Sunday, March 07, 2010

Some Advice From The Dominican Republic

My weekly trip to Watching America was a fairly brief one because I found just the right article after only a few seconds. I mean, who could pass by this headline: "The Dangerous Rise of American Right-Wing Populism"?

The op-ed column, written by Fernando Álvarez Bogaert for the Dominican Republic's Hoy, doesn't really dwell much on the Tea Party beyond noting that it is a symptom of what ails America. What fascinated me, however, was the advice Mr. Álvarez Bogaert had for President Obama and the 111th Congress after the rocky first year of the current administration.

As a result of the economic downturn, the effects of the crisis and the extravagant aid to the bankers, average American citizens became incensed with a sense of righteous indignation. This provoked a dangerous political vacuum that has already manifested itself with the emergence of the right-wing populist Tea Party movement, named after the Boston Tea Party of 1773 in which Americans threw shipments of tea into Boston Harbor to protest a tax increase by the British Empire. This action marked the beginning of American independence. ...

From June, 2009, to February, 2010, the approval ratings for Democrats versus Republicans fell from +17 percent to +2 percent.

Although there are only eight months left before the congressional elections, this position could be improved for the Democrats, because even though Obama’s approval rating has descended from 63 percent to 49 percent in the last six months, 31 percent of Americans still blame Bush for the crisis, 23 percent blame the bankers, 13 percent Congress and only 8 percent Obama.

In our opinion, what should President Obama do?

Concentrate completely on the economy and the creation of jobs.

Confront the Republicans for being the cause of the crisis and their total obstructionism.

Ask the Senate to modify the rules that govern Congress, specifically the filibuster, which ends up requiring 60 percent of the senators to discuss and pass a law. So far this procedure has only been used in less than 20 percent of bills brought to the floor, usually for the discussion of complex and important laws (example: the Civil Rights Act in 1968). Currently, Republicans are using this virtually all the time, completely paralyzing any Senate action.

Sound familiar? It should, because that's the same advice liberals have been screaming for the past six months. Maybe the White House will listen if the advice is written in Spanish. I certainly hope so, because if President Obama doesn't finally get it, his second year is going to be an even bigger disaster.

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