Obama drove his "Change" express to the White House fueled by the great expectations of a recession-weary public.

His first lesson as president is that some things don't change.

The U.S. House of Representatives rushed to write provisions that would create jobs for many of the 3.6 million unemployed American workers, and provide some relief for homeowners who were in foreclosure or threatened with losing their homes because their mortgages were greater than the devastated value of their homes. There were also provisions to bail out states faced with the dilemma of laying off many civil servants including much needed and already understaffed first responders, or incur further insurmountable debt.

The Democratic Senate, in order to pass the stimulus bill, scrapped some provisions and added some tax-relief measures that induced three moderate Republican Senators Alan Specter, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe to vote for the bill. They are true patriots because they put concern for America before party loyalty.

Their votes enabled the Senate to avoid a Republican filibuster.

The House bill received no, zero, nada, squat Republican votes.

The lesson taught to the new president is that, while he is focused on solving the critical economic mess we're in, Republican elected officials are building their case for re-election in 2010. Obama's efforts at bipartisanship are futile given the mindset of the opposition.

The Democrat congressional leadership's willingness to compromise is futile because their efforts fall on deaf ears. The Republican Party's solidarity is based on its members selfish concern for their political futures.

It is good that the Republicans drew their line in the sand early.

The Democrats and the president can move ahead forcefully. They can invite the Republicans to make constructive proposals without surrendering Democrats' fundamental principles in the vain hope for cooperation from "the other side of the aisle."

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