The view from the couch: The party of no and the professional left 

Though this time around Republicans in Congress have been termed the "party of no," it is eerie how much they are playing the same sort of game they successfully played in the Clinton years. After George H.W. Bush was denied his second term, thanks to Ross Perot, the Republican right set out to de-legitimize Bill Clinton as president. The thin reed of the Whitewater scandal was bent in many directions and led to the exertions of Monica Lewinsky and, finally, impeachment in Clinton's second term.

Not much good happened in Clinton's second term. The Republicans were successful in their efforts to cripple the Clinton presidency and they carried that determination into the election and their victory over the popular vote by putting George W. Bush in the throne and sending Al Gore off to his various other enthusiasms.

So, all this "party of no" business is not new. Collectively, Republicans are out to cripple the Obama administration, their minions funding aspects of the Tea Party, voting no on anything the Democratic Congress does, trying to undo the electorate's mandate, while supporting the crazies, the birthers, etc.

Not that the Obama administration hasn't leant them a helping hand, just as Bill Clinton served them up a tasty dish of Oval Office moral turpitude. The chief sin of the Obama administration is that it too went contrary to the voters' mandate. We are still in Afghanistan, Iraq; Wall Street still has Washington DC in its pocket. The health care bill looks out for the private health industry first, the patients second. And on and on. And the administration bites the hand that fed it, criticizing "the professional left" whilst avidly courting independents and liberal Republicans.

Of course, those folk are a mirage when it comes to future elections.Though Obama's team aims its policies and public persona at them, they are not there for the picking. It's a tragic misreading of the 2008 election.Those people were just jumping on the bandwagon that the base of the Democratic party had provided Obama. The real election had been the primary between Obama and Hillary Clinton. Before November it was clear John McCain was going down to defeat (Sarah Palin helping his demise) and independents and so-called liberal Republicans just went with the winner.There is a tremendous satisfaction that comes with going with the winner. Obama got his historic victory.

But his administration acts as if the independents and the liberal Republicans handed it to him. It was his base that whipped up the excitement, the pull that dragged those people along. So, it is doubly depressing to see Obama aiming so many of his policies at them.

Yet, by now, much of this is crying over spilt milk. It's hard to walk all these months backward. The economy still stinks to high heaven. The Aug. 12 video showing people in Atlanta fighting for applications of government housing (the dispenser atop a car) looked a bit too much like relief trucks throwing out handfuls of rice to African famine victims.

And, the "help" the job market needs, unfortunately, is a new bubble. Because for decades we have lived off of economic bubbles.The economy, as some economists have admitted, is restructuring. Some jobs have permanently disappeared.Meanwhile, Republicans just want to destroy Obama, even if it takes two terms, labeling him a "socialist," though he is a centrist through and through. Two terms might be long enough that Jeb Bush could be installed in the job. Stranger things have happened. But, the strangest would be Obama's people supporting his base, rather than denigrating it.

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William O'Rourke

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