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Archive for November 29th, 2009

Lessons from President Johnson

Do the spineless Democrats control the White House and both Houses of Congress? If yes, why is President Obama trapped in a bipartisanship agenda at the expense of political principles? Even though, both the Democratic and the Republican Parties are bought and paid for by corporate interest, there is a continuous reason why elections are held.  In the election of 2008, citizens have elected to give their partisan support for Democrats to govern. If The Democrats are unable to fulfill this mandate, it becomes a lack of leadership quality.

While the idea of bipartisanship sounds very appealing, let us not forget, what it actually denotes is abandonment of principle. Moreover, let us ask how bipartisanship has helped move Obama’s policies. The fact is, that the Republicans are working to block everything that the President is proposing. They want him to fail. They want the Democrats to loose seats in both Houses of Congress. Which, they will.  Republicans clearly understand that they have a partisan agenda which is different from the Democrats. It is only the spineless Democrats who want to be loved by all. By bending backward for the cooperation of the Republicans, President Obama will end up antagonizing the people that elected him.

Alex Copulsky, writing on Harvard Political Review, on the topic of “bipartisanship” wrote:

Briefly: It’s a load of bull. Less briefly: “Bipartisanship” is a feel-good election-y term that should not, and cannot, be the way President Obama gets things done in Washington. Let me offer some thoughts on the matter.

First off, there’s now no incentive for most of the Republican Party to cooperate with Obama, especially in the House of Representatives. … The Republican Party is, in a very real sense, a rump party; it’s been stripped of nearly everyone politically vulnerable in their districts and tends to represent members from the reddest states and districts there are. It hasn’t shrunk as far as it theoretically could; there’s actually even more room for it to fall in the Senate, unless Obama makes a hash of his first year. But it’s almost at a minimum.

So the logical political move for the Republicans to make is, in fact, to go into full-on obstructionist mode, because otherwise they (especially in the House) may fall to a primary challenger tackling them from the right. In turn, the Republican leadership is pretty much compelled to go after Obama as hard as they can and hope that he messes something up; as the Democrats discovered during 2001-2005, there’s little electoral reward in being a watered-down version of the other party.”

Whenever I think of a presidential successful leadership, I think of President Lyndon B. Johnson. President Johnson was able to pass historical legislations because of his skills in persuasion coupled with, threats, and pressures. He was always in charge. He never wavered when it came to principles. That is why, formidable legislations like The Civil Rights Act, The Voting Rights Act, The Civil Rights Act, The Economic Opportunity Act (war on poverty), Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Head Start, The Higher Education Act, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. that had changed the face of America were enacted. Had it not been for the Vietnam war, Johnson would have been one of the greatest American Presidents ever.

Professor Mekonen Haddis

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