Watching the wingnut apoplexy unfold today after the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, it began to occur to me that with increasing frequency, President Obama deftly plays Road Runner to the Republicans’ Wile E. Coyote. And just like in the cartoons, everyone knows the ending long before the boulder lands or the dynamite explodes. Maybe he is playing eleventy-dimensional chess, and winning, in ways I’d not previously contemplated.
As a proud Firebagger, I’m somewhat hesitant to admit this. The shabby and compromised health care bill was just one of many seemingly naive attempts at compromise with Republicans that ended poorly for not just liberals, but all Americans, that left me wondering what, exactly, we “won” in 2008. But aside from leaving us all to the tender mercies of larcenous and immoral insurance companies, it did accomplish a few important things, most admittedly unrelated to health care.
First, it emboldened a lot of cuckoo rich people to open their wallets, just like Wile E., to order new stuff from ACME: Sharron Angle, Scott Walker, Rick Scott, Christine O’Donnell, Rand Paul and on and on. Some won, some lost, but none performed as advertised, and most continue to busily trample the Republican brand, both at home and nationally.
Second, it pretty much ruined any chance that Romney would be able to say anything credible about either health care or his tenure as Massachusetts Governor. Third, it caused a Republican primary debate audience to loudly cheer for the death of the uninsured, which is unlikely to appeal to Independents, to put it mildly. Last, but hardly least, the bill was so deviously pro-corporate that even Chief Justice (!) John Roberts felt compelled to glumly wave it through, over the enraged howling of teabaggers from sea to shining sea.
Similarly, Obama’s hawkish foreign policy, though immoral and ineffective, did force Republicans further down the rabbit hole; each day they come up with a new country that needs bombing, and every military budget they propose is more ruinously gigantic than the last. Great for Fox-addled knuckle-draggers; anathema to a war-weary public constantly told it must sacrifice, again.
Immigration essentially played out the same way: Obama beefs up enforcement and deportation, and Republicans start talking about moats (with or without alligators), electrified fences, and Predator drones. The end result: a 40+% advantage for Obama with Hispanic voters and Romney’s usual lies and evasions pouring forth at such velocity that even the Liberal Media has to put on hip waders.
On taxes and spending, Obama turns out to be somewhat to the right of Ronald Reagan, which infuriates liberals, but leaves Republicans spluttering about “socialism” while denouncing teachers, firefighters, and policeman as grabby parasites. And just to show how commie that dirty darky is, despite all evidence to the contrary, they then proudly espouse higher taxes on the poor, along with even more lavish handouts to the rich. That’s going to go over big in the trailer parks, I’ll bet.
On those rare occasions when he does something of which liberals approve, he waits so long that his very reticence brings out such alarming blasts of preemptive crazy that though it doesn’t make him look principled, it at least makes him look sane. The belated end of DADT led another Republican debate audience to raucously boo a gay veteran, his halting endorsement of gay marriage made the right wax Talibanic, and his overcautious inclusion of birth control in health care reform all but ushered in a new Inquisition on the womenfolk. Those unfortunate Americans who don’t happen to be heterosexual males nonetheless got the message loud and clear.
What Obama seems to have realized is that he really doesn’t have to do anything, but just flash that thousand-watt smile and let his opponents make colossal asses of themselves, with hilariously growing fervor, while he surfs to reelection (and perhaps even a Democratic majority) on a tsunami of really unappealing cuckoo.
It would have been nice, of course, if the United States weren’t such a corrupt, parafascist oligarchy that an ostensibly liberal President could actually behave like a liberal in office and win a second term in so doing, but it would be nice if we all got ponies, too. The next best thing, I guess, is a not-so-liberal President who is uncannily adept at handing out exploding cigars to his opponents.