An Apology to Barack

Those of you who have read Green Eagle lately may have noticed that I have been pretty hard on Barack Obama because of the endless wrangling and watering down that produced the weak health care reform bill that now seems likely to pass the Senate.

Well, I was doing some research on previous votes in the Senate on major legislation creating programs that are now considered essential, such as Social security, the FDIC and medicare, when I found the following long article online. It is a history of the struggle leading up to the establishment of the minimum wage in 1938, from the Department of Labor. I hope you will click on the link and at least scan through it. It tells a story of endless stalling, misrepresentation, and exactly the same sort of obstructionist tactics, not all from the other side of the aisle, that were used against the current health care reform bill. And it also details the painful, and seemingly endless series of compromises which Roosevelt had to make, to get a watered down version of his original intention passed. This in spite of the fact that all of Roosevelt's major legislation passed with some Republican votes, unlike the situation today, where the Republican party is united in mindless opposition to anything, no matter how important, which might make the Dems look good.

After reading this, I have a much higher opinion of Obama's accomplishment. We have gotten our foot in the door, and after sixty years we have established that the government does have a right to impede the worst excesses of corporations. We all wanted more, and we aren't going to get it now. But I guess I underestimated the power of the forces that could be arrayed against us. This article opened my eyes. I think it will interest you too.

Comments

magpie said…
I wrote up a comment yesterday to the effect that I thought you were being too negative... but I had a tech issue and couldn't upload it. I've said it before anyway.

Don't forget either that a crisis of faith among liberals in the Obama administration is exactly what the malign Right want, and I think it's always been lurking in the mind of the man himself that he could very well end up being hated by all sides.
Your enemies are going to hate you anyway... it is the measure of Obama's moral courage that he shoulders up to the possibility that some liberals might turn on him too.

I read though the article you linked to about the fight to establish a minimum wage. For me the eerie bit was this:

" Opponents of the bill charged that, although the President might damn them as "economic royalists and sweaters of labor," the Black-Connery bill was "a bad bill badly drawn" which would lead the country to a "tyrannical industrial dictatorship." They said New Deal rhetoric, like "the smoke screen of the cuttle fish," diverted attention from what amounted to socialist planning. Prosperity, they insisted, depended on the "genius" of American business, but how could business "find any time left to provide jobs if we are to persist in loading upon it these everlastingly multiplying governmental mandates and delivering it to the mercies of multiplying and hampering Federal bureaucracy?" "

How things change yet how the rhetoric stays the same....
Green Eagle said…
Magpie,

Thanks very much for your thoughtful reply. I have already admitted that I now believe I overreacted to Obama's performance. If there is a justification for my behavior it is that, watching the right as I do, I am so disgusted with their blindly falling in line behind anything their leaders do, no matter how stupid or corrupt, that I don't want to commit the same offense myself.

As I have mentioned before, I think one of the biggest differences between the left and the right is that we can admit it when we are wrong, and they can't. Do we overdo it some times? Yes, but it still beats the blindly authoritarian alternative.

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