Now I know what you’re thinking. Since I’m a liberal blogger, I must be still living at home in my parent’s basement, wearing pajamas to “work” and dreaming of the next Comic-Con. Or maybe my father is pissed because I broke curfew, or wrecked the car, or worshiped the “Aqua Buddha.”
No, my father is pissed because, as a lifelong Democrat, he is tired of being taken for granted and pissed on by the brain-dead, Inside-the-Beltway Democratic Establishment. And he was really torqued off by Robert Glibbs recent comments about the “professional left.” And trust me, I’ve seen my father pissed off plenty of times (mostly during my teenage years, but that’s another post).
I know the Democratic establishment thinks of me as a drooling, pajama-clad, drug-addled hippie miscreant who never showers. I know that Robert Glibbs has a problem with the “professional left” and their hatred for the Pentagon and their love for drugs, but when you lose my father, you’ve really screwed the pooch.
This is a man who idolizes Harry S. Truman. I don’t think a book about Truman has been published that my father has not read. This is a man who loves the ideals of the Democratic Party (equality of economic opportunity, equality under the law, fighting for the middle and working class) and loathes Republicans so much that (to my knowledge) he has never once voted for one.
Although there was the time during the 2000 election when he confessed to me that he admired John McCain for his independent thinking. I couldn’t speak to him for two weeks: it was like finding out your father had a secret second family halfway across the country.
We patched things up when he voted for Gore.
And my mother? She’s on a first-name basis with her local Congressman, Martin Heinrich. It’s incredible really. My mother has become quite the activist, regularly lobbying the Congressman as a private citizen on issues she feels are important to her, her family, and the greater good. But I guess that would qualify her as part of the “professional left,” so who really cares? Right, Glibbsy?
But what’s the big deal about my father? As Glibbs so eloquently put it, “I don’t think [liberal voters won’t show up].”
But the silver-tongued Southerner is dead wrong.
My father, like millions of other Americans, is scared. He’s scared of the rhetoric oozing from the Beltway that the Villagers want to take torches and pitchforks to Social Security. Not so much because he fears he will suddenly lose his benefits but because he fears for what will happen to my generation and my (future) kids’ generation.
He’s scared that we’re trading one quagmire for another, pulling out of Iraq only to divert precious lives and treasure back into Afghanistan – a war that more and more people are calling “unwinnable.” But we’re not talking about someone who wants to “eliminate the Pentagon.” We’re talking about a decorated war veteran who fought proudly for his country in Vietnam and who knows first-hand the personal cost of having to serve halfway across the world in a war with no clear objective and no clear exit strategy.
He’s scared that the health care reform act doesn’t go far enough. Not for himself: he’s on Medicare, but for people like his son and daughter-in-law who are forced to buy health insurance as individuals and are still subjected to draconian pre-existing conditions rules and spiraling premiums. At least until 2014 (and what a brilliant political move that was).
This is also a man who takes his civic duty to vote so seriously that he once risked being disciplined for insubordination when he argued with his Commanding Officer that it was his right by law to go vote. His offense – the temerity to ask for time off from his duties to vote in the 1968 presidential election. Yup, he voted for Humphrey.
And despite all that, he is openly and angrily talking about not voting this November. An email from Organizing For America particularly incensed him after Glibbs’ insensitive remarks – one in which it asked him to make a promise to vote. My father told me last night that he emailed a promise back – that he would be getting drug-tested on election day, since the administration clearly had little regard for his self-control and obvious sobriety.
Now my father didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. He’s not one to rail against the slow progress of change or the compromises made when passing legislation in the sausage factory that is the U.S. Congress, but he’s also upset that this administration made promises that they simply have discarded along the way like so much roadside trash. He’s upset that he and my mom gave hundreds of dollars to candidate Obama (off a fixed income) and both worked to see him elected, only to have the administration disparage them and take them for granted.
This is not the change my parents believed in. And they aren’t part of the “professional left.” They are the long-time, bedrock base Democratic voters that continue to vote to put Democrats back in office, election after election. And they’re thinking of not even voting.
Talk about an enthusiasm gap.
News flash to the Obama administration: way to take a gun and shoot yourself in the foot. But this is nothing new really. There’s a history of hating the left in this administration. Rahm hates the DFHers, and an unnamed administration source took great delight in tweaking another important Democratic constituency when it said unions “flushed $10 million down the toilet” to defeat Blanche Lincoln in the primary. Of course, when she loses by 20 percent of the vote this fall, we’ll see how many millions the brain-dead Democratic Establishment wasted.
But here’s another piece of advice for this administration: it’s called the “bully pulpit” for a reason. Strong presidents use it to pass the legislation they want. They reach across the aisle when necessary but only when it suits their purpose. And they don’t negotiate against themselves to support some fantasy of Kumbaya post-partisanship.
Simply put, who gives a shit how many Republican votes you can attract when the legislation (that you are ultimately going to have to answer for) gets watered down to next to nothing? My father will be quick to tell you that Truman had a sign on his desk that read “The Buck Stops Here.”
So what’s the sign on Robert Glibbs’ desk say? I don’t know, but at this point, it should read “Head Bedwetter In Charge of Whiny Tirades.” But I guess being Press Secretary means never having to say you’re sorry.
Forget, Cronkite. This administration has just lost my father.