Friday, August 26, 2011

Working With the Tea Party

Almost as predictable as political disingenuity from the right comes the clockwork-like political reality denial of the professional left. Though it is always funny to see such reality-denial chided as not damaging enough.

Talking specifically about the union representative who takes issue with Obama "working with the Tea Party," I wonder if this guy knows how to count. Right now, the Tea Party is setting the agenda for the Republican Party, and (last time I checked) the Republican Party politically controls the United States House of Representatives. That same House of Representatives represents a fairly significant managing organization in the heirarchy of governance in the United States of America.

Barack Obama, as the President of the United States, must work with the Congress to acheive almost any policy goal.* It would be nice if Congress remembered that they also need to work with the President of the United States, but the current political majority wasn't sent to Washington to acheive policy goals, they were sent there to play-conservative-on-television and represent one of the greatest marketing schemes in United States history. Redistricting, combined with a dismemberment of the political opposition at state and local levels, means that the majority will suffer no political consequences in the absence of policy acheivements.

That makes the President's job more difficult, especially when it comes to getting Federal policy into a position to support job growth in an unsustainable economy. Add another level of difficulty when you accept that the Tea Party isn't going anywhere for a while. Especially if professional left-wing organizations can't win state elections in states where they have the most advantages. While I hear a lot of folks to the left always complaining about this President's inability to lead and to enact progressive policy, he's actually gotten a tremendous amount of work done considering the odds stacked against him.

Which brings me to my next points:

One: unions need to evolve if they wish to remain relevant. Our current economy is unsustainable, and too many union jobs are based on government subsidies and loopholes to businesses they work for, manufacturing unsustainable products like gas guzzling SUV's, and work in struggling public sectors (schools, prisons, police).

Two: Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives need to start focusing on local and state issues. Right now, there is an outsized interest in national issues beyond the influence of most of the DLP "base." This is good policy. Jobs can be created by getting a handle on ineffective local or state policies and prioritizing the value of public education. Local focus might be able to get more money out of the hands of Wall Street and get some cash back onto Main Street. It would also be good politics, as the GOP and Tea Party nationwide have been able to portray DLP as the architechts of every problem, turn that portrayal into local political capital, and cash that capital in for national political priorities. There is no matching political capital generator for the center or the left.

* - Except on Libya, apparently.


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