What’s Next?

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson

Yesterday’s election results left no doubt that  economic recovery is #1 on the voters’ agenda.  Here’s a rule politicians would do well to memorize: When people aren’t thinking with their hormones, they’re thinking with their wallets.

Now we have a House of Representatives that thinks the way to recovery consists of tax cuts and regulatory relief for corporations; and across-the-board budget cuts for every department and agency, excluding only the military and spy establishments.

And we have a Senate that thinks — what? Will Harry Reid come out of his near death experience with courage, or more cowardice?

And Barack Obama, having seemed to forget his own humble origins when he sat down with Big Insurance and Big Pharma to negotiate health care reform, squandered the power the humble masses gave him in 2008. Now will he turn his back on the people who need his attention more than ever, who need his support — materially, emotionally, and spiritually?

I waited to write to you until his press conference today was over, looking for a clue that might answer that question. His has, after all, still great power, should he choose to exercise it on our behalf.  If the power of persuasion and reason fail, he holds the trump card. If the House comes up with something that harms us to the benefit of the great corporations that put them in office, and if that something doesn’t die in the Senate, Obama doesn’t have to sign it. He has the power of the veto.

Veto, in Latin, means “I forbid.” What a concept: that the president might forbid the legislature to hurt us.

The best news coming out of Tuesday’s results is that the representatives of corporate power won’t have the power to override the president’s veto.  That takes a 2/3 vote in both houses — 67 in the Senate, 292 in the House.  In the Senate it looks like the Republicans will have 47 seats, 48 at most. In the house it will be 250 at most, more likely 243.

That means while the Republicans can keep good things from happening, if they decide it’s in their best interests for 2012 to keep the country in a state of paralysis, but they can’t do the kinds of bad things that would hurt us the most.

What is, to me, the money quote in Obama’s press conference is this. He’s talking about how his immediate predecessors, Clinton and Bush, also had to stand before the press and explain why they lost majorities in the mid-term elections. And Obama said:

This is something that I think every President needs to go through because the responsibilities of this office are so enormous and so many people are depending on what we do, and in the rush of activity, sometimes we lose track of the ways that we connected with folks that got us here in the first place.

Do you hear what I hear? I won’t go so far to say this gives me hope, but it does give me reason not to give up on the man. Maybe Tuesday’s outcome got his attention. Maybe I’ll give him a chance to show me.

Meanwhile, it will be fun to see how the taxed-enough-already legislators, with their blood oaths never to vote for anything that increases the deficit, will behave when they’re called upon — early next year — to vote to raise the federal debt limit. This will happen, as surely as the sun rises in the east. It’s not expenditures that will do it, it’s the interest on the national debt. Failure to raise the debt limit will bring the world’s economy to a halt. Will the Republicans threaten a filibuster when Harry Reid brings the authorization to the Senate floor? Will Marco Rubio place a hold on it?  What will Rand Paul do in the House? Will Speaker Boehner (or will it be Speaker Cantor?) be able to get him and the other tea party types to put down their dynamite-laden teacups?

The wriggling and backtracking and rationalizations will be a sight to see, for sure.

And what will Reid see as his first legislative priority when Congress reconvenes for the lame duck session in a couple of weeks?  What will be soon-to-become-former-Speaker Pelosi’s priorities? Will Obama exercise leadership there? Don’t ask don’t tell?  Immigration reform? Extending unemployment compensation?

Our work is far from done. Our job now is to put pressure where we can — and especially on the president — to remember we’re here, we’re watching, and we won’t forget. To quote back to him something he said while I was writing this, in a conference call with volunteers and Democratic party workers,

We didn’t sign up for doing what was easy. We signed up for doing what was right.

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8 Responses to “What’s Next?”

  1. WHAT THE TEA PARTY EXPECTS?
     
    I’m proud of being a supporter for the Tea Party of West Michigan, that as-one-people of Americans, we believe in an overhaul of our government. Not Just the majority party, but the Republicans as well, who have both run away with the idea that they are shielded from the people’s intervention of the financial mess they have brought our children and their grandchildren. I noticed there is a bad taste in the mouths of the Lib-ocrats, as they now must swim the same way as the moderate Conservatives or get caught up in the Tea Party rip-tide. These election results are an ultimatum that this is a growing revolution; it is the mounting anger of the Tea Party. Both parties are notified now that even though the midterm election is over, the Tea Party has only just begun to clean house in the halls of Congress. The people have spoken and it’s about the revulsion of the corruption in Washington and in State Capitols.

