Poll1The worm may be turning at long last.  President Obama finally found the conduit he has been lacking to have a conversation with a huge portion of the American public that has been rendered deaf and oblivious to his proposals and agenda ever since he won the White House on a wave of hope for change – the Super Bowl, and it paid off big.  The massive audience, the largest in television history, wasn’t tuned in to listen to him, they were ready for some football, and of course, the annual unveiling of the latest gems of advertising that have become just as much of a fun tradition as the game itself.  Tucked into the middle of a fantastic game, and coupled with the rare attention paid to the time slotted between the action, was an Obama sit down with Katie Couric.  What this ultimate bully pulpit afforded him was finally a chance to shine a huge spotlight on the crippling scourge of Washington politics, partisan gridlock.  He took the snap from Couric, slipped a few tackles and trotted the length of the field to score six.
Just one day before the game, the media’s attention had been focused farther north, on Nashville Tennessee, where Sarah Palin was keynote speaker at a Grand-Ol’-Opry-style convention of the Tea Party Movement, and let me tell you, it was not good news for the Grand Ol’ Party.  For almost an hour she took every imaginable opportunity to take shots at Barack Obama and she was all over the map in trying to do it.  She chided him for being a professor, not a Commander-in-Chief, she tried to reduce his eloquence and intelligence to some kind of a parlor trick that uses a teleprompter as the main prop.  She invoked the spirit of Ronald Reagan on what would have been his 99th birthday to rally the crowd and then she channeled Bill Clinton’s “there is nothing wrong in America that can’t be fixed by what is right in America” almost verbatim. She called Alaska, not America, the beacon of hope, then she continued down her erratic path and went on to channel Obama himself by rattling on about the ability of a grass roots movement to change the power structure of Washington. She talked about hope and change and then went on to ask, in folksy Palin’esque fashion, how that “hopey-changey” thing was working out for the millions that were moved by that very same notion just over a year ago.  The icing on the cake though, was the fact that she had crib notes written on her own hand to remind herself to talk about energy, the budget cuts… err, tax cuts and the cherry on top, a reminder to lift American spirits. Well Rush, Hannity and Sarah, start your engines because I am about to drop the R-word that sums that whole fiasco up, “Ridiculous!”  Her whole speech and Q&A session revealed not one single policy idea, no clear love for the Republican party and a call for Washington transparency that Obama would make the crux of his pitch to the American people the very next day.  No, I don’t think the GOP is going to enjoy the rants of Sarah Palin very much at all going forward, unless they are taking the whole “even bad publicity is good publicity” advertising mantra to a whole new level.
Thanks to the great American pastime that is the NFL, the gauntlet has been thrown.  Obama got his chance to give the American people a little professorial lesson on political obstructionism and pointed it right at the GOP with one of those big foam fingers.  And if you don’t think so, take these numbers from a Washington Post/ABC News poll done after what may just become known as the GOP’s Black Sunday.  The majority is now blaming the Republicans in congress as the problem by virtue of their unwillingness to compromise in order to move our country forward.  Even a whopping 42% of Republicans seem to want them to keep trying to pass a Health Care bill. 
President Barack Obama has shifted the conversation to American progress, not political gamesmanship, and put a bullet in the chamber to up the stakes considerably on the game the Republican party has been playing without the threat of consequence for over a year now.  All I can say is they better paint on their game faces and get themselves ready for one tough opponent.  On February 25th, they had better bring some real and tangible ideas to the table, because for a majority of Americans, at this defining moment, “just say no” simply won’t cut it anymore.
Barack Obama has put your tickets in the mail and you will all have sideline seats on the 50 yard line.  I hope I see you all there.  Bring on the Game!

8 Responses to “Are you Ready for some Political Football?”

  • Daniel McKernan:

    Well said my friend, well said.

  • You wrote in your general intro that “this is a place to unite, not divide.” That’s nice, but all your posts are thinly veiled hit pieces on Republicans and the conservative world view while praising Obama and liberal ideas.

    Nothing necessarily wrong with that, but I’m not quite getting in what way calling those you disagree with “Ridiculous” serves to unite as opposed to divide.

    When George W. Bush ran for president, he called himself a “uniter, not a divider.” Is that where you got the idea from?

    Ironically, all those who promise to “unite, not divide” just end up bashing the opposition, no matter in how eloquent a language the bashing may be couched in.

    Do you seriously consider yourself a “uniting” voice by referring to those you don’t like as “ridiculous”? In the end, all those who already agree with you will applaud you, and those disagree will just perceive you as a liberal hatchet machine.

    Bottom line, I don’t see any “uniting” going on here. All you’re uniting are your own ideological compatriots, and they’re united already. (The same, of course, applies to conservative self-appointed “uniters.”)

