Today former President Bill Clinton held an impromptu press conference in order to support the tax-cut deal that Obama reached with some Republicans. The mainstream media is already speculating that the circumstances of the conference, the demeanor of Obama and Clinton during it, along with Obama’s abrupt departure partway through, will provide much food for fodder for conservative talk radio hosts and others who are speculating that Obama has all but abdicated.
But let’s put that aside.
Let’s also put aside the fact that the bill that has emerged from this tax-cut deal is arguably another disaster waiting to happen, full of more “stimulus” and pork. Senator Jim DeMint is urging everyone to vote against it, with the idea that Republicans can get a “cleaner” bill after the new members of Congress take office.
The thing that struck me most about the press conference was something that Bill Clinton said about the meaning of the midterm elections in November of this year. He said, about the midterm elections in 1994, “After the ’94 election I said that the American people, in their infinite wisdom, had put us both in the same boat, so we’re going to either row or sink. And I want us to row.” He continued, “Everybody’s got to give a little.”
In other words, as one Associated Press writer paraphrases Clinton’s advice to the Obama administration and to Congress: “Republicans and Democrats both have to accept the message voters sent in the last election, which is that they want the president and lawmakers from the opposing party to compromise.”
Um, no, we don’t. I’m not sure if Clinton or the media understand this, but we were not given the opportunity to vote out Obama in November. If we had been, I’m sure we would have done that, too. We did the best that we could, which was to put as many of the “better” Republicans and Tea Party members in office as possible, with the hope that they could at least stop the bleeding. We did not vote for compromise. Gridlock, sure. Compromise, no.
On my wish list for 2011 (although I understand none of it may come to pass until 2013): A “clean” bill extending the Bush-era tax cuts; A bill that repeals Obamacare (without “replacing” it with a watered-down Republican version); Massive cuts in the size and scope and intrusiveness of government. That is what I meant by my vote.