    The Republicans have taken back the house, but they better understand the consequences of playing the same old, tired game over and over again against the people’s interest will not work anymore. We as Americans have become too passive, entrusting our future to career politicians who are busily filling their own pockets; promising the public to carry out their wishes, but instead negotiated behind closed doors with nefarious lobbyists to slit our fiscal throats. We–as Americans are poor defenders of our rights under the US Constitution, and we should bare our chests and close down shop, across this country as the Europeans do and organize nationalwide strikes? The Tea party will not tolerate senile Senator Harry Reid’s drive to reward the 13 to 20 illegal alien criminals. Yes! Illegal aliens who affronted our laws, and stole into a sovereign country must be punished.

    Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican who won the Senate seat removed pro-illegal immigrant Democrat Jack Conway. Paul supports state-led solutions to illegal immigration such as Governor Brewers Arizona SB 1070 immigration law. He also wants to build an electric fence between the United States and Mexico, which would certainly be a major deterrent. Unlike the open border zealots and business special interest groups he is prepared enforce the “Rule of Law” and protect the US; Paul also want to  move military reservations abroad, back to this nation to protect us and to guard the porous border . It’s very obvious that many of the hard- nosed Liberal lawmakers and Governors lost the race, owing to their sickening agenda of giving criminal aliens some kind Immigration reform. Hopefully the new make-up of the house will investigate illegal aliens being released as they have no criminal record, other than entering America through the backdoor.

    The majority of American citizens are now very much aware, that decades of government have been pilfering tax money to support illegal alien families. That also goes for expectant women who intentionally come to our nation, to have their instant citizenship baby (A-n-c-h-o-r Baby), by the hundreds of thousands annually. With no insurance and no money, leaving taxpayers to pay for pre-natal debt to hospitals, then collect thousands of dollars from the unaware citizen in welfare. It’s doubtful we can repeal the instant citizenship act, but it can be revised to stop this draining of public welfare treasuries? The Tea Party new elected politicians better table any chance of Immigration Reform, and start creating obstacles to Senator Harry Reid and Boxer, who have a appalling history of immigration enforcement. My guess that countless of numbers of illegal aliens voted for them, as they all carry deceiving identification such as the housemaid who worked for Meg Whitman?

    California has a poorly managed welfare system where many people want something for nothing, including illegal aliens who use false ID. We must sever all welfare and public subsidies to non citizens that will save billions for the overtaxed US. August 11, 2009–Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich announced that welfare to foreign nationals with nationalized babies projected a cost over a 12 month period – this would exceed $575 million dollars. Those infants of illegal aliens in the County collected nearly $22 million in welfare and over $26 million in food stamps. Annually the cost of illegal immigration to Los Angeles County taxpayers exceeds over $1 billion dollars, which includes $350 million for public safety, $400 million for health care, and $500 million in welfare and food stamps allocations.  Twenty-four percent of the County’s total allotment of welfare and food stamp benefits goes directly to the children of illegal aliens born in the United States.  This is the legacy of the Liberals for decades of extorting money from citizens, to pay the way for foreigners. 8.5 Million illegal aliens working, as the 15 million American drudge the streets, trying ro feed their families.

    Ex Speaker Pelosi has been shepherded out of her contented position as House speaker and all other politicians are under the gun to be carefully watched and any deviation and spat out in 1220, if not committed to the people. The Dream Act or any form of another Amnesty must be confronted by an iron fist. Any form of Amnesty will attach access to our Social Security, even for those who have paid nothing into the system. With Amnesty comes chain migration of family members; mothers, fathers and siblings bring all there ills; the sick and infirm that taxpayers will be further burdened with. This is an absolute travesty against the American people, who have paid towards their retirement all their lives. All Tea Party newcomers going to Washington will be carefully analyzed for their voting on issues that does not conform to our will.

    They will be dislodged from their seat if they vote during a Lame Duck bill to do with given criminal foreigners a pass to Amnesty. America is drowned in debt from previous administrations that has spiraled to an amount of 14 Trillion dollars, and now the Senate leaders Reid and Boxer wants to give criminals— Amnesty? That the Heritage Foundation has stated it will add a cost 2.6 Trillion to settle them indefinitely. Various issues will be either repealed or revised according to the Tea Parties platform. To return empowerment back to states and shrink the Federal Government, which means giving education policies back to states, and reduce bloated entities such as the Department of Education. This should be invested in the schools and parents, not run by the federal authorities or layer upon layer of civil administrators.

