Friday, December 10, 2010

Split Screen...

Sometimes I wish that my mind could zero in on two scenes at once and that I could sit back and imagine a live-action, split-screen event.  The most recent two scenes that I would have loved  to see at the same time was the Bill Clinton/Obama impromptu press conference [Here] and the other, the enraged Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in full-filibuster mode. [Here]  
The NYTimes’s blog The Caucus reported [Here] that at 6:40 in the evening, Senator Sanders had spoken for 9 consecutive hours and Bernie is not a young man (he’s 69), although he is a very angry and enraged man.  It’s refreshing that someone cares enough about the disgusting tax break to rich people proposed by the Obama/GOP giveaway compromise to speak to the country and his fellow Senators about his outrage.
In the first scene the sight of Bill Clinton standing, front and center, behind a podium with the Presidential seal directly behind his head and President Obama mutely standing beside him with hands clasped in a gesture of pure passivity spoke volumes about this so-called Obama-GOP tax “deal.”  Obama had to bring in Clinton to show the world that even the Big Dog supports the compromise.  
The strangest part of this whole strange scene was that as Clinton started to take questions from the press, Obama excused himself, saying that, “I’ve been keeping the first lady waiting.”  Clinton replied, “I don’t want to make her mad.  Please go.”  And off Barry trotted, leaving Clinton to carry water for his presidency.  (I urge you to click here and see the shot of Clinton and Obama in the Briefing Room.) 
Politico’s Glenn Thrush has thrown another spotlight on the White House drama in a piece titled “Schumer vs Obama.”  [Here]  We’ve learned to take Thrush with several dashes of salt but this story rings true.  Thrush reports that Schumer went to the White House  
on his own initiative on November 22 to talk with the President about the coming tax fight and to introduce Schumer’s proposal to extend the tax cuts for everyone making up to a million dollars a year but sticking it to the very, very rich.
Schumer’s plan was to force the Republicans to either fight for millionaires and billionaires and thus expose their bias to the American people or shut up and accept his compromise.  Thrush claims that Obama heard Schumer out--the meeting lasted an hour--but the President was noncommittal.  
Schumer and Reid went back to the White House a week later and according to Thrush, Obama told them that “he wasn’t interested in an extended battle with uncertain results.”  [Here] When Schumer subsequently pushed ahead with his proposal, Obama has been very annoyed. 
It’s clear that Schumer and Obama see the road ahead differently.  Schumer is position-oriented and is solidly in the progressive wing of the party.  Obama is not and obviously has his eyes on the Independent voters whom the Democrats lost in the last November elections.  We shouldn’t be surprised to see Obama take even more obvious centrist positions in the next two years.  
When this “centering” occurs, I won’t be surprised, but I certainly will be angry and outraged.

I’m proud that Chuck Schumer is standing tall and remaining true to those of us in New York who have elected him.  I’d also like to remind folks that the splendid Bernie Sanders was born, educated and raised in Brooklyn before he settled in Vermont.  (Sanders ended his long speech on Friday evening at 6:59 p.m. after starting at 10:24 a.m. on Friday morning.  CNN reported that his non-stop talk lasted for 8 hours and 35 minutes without a break.  [Here]  
Thank you, Senator Sanders.  We are all proud of you...

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