June 30, 2011

Captain Queeg in the Oval Office?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:26 pm

Here are the elements, which would indicate that all the ingredients for America’s worst political nightmare, are now simultaneously, in play:
1. Congress has twice in recent weeks gone on record saying that President Obama exceeded his authority and committed a violation of the War Powers Act.
2. President Obama has already delivered evidence that his much vaunted political negotiation skills are overvalued and may be inconsequential at best.
3. The Republicans would not hesitate to use the threat of Impeachment proceedings as a bargaining chip in the budget crises negotiations.

The Republicans have delivered circumstantial evidence that they are all in accord regarding a reevaluation of values for the tax structure, Medicare, the Social Security Program, the President’s power to pick and choose America’s wars, the mission of the United States Supreme Court, and union busting (to name just a few). Asking if they are unscrupulous enough to initiate political blackmail to further their agenda seems to be an unnecessary diversion into an irrelevant debating point. Wouldn’t the harshest critics of the Republican Party concede that the disciples of Ayn S. Rand would cheerfully be willing to do anything to achieve their goals?

If President Obama is vulnerable to political blackmail in the form of Republican threats to immediately initiate Impeachment proceedings for violations of the War Powers Act, then his effectiveness as a President is crippled and rendered useless.

If the Congress has twice voted to endorse the idea that he exceeded his authority with his military actions against Libya (which they have) then, at any moment of the Republican leadership’s choosing, they can use the threat of immediate impeachment proceedings as a bargaining chip during any closed door negotiating sessions for other issues (such as the debt ceiling).

When that threat was delivered, the President would then have an extremely difficult decision to make: He could remove the Republican advantage by immediately resigning or he could put his selfish instincts for political survival ahead of his patriotic instincts and blithely ignore his own vulnerability to manipulation via extortion and blackmail threats and quietly give in. Using his past negotiating record as the basis for any “tells,” how well do you think he would be able to stand up against any such hypothetical coercion?

At any moment, the debt limit negotiations may turn into a variation of the “Let’s Play Master and Slave” game.

If President Obama chooses to ignore the implications of complete ineffectiveness for his party (and the country); then the Democrats will have a very difficult choice to make. They can either make the impeachment threat themselves “Resign tonight or we will make the move to start impeachment proceedings in the morning” or they can let Obama undertake a kamikaze reelection campaign which will reek of self-destructive hubris.

If the Republicans want to impeach President Obama and have the grounds to do so available today, why would they hold off on making their dream come true? The Sadistic appeal of getting every possible negotiation concession first and then impeaching him should be rather obvious.

An ineffective negotiator who wishes to sell his meager accomplishments as his credentials for reelection might remind some cynical critics of the ridiculous spectacle of an extremely old woman walking down the street in a scanty showgirl’s costume.

The Democratic Party option of using political blackmail to force one of their own to resign from the Presidency may be repugnant but it would give them a slim chance of starting an immediate reorganization effort and a valiant effort to hold onto the Presidency for their Party.

If Obama resigns or is impeached out of office, Joseph Biden would have the monumental challenge of simultaneously contending with the challenges of an administration transition, budget decisions for this and the following year, and (if he chooses) a reelection campaign with about a year until the 2012 Elections would be held.

If Obama does not resign immediately, then the Republicans could use the extortion ploy to gain every possible concession from Obama, then they could cripple his reelection bid with a delayed Impeachment Proceedings for a violation of the War Powers Act.

Early in President Obama’s term in office, columnist Ted Rall called for Obama to resign. Rall may have been a tad premature, but as time goes on it is becoming clearer and clearer to partisan pundits that Rall may have been exceedingly accurate in his assessment.

The conservative partisan pundits will delight in a prolonged period of tormenting the President and his supporters. It would be variation of the concept of a Sadist’s Valhalla.

The progressive pundits will be prone to encouraging a rapid transition and reinvigorating the efforts to produce a larger voter turnout in the fall of 2012.

Columnists who perceive that their mission is to produce a constant stream of disapproval of the status quo will have an abundance of available topics in the next few weeks, no matter what happens.

Have any of the nation’s elite political pundits done a critical evaluation of this year’s football season from the point of view that it might be a part of a coordinated Republican union busting agenda?

Will any of the partisan progressive pundits ask if the air strikes against Libya are being conducted by the Condor Legion?

Will any Democratic Party toady propagandist say when the “not days or weeks” air campaign against Libya becomes an event of longer duration than the Battle of Britain?

Is news in America skewed? How many updates have you seen or heard about the meltdowns in Japan?

Portrayals of the Palin vs. Bachman rivalry as a cat fight between harpies may have great entertainment value, but it also carries the subliminal message that the Republican Party has women (plural) who are qualified to seek the nomination and that, for the men in the liberal media, means it is business as usual to ridicule the women. The implication is that the Republicans are more prone to taking women seriously and they expect women voters to vote accordingly.

Is having a negotiator in the budget talks who has been compromised, better than having no negotiator at all? To some cynical columnists President Obama’s chances of using negotiations to avoid an impending disaster, based on his past negotiating track record, are nil and none.

One more thing before we do the closing quote: The commentators are all noticing the strange Republican behavior. Could their seemingly irrational, arrogant, reckless, and belligerent attitude be explained (by those pesky conspiracy theory nuts) by the idea that they are relying on the electronic voting machines to protect them from any possibility November 2012 Election revenge that any disgruntled voters might wish to inflict on them?

In the book “The American Home Front 1941 – 1942” (Grove Press paperback copyright 2006 on page 3), Alistair Cooke wrote: “It has become the habit of historical narrative in our day to assume that history is an inveterate believer in dramatic irony and throws out to sensitive people, and to journalists with a flair for the dramatic, hints and early symptoms of impending glory or disaster.”

Now the disk jockey will play “Tom Dooley,” “Marie Leveau” and “I surrender, dear.” We have to go watch a fireworks display. Have an “If not now, when?” type week.

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