  • Aris:

    What I was calling ridiculous is not the notion of the Tea Party or their ideals, but Sarah Palin’s continuous face changing act. She is not a uniter by any stretch of the imagination. Her only marketable ability is to take cheap sound-bite shots, nothing more, and I see that as counter productive to an extreme degree. If she were to ever offer a solution along with the rhetoric, I may look at things differently, but up until know it’s been . And right now I also see the Republican Party as a pre-declared obstruction to progress. I am more than willing to embrace a good idea if they present one. The meeting on the 25th will be their big chance, let’s see what they do with it. As far as the Tea Party goes, if you boil down their philosophy it is not miles away from my core beliefs about the true catalyst for change, you will find it rooted in the grass roots activism that I whole heartedly embrace. We just have a different notion of what the endgame should be. The people should always be the ones moving the wheels of progress, not a few self serving politicians whose only agenda is to save their own skin and careers. I want to unite for progress, not sit back in the shadow of complacency and let total inaction continue to be the politics-de jour. Whenever I get the opportunity to have a rational discussion with someone with opposing views, I see it as an opportunity to check the value of my own position, if they can persuade me with logic and common sense that I am off base, I will gladly take their banner to battle. I served in the military under Ronald Reagan, I kept my mouth shut when Bush was running the show and doing so many things that I vehemently disagreed with, but I played the good soldier because the people said he should be the one calling the shots … TWICE. But now the shoe is on the other foot and I expect the same courtesy in return. It is now up to the GOP to lead, follow, or get out of the way, but waking up every morning with the singular thought of how they are going to pour sugar in the gas tank to halt any kind of attempt at meaningful progress is just wrong. I finally feel like I have a President that is tune with my belief that common ground can, and should, be found and if the GOP stops playing the games of a playground bully with no shred of conscience for the suffering and daily tragedy that affect so many of my fellow Americans (myself included), then I will not have to take them to task. But until then, I most certainly will and I am more than happy to unite any that will join me in that cause. I hope that cleared up my position a little bit and thanks for your input.

  • …if the GOP stops playing the games of a playground bully with no shred of conscience for the suffering and daily tragedy that affect so many of my fellow Americans…

    Perhaps this is not so much a matter of lack of concern for the suffering of the folks on part of the GOP, but simply a different approach to helping the largest number of people. Even the dumbest Rebublican knows that having millions of poor and unhappy people is a bad thing, even if only for purposes of getting re-elected. One doesn’t need a “shred of conscience” to understand that if one’s policies result in more misery for more people, one’s days in power are numbered.

    I consider it entirely possible that many GOP-minded people sincerely believe (correctly or incorrectly) that reducing the size of government and cutting back on entitlements will actually help more people get a footing in their lives. After all, people’s sense of urgency to make their own lives work declines in proportion to all the government assistence they can expect to receive.

    In other words, if I know that no one will pay for my dental bills, I’ll be taking better care of my teeth. If I know there’s no unemployment assistance, I’ll spend more time looking for a job or getting creative to make things work. It’s just human psychology. One the one hand, a government is morally obligated to help the poor and downtrodden. On the other hand, the more a government helps out, the more people come to rely on that help, the more self-sufficiency will decline, and the more debt a nation will incur. As I mentioned in a previous comment, countries can and do go bankrupt under the weight of their own spending.

    Therefore, what may come across as “no shred of conscience” may, in fact, come from a place of sincerely wanting to head off utter disaster.

    Bottom line, I don’t believe that either side is more or less concerned with the suffering of the people. They just have different ideas on how to fix it.

  • oops … guess I forgot to close my italics there …

  • Aris:

    Refusing to talk about pressing issues and going into the discussion with a pre-determined stance smacks of a lack of conscience to me. As I said, I’m open to ideas and I hope that being called out to center stage will bring about some real thinking and not just posturing. If health care can be made accessible to EVERYONE without any government backing, I’m on board. If we can have a smaller government that doesn’t have future generations working harder for less or leave them without hope of attaining a globally competitive education, I’m listening. If there are any good ideas that can start to close the chasm between the haves and the have nots and stop it from spiraling out of control, I’m all ears. And if I’m not mistaken, didn’t we just try it that way for eight years and get saddled with a disaster? I think I’d rather risk blazing a new trail instead of beating a dead horse. The real kicker is that the “poor and downtrodden” you are talking about could very easily become the majority with just one missed paycheck. The ranks are growing each and every day. If you think we are on solid footing right now, by any measure, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I don’t think we will, but I’d rather go bankrupt trying to help everyone achieve their potential than go bankrupt coddling a chosen few which is the road we are barreling down right now. In the end, the rich and powerful will still be rich and powerful, even more so with a market that is oiled with an even bigger pool of content consumers.

  • TSAQ:

    GREAT ARTICLE!!! There are many who have challenged (1) of of [GOD’S] chosen, [PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA], (1) of [GOD’S] chosen.

  • I don’t believe we’re on solid footing, and I agree that the nation needs fixing. And quite frankly, I don’t know how to fix it.

    My point is, though, that just because someone does not concur with President Obama’s vision, including his health care bill, does not mean that this person doesn’t care about the suffering of the people. He/She may sincerely worry that, at the end of the day, Obama’s approach may lead to MORE suffering and poverty, i.e., that it might make things worse, not better.

    Their oppositon may, in fact, be driven by their conscience for the suffering and daily tragedy of the people, rather than be a symptom of a lack thereof.

    Take minimum wage, for instance. Someone may campaign in favor of increasing minimum wage, so that low-wage earners make more money, and hence poverty will be eased.

    Somebody else may come along and say, hey, if we increase minimum wage, companies will start downsizing, more people will be out of work, and hence poverty will increase, not decrease. So instead, let’s actually lower minimum wage.

    Although they favor opposite approaches, both parties may be driven by a sincere desire to alleviate poverty. You can’t just say that a person who opposes a minimum wage increase doesn’t care about poor people. He may oppose it precisely because he cares about poor people.

    Same with health care. Some folks honestly worry that the whole system will collapse under this new health care plan, and as a result health care will be worse than it is now, not better.

    My argument here is not whether Obama’s vision is right or wrong. I have no idea. I’m merely saying that his opponents may wish to achieve the same goals (i.e. a prosperous nation with the largest possible number of happy and healthy citizens), albeit taking a completely different route.

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