EVERETT DEMBOSKY: The real cause of our political division
A recent letter by Anthony Antolik (“Tired of extremists in both parties,” March 3) is a prime example of what’s wrong with an electorate that keeps giving us divided government, which no longer works because one side won’t compromise. If Mr. Antolik can’t see that, his neutrality is a sham. Or his “news” source is.
Antolik states that this president has caused more division “than (he) can ever remember.” What could Obama have done to be less “divisive”? All Obama had to do was “abandon his agenda and adapt theirs (Republicans) instead; had he done that, then they’d have been only too happy to work with him” (Waldman, “The American Prospect”).
What is truly divisive? The Republicans’ unprecedented use of the filibuster, race-baiting by the right-wing media, questioning the president’s patriotism and his place of birth — all done to “nurture a hatred of this black president” who dared to defeat them and pursue his party’s goal of universal health care.
Antolik’s belief that the Democratic Party has been taken over by its “ultra-liberal” wing is easily dispelled. Despite an outcry from the left, drilling for oil/gas was stepped up and the XL pipeline hasn’t been ruled out. Troop numbers in Afghanistan were stepped up, to the dismay of the “ultra-liberals,” and withdrawal is still more than a year away. Obama’s first-term extension of Bush tax cuts infuriated “the left.” The public option they wanted was sacrificed to get the Affordable Care Act passed.
The tea party hijacked the GOP and the country by using flaws in our democratic system to obstruct Democrats and moderate Republicans from moving the country forward. Polls on all the issues mentioned above, as well as social issues, show that the majority of Americans agree with the president. Moderate Republicans became believers in polls when Obama was re-elected. The tea party is still in denial.
Tea party Republicans don’t give a hoot what the majority of Americans want. They cater to their very narrow base and hope to delegitimize the president in order to regain power. Their plan is backfiring, and the president’s plan has won the support of the people.
As for the president reaching out to the other side and leading — how many invitations and state dinners did Republican leaders accept until very recently? Zero. Only after Obama bypassed the leadership and went to the Republican caucus, as well as to the people, did the Republicans agree to meet with him.