When I contemplate the dangers facing America, two competing thoughts arise regarding the Democratic takeover of the federal government.
One thought envisions swift and complete failure, proving anew the soul-crushing bankruptcy of the Democrat approach of enabling the welfare state and its corresponding class warfare. In my dreams this once-in-a-generation debunking happens neatly in the span of one election cycle, thereafter freeing citizens from the bondage of big government uber alles.
While that thought soothes the primordial “I-told-you-so” instinct, it quickly gives way to fear. The human suffering that would undoubtedly take place under that scenario is something no good American should wish for.
The second idea contemplates wild success for Democrats and the new president. Barack Obama takes over on Jan. 20, inspires the nation and leads his party and us decisively through the economic crisis and into a higher, middle-road vision of what it is to be an American.
I like the second idea better. But considering the current cast of characters within the Democrat Party, will that happen?
Let’s review, shall we?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi considers herself something like the leader of her own country. She’s already announced her own personal agenda for moving America forward, as if the last presidential election was all about her and not much about Obama. Her ego and freelance ambitions present a mighty stumbling block for any president, especially one so inexperienced and pliable as Obama.
Nevada’s Harry Reid, leader of the Senate, doesn’t have the ego of Pelosi. He has another tendency: vindictiveness. Reid is as vicious a partisan as there is in Washington, D.C. He’s good to have in a political knife fight, but so far in his long political career, he’s been of no use when it comes to leadership and gathering the diversity of intellect to solve big problems.
While Reid’s position has been strengthened by the Democratic surge in the Senate, it only masks his inability to work constructively with those who disagree with him. That piece of his character will prove to be a huge weight for Obama and for Americans as a whole as we seek to grapple with the difficult economic issues of the day. You can’t count on Harry to lay aside personal grievances for the greater good.
If Reid changed his spots on this count, he and his Senate could be the key for Obama and the real agent of good change for America. I’m bearish, but always open to miracles.
Last week, we caught an excellent glimpse of the Democrat brain trust at work. Pelosi, Reid, Rep. Barney Frank, Sen. Chris Dodd and Sen. Chuck Schumer held a news conference that was hailed as a bipartisan effort to re-craft a bailout plan for domestic automakers. But when the details emerged, it quickly became clear that the plan was not only not bipartisan, the plan was not even a plan.
It was simply a photo-op for Team Democrat to beg the automakers to come back to Washington in December and make a more compelling presentation so that congressional Democrats can give them billions of dollars without looking even more stupid than they already look.
I am sorry to be so plain, but that’s the way it was.
It was a spectacle nearly beyond words. The Dow Jones industrials plunged 400+ points to their lowest level in five years, and people all around the nation no doubt yelled what I yelled at the TV as the news conference concluded: “Oh brother. This is the best we got?”
And so it is with that kind of backdrop in “leadership” that Obama prepares for office.
Obama’s ability to rally a nation is proven. The man can give a speech.
But can he elevate his own party to new heights with teammates the likes of these?
Sherman Frederick (sfrederick@review journal.com) is publisher of the Review-Journal and president of Stephens Media.