Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way


“Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

I am re-posting some issues that need continued focus. Leadership is one. A member of congress may not vote the way we want them to vote, or vote when we want them to vote, and some issues linger without ever seeing a vote - - but the member still has their voice to speak out on important issues. That is leading, too. The assault on Unions, Public Employees, Teachers, the new Health Care law, vouchers for Medicare and more burden on the poor - all the while more and more breaks flow to the top 2-3 percent is plainly not right. Speaking out against those things is leading.

In this post I can't, won't or don't intend to speak for all Democrats – I speak for only myself, or perhaps for a few who feel the same way I do about the events over the past year in Congress.

I am a lifelong Democrat, having first voted in 1964 while I was still on active duty in the Marine Corps. I have voted every election since, missing only a couple due to military deployments. I believe in the party foundation, principles, values and goals; but for the life of me, I think we have lost our way, or at least in the way we govern in the majority since wins in 2006 and bigger wins in 2008.

The people have twice given the DEMS the reins of power – in 2006 and again even bigger in 2008. The Democrats have the power and majorities to lead. After eight miserable years of the Bush-Cheney and poor GOP administration, the country said “No. No more. Here are the reins of government, do something and reverse our course and do some good for a change.”

However, thus far, the Democrats have failed. Much of that failure has been due to the massive GOP resistance on practically every bill or proposal in the House and Senate. Roadblocks and potholes and obstruction are the GOP's middle name – that is a fact and most people know it, too.

But, the Democrats have willingly in some cases fallen into those holes and got steamrolled and asphalted over in the process. That is not what the public wants or needed. Democrats should always work and try to get cooperation from the GOP, and vice versa, but when that fails, they have to move on and do the people’s work and leave the road blockers behind.

Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid, and a few other DEM “leaders” have not done a very good job of leading as far as I can assess, and I am very good at assessing these things. How did this happen? More importantly, why did this happen? What lies ahead? The why is the easy part to answer: It has been a total lack of focus and leadership.

For example, we all know that George W. Bush lost the focus in Afghanistan (which initially was the right goal) as he changed direction and guided us into Iraq ... Iraq has been a total disaster. Meanwhile back in Afghanistan, the problem was never solved, and now it is getting worse.

Many others would say that those events (Iraq mostly) has caused more terrorists to spring up and spread (Somalia, Yemen, and Pakistan to name three) -- and they would be right.

What did the invasion of Iraq produce, other than dead and destruction and misery for eight years? It looks like more of the same that has now led us to the brink of perpetual war around the globe with the United States deep inside that loop. To me, this is unacceptable. More so is the lack of leadership in Congress.

Nasty campaigns and big spending are a way of life as many claw their way (or buy their way) into Congress, and after they get there what do they do? Roll up their sleeves and work hard as promised, or work hard to stay in office anyway possible. That answer is self-evident.

Now, some Democrats in Congress are leaving the party and joining the GOP.

Long-time senators: Byron Dorgan and Chris Dodd are retiring. Two DEM seats: one in Delaware and one in Illinois will have to be defended. Sen. Byrd from WV is very ill. The question is, can the DEMS hold these DEM seats, or better yet, do they deserve to hold these seats?

Finally, what is pathetically ironic about everything that has happened since November 2008 did not have to happen. Now, the GOP has mastered the PR game (organized and funded the Tea Party rascals, guided and disrupted Town Hall meetings, and now they say they are moving in for the Coup d’gras to finish off the DEMS).

Sadly, the GOP owns all the steamrollers. Just as sadly, they are not popular, either, even with their own base (cite: the special election win in our own 23rd district). Put that aside, the GOP continues to do their nasty deeds as the DEMS stand by and watch. The worst part is watching the DEMS waiting to be steamrolled.

All this has made DEMS like me very angry and upset. Many are silent, or won't speak out like I do, but that is their problem, not mine; I will speak out, and as loudly as possible. Those who are silent show me that they, local or state-wide DEMS, also need to lead, follow, or get out of the way.

The GOP gave us disaster and misery for eight long years and now they are basking in the sun as they fry the DEMS in their own oil.

That is not leading – not one bit.

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