    Over the years both parties have taken the money from the people, to fund irrational earmarks that are become a serious problem today and must exempt from any new laws enacted. Perhaps introduce a flat tax, so nobody is exempt from paying taxes on any item purchased and reduce the size of a bureaucratic nightmare called the IRS (Internal Revenue Service.) The stimulus- tarps and special overhauls of financial institutions will stop now, same as special trade privileges for China. Hasn’t anyone notice that they are building a giant war machine on our dollars exported. All free trade agreements must be renegotiated or we better still, withdraw from the humiliating genuflecting to foreign countries. Over abundance of foreign trade has wrecked this countries manufacturing commerce. My spouse has a habit of buying cheap goods, made in cheap labor countries that break down or never work as promised. Start loaning money to small and medium business enterprises, as they are the job generators; not to banks, financial investment firms or the auto industry. Start taxing all goods coming into the country and use other deterrents to stop the importation of cheap labor goods; lordy! We don’t even produce our own televisions anymore?

    The strong arm of Unions such as SEIU is stealing the lifeblood from taxpayers, with huge pension agreements especially in Liberal extremist States like California. These Unions are full of Marxists and violent people, who will do anything to get what they want. The example is Jerry Browns, and ultra Liberal Senators like Boxer, a senior citizen that will also kowtow to the Unions and drain money from the State. Under Jerry Brown California will stagnate as he is another demented Liberal that because of millions of dollars in Union dues, provided to him will be indebted to the Union mob. It’s almost laughable that he has been reinvented, after the years when he almost bankrupt Oakland. In the 1960′s Los Angeles—a Sanctuary City–was never the open toilet it has become now, full of illegal aliens, criminal nationals and the likelihood of cells of hidden terrorists.

    The Tea Party and is propagating membership has much to do, in voicing their opinion of how to train their legislators in fighting the political slime along the Capitol beltway. The battle to return America to its roots has just began, the revisiting the priceless words of the constitution and making this nation great again. No more of this garbage spread by the liberal fringe groups to our schools, to our young. Place political correctness doctrine in the garbage fill, where it belongs. Free Speech is what it is–FREE SPEECH, given to us by our founding fathers, not the communist’s insurgency in our society. As for Voter fraud–nobody has truly investigated the chicanery that happened around the country,  specifically in Nevada.  But  the voting system needs updating  so only real citizens  can vote without the worry of strange goings on in Polling place;  absentee ballots are  not safeguarded enough  in California, Nevada or border States.

  2. Good article mom.thanks for critisizing the corporate run government we have…did you know obama cut fuel assistance to elderly people and low income folks(40 million) by 38 percent,50 %next year,while increasing military spending……give up on him now….he is only working for the corporate bottom line of profits before people……what is it going to take to see him for the sellout he really is?Your not convinced yet?!!!!Oh boy,we are really in trouble.By the time most folks figure it out,i swear it will be too late.

  3. Thanks for reminding us of Obama’s veto power and the 2/3 vote needed to overcome a veto. That’s reassuring. I continue to hope that Obama will “get” what’s wrong — that he must act in the best interests of the vast majority of working and poor people in this country rather than the corporations — and be daring enough to make a course correction. Pressure him we must!

  4. And I hope we who need him to act in our interests won’t forget that he’s going to need pressure to do so — not because he’s evil or in the pocket of big business, necessarily, but because the pressure from that side will intense and unremitting.

  5. Jamie, I have deep and personal knowledge of the cuts, and the games being played to discourage people from applying. I’m not sure whose idea the fuel assistance cut is, but it harms energy companies as well as eligible recipients. People who get fuel assistance hand the money right over to their oil or gas supplier. As fuel assistance decreases, so do the profits on the energy companies.

    Let’s say that people like me figure out that Obama is a sellout. Then what? Do we all join the TEA Party, whose leaders want to do away with social security, medicare, unemployment compensation, federal aid to states for education, and so forth?

    This is a serious question: I’d like you and anyone else reading this to propose constructive alternatives. I’m certainly open to something new, but maybe I’m too old to be able to think creatively about what it could be.

    Cuts in federal spending have to come from somewhere. I think they should come from the military and “intelligence” budgets, but the fact is nobody knows what those budgets are, nobody keeps track of what they spend, and there’s great profit in it for certain groups of people to keep the rest of us scared, either of an attack from outside or an attack if we say we’re not scared.

    Maybe if we all put our heads together we can come up with something worth organizing for.

  6. Francis, there’s too much in your message for me to respond to, but I’d like you to pick one issue and let’s see where we agree and where we disagree, then go on from there to seek a solution. Name-calling may relieve anger, but it doesn’t solve anything, and heaven knows this country has so many problems that it needs every rational being to work on a solution.

    Will you join me?

  7. Hi,well the first constructive alternative would be to stop voting for democrats or republicans,there are other options put there,but people keep voting for the crooks.And i don’t mean tea party folks.

  8. And i don’t advocate voting for tea part folks either,there are others running with better ways….

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