Do Republicans Fear Obama?
Albert Einstein said “Insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting different results.“ Tea Party insanity is running amok in Washington.
Republicans realize they cannot win fair elections anymore, so they are trying to scrap the whole democratic process. However, their temper tantrums are starting to affect the world economy and it’s time for President Obama to stop playing with these people and instill fear.
As someone that considers himself more conservative than liberal, I encourage the President to go rogue. This is not the Republican Party of my childhood. Being from New Jersey, I’m used to moderate Republicans like Christine Todd Whitman and Tom Kean. They believed in free markets but made an attempt to understand working people. They also had respect for the institution of government and for those who disagreed with them.
Our current president, a man concerned with his legacy, should learn how the great presidents handled the opposition of their day.
One has to ask, how would Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton handle lightweights like Ted Cruz and the Tea Party?
History has shown great presidents didn’t sit around and negotiate with contentious groups. They seized power and let scholars debate the fine points later. Opposition parties, often contentious, have always been part of American History.
When South Carolina threatened to secede from the union over a tariff increase, President Andrew Jackson didn’t ask for a Grand Bargain; he threatened to hang his former Vice President, John C Calhoun. Abraham Lincoln defied the Supreme Court and suspended habeas corpus. Franklin Roosevelt did what he could to stack the Supreme Court.
In the summer of 1981, when 11,000 air traffic controllers went on strike, resulting in an estimated 7,000 flights being canceled, Ronald Reagan put liberals on notice. The president took control of the situation and declared the strike illegal. He threatened to fire any controller who did not return to work within 48 hours. Soon confusion set in among the strikers and within a few days those remaining on strike were replaced by military personnel and non-striking workers. Eighty percent of flights were operating and air travel resumed. Reagan then blacklisted the strikers and in October, 1981, their union, PATCO, was decertified.
That is how you handle the opposition.
John F Kennedy started with the same cautious approach to power as our current president. However, this changed when the Ted Cruz of Kennedy’s day, George Wallace, defied the president’s authority regarding integration of the Alabama school system. The defiant governor emphatically vowed to block the doorway of any Alabama schoolhouse that was ordered by the federal courts to admit black students.
Like President Obama, President Kennedy tried to negotiate with rigid ideologues, sending his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, to Alabama. However, eventually President Kennedy realized he was dealing with a madman. He tried appealing to Alabama businessmen and influential politicians, asking them to reason with Wallace. On June 5, 1963, the U.S. District Court ordered the state of Alabama to allow the students to register, Wallace refused, hoping this would set up a states’ rights crisis and paint the President as a tyrant.
Although reluctant to use his power, John F Kennedy instructed Robert Kennedy to federalize the Alabama National Guard.
On the morning of June 11, as students began registering at the University of Alabama, Governor Wallace stood in front of the doorway flanked by Alabama state troopers. Kennedy issued a Presidential Proclamation that ordered the governor to comply with the court-ordered desegregation of Alabama schools. He then authorized the secretary of defense to call up the Alabama National Guard.
That afternoon, federal troops came to the campus and asked the governor to step aside. Wallace, defeated, finally relented and the University of Alabama campus in Huntsville became integrated.
One must ask the question: if government is broken, is the president justified in seizing power? Raising the debt ceiling is crucial. The world economy could collapse because of a contentious minority in Congress determined to have its way.
One should ask if the president is exploring all possibilities.