Decision to derail Obama also puts nation at risk

Rep. Earl Blaumenauer of Washington state is a frustrated liberal Democrat. Frustrated because he came into this session of Congress full of enthusiam for the miracles he and his party would rear back and pass under the inspired leadership of President Barack Obama.
Ten months into the session, he told a reporter that the lack of progress has been “a hard landing for a lot of the people I represent.”
His frustration surely is shared widely, in and out of Congress. The Democrats do have strong majorities in both the House and Senate and the president was given a heady mandate by the popular vote. But health care delivery remains in crisis, unemployment continues to grow, the federal deficit is in orbit, the war in Afghanistan goes from bad to worse and Congress still wrestles with a bill to curb greenhouse gases and deal with climate change.
How come?
As Rep. Blaumenauer and his comrades can now see, all of the major problems President Obama must deal with are immensely complicated, require basic changes to be made and are bitterly controversial. Good solutions will take time. Some solutions may not come until the need for change becomes imperative.
That said, it must come as a surprise to the American people that all of the major proposals that President Obama has made have been rejected by the Republicans almost unanimously. The people, after all, voted in favor of the Democratic platform when they elected Obama and gave him strong majorities in Congress.
Can it really be true that not a single Republican in the House and only one in the Senate believes that every American should have access to good health care or dismisses the contention of the world’s scientific community that greenhouse gases are warming the world’s climate?
Of course this can’t be the case. What appears to be happening is that the Republican leadership has become convinced that derailing Obama’s initiatives, and discrediting the man himself, is a recipe for winning back Congress in 2010.
It is a dangerous gamble, both for the Republican Party and for the country.
Up until now, the need to bring health care costs in the U.S. down and expand coverage has been recognized all but universally. What should be going on is a wide-ranging discussion as to how best to achieve these goals followed by program-building speeded along with thoughtful compromises. Ditto for curbing greenhouse gas emissions to slow climate change.
Taking this course would help restore the people’s confidence in their government — and in the part the political parties play in it. Continuing along the path of take-no-prisoners partisanship is having the opposite effect.

— Emerson Lynn, jr.