Opinion: Doug Thompson

Hope over experience
By Doug Thompson

Barack Obama is a fresh face. He promises change. He brings hope to a country jaded by a failed, corrupt presidency that put political success above the needs of the country.
In other words, he’s this generation’s Jimmy Carter.
History repeats itself only because people keep making the same mistakes. I get a profound sense of having seen this particular mistake made before every time I think of Obama.
We have war in Iraq, war in Afghanistan, intelligence agencies that are out of control, a system of gulags and spies listening in people’s phone. Oh, and we have an energy crisis, runaway deficits and a slowing economy too.
Imagine the president of the United State summoning the head of the National Security Agency into the Oval Office and demanding to know exactly what’s going on. Do you see the former junior senator from Illinois getting a straight answer?
I don’t.
This sort of talk really annoys Obama supporters, who see youth, charisma and a mandate for change as cure-alls.
I remember a very tired, careworn Jimmy Carter blaming the whole rest of the country for “malaise” less than four years after he got his big mandate for change.
Columnist George Will has a good line about Carter. He was our national penance for electing Nixon. Looks like Obama could be our national penance for Dub.
But who am I to criticize people who have hope? I had hope. I hoped that Democrats would see this country in crisis and nominate somebody who could handle the situation. Instead, they went looking for another Jimmy Carter. “J.C. will save us all,” after all.
Remember 1992. “Everybody” knew there was no hope for the party’s nominee since George H. Bush’s approval percentages were in the 80s. So Democrats nominated Bill Clinton, who won and served two consecutive terms.
Clinton never could have gotten to the top if people had thought Democrats stood a chance. When the Democrats have an election where they know they stand a chance, they routinely nominate a dud.
Here’s a question to put to Obama supporters. Your candidate supports change. OK. Change to what?
To reach across the partisan divide? Do you really believe that the party that nominated George W. Bush wants to reach across the partisan divide? In 12 years of majority control in Congress including eight years of having he White House too and in finally packing the Supreme Court, when did they ever reach across the partisan divide, or allow themselves to be reached.
More than anything else imaginable, the folks on the other side of the partisan divide want to get the responsibility for grotesque failure in Iraq off from around their necks by hanging it on the next president, assuming he’s a Democrat.
They want a lamb for sacrifice, to take their sins upon itself.
Look at all the talk about how the “surge” is working. It’s not, but the campaign to shift the blame for “who lost Iraq” is well begun.
The folks on the other side of this partisan divide want their majorities again. They want the White House. They want both Houses of Congress. They want to make the next president the scapegoat for their failure. They want the Supreme Court.
The last thing they want is for Obama to succeed, because that would mean a lasting Democratic majority.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt couldn’t reach across the partisan divide. The GOP has been trying to undo the New Deal since the 1930s. More recently, Dub’s presidency has devoted itself to undoing everything done by the Clinton administration.
I’m going to keep this column. If Obama is elected, I’m going to revisit it in a couple of years. I don’t claim to be a prophet. I do, however, expect the same course of action to yield the same kind of results.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope that if Obama is elected, Democratic majorities are big enough to enable him to move, to claim bipartisan support for things the Republicans would never pass if things were close. However, I don’t see the Democratic majority in the House ever getting that big.

Categories: Legacy Archive