There’s increased chatter, as the spies would say, from the Obama administration and from administration apologists about the notion that the President simply has to appeal our DADT & DOMA victories in court lest a future Republican president refuse to appeal legal challenges to Obama’s health care reform bill or the Hate Crimes bill.
The naiveté, or utter duplicity, of such an argument is breathtaking.
At its core, the argument comes down to this: A future Republican administration – let’s call it the Palin administration – is going to look to former President Obama for guidance when deciding how evil it wants to be.
That sort of logic encapsulates the problem we face as a community, and the broader problem Democrats face, with our less-than-fierce advocate. The President is either incredibly naive about Republican motivations, or he’s lying to us in order to get us to back down.
It’s tough to know which is motivating the President, as both theories have precedent. The President’s near fanatical desire for “bipartisanship at all costs” is by now legendary. He seriously seems to believe that by giving something to the GOP for nothing, the Republicans will at some future date return the favor. And, not surprising to anyone born before yesterday, they never do. But he keeps trying. He keeps scaling back his promises, keeps caving on key legislative provisions at the drop of a hat, keeps putting conservative Ds and Rs in charge of his major policy priorities, from health care reform to the budget deficit, and keeps ceding more and more power to his Secretary of Defense on DADT, as though Robert Gates were the boss of Barack Obama – all in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, one of these opponents will be nice to him since he was nice to them.
But it hasn’t worked out very well because life doesn’t work that way, at least not in Washington, DC. The Republicans are never “nice” to Democrats because Democrats ceded ground first. To a Republican, you didn’t give them a peace offering, you conveyed weakness. How many campaign promises does he have to self-sabotage before the President understands that the goody-two-shoes school of political diplomacy simply doesn’t work in this town?
The notion that President Sarah Palin is going to look to Barack Obama for guidance on what to do on health care reform is laughable. And the notion that any Republican is going to give a damn about Obama’s positions on gay rights when deciding whether to once again bash the gays is preposterous.
It’s beyond naive. It’s downright scary if this is truly what the Obama administration continues to believe: that the Republicans won’t use every opportunity at their disposal to undercut the Democratic agenda. And they do believe it, or they’re lying.
Either way: not very fierce.