Blog Archive

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Music, Debt Ceiling Edition: Raise the Roof

*UPDATED* below with some thoughts on the debt ceiling "compromise."

Uncle Luke, in the late 90s, was an unusually prescient political philosopher. He discussed the (then coming) debt ceiling crisis in his 1997 song, "Raise the Roof."

Of course, Flavor Flav and Public Enemy discussed the issue back in 1980s with their song of the same name from their debut, Yo! Bum Rush the Show

All jokes aside, I'm no political philosopher, but one thing we can all agree on is that Obama is not the fighter he portrayed himself as way back when we all hoped for a change. I won't go as far as asking Bernie Sanders to oppose him in a primary--I still believe that his second term will be a progressive heaven--but I share in the disappointment over the White House's debt compromise. Democrats left with almost nothing they wanted. Sure the nation is not going to default--which would have been a catastrophe--but where are the tax increases on the wealthy? The idea that the the Tea Party Republicans made the act of paying what we owe a political game is offensive. More offensive is that Obama didn't get rough with the Republicans. He had a powerful weapon and he didn't even threaten to use it. The 14th Amendment allows him to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling, which is what a Republican president would have done. Say what you will about the Republicans, but they stick to their principles and force their ideas into reality. Those ideas are usually really bad for the country, but they make them happen. I wonder what would happen if a Democrat acted that way with ideas that were actually helpful to the poor and the middle class.

Obama is working now from a position of weakness. He looks soft to an increasingly disgusted base and his opponents know they can push him around. But we can't blame him entirely. The Tea Party Republicans are acting in an unprecedented fashion. Sure they rode Clinton, but they are now blocking Obama at every turn and transforming even once routine actions into crises. Make no mistake, if the country had gone into default, the Republicans would have attempted to impeach Obama and they may have been successful. Many of these Teabaggers are like the Joker from the latest Batman movie, they just want to see the world burn. The reach goal was an impeachment--a sort of coup d'etat or, if they didn't get that far, weakening the president in order to remove him come 2012. They achieved first part of the latter goal.

The nation's in a real sorry state. The recovery is slow. It feels as if we have little vision left to do big things. The Congress is filled with obstructionists. The President's Black--historic, but a weak-willed Democrat, not historic, too much precedent for that.

This president is very good at turning weakness into strength. Let's see if he can do that here and somehow make us all believe.

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