Let me start by saying that, come November 2012, I will vote for Barack Obama.
Not because I’m happy with him. And not because I’m not grateful either. I’m in a constant state of dismay about him: the jobs situation, the endless wars , Guantanamo, the late and politically convenient ways he has approached immigration; the fact that he just surrendered on the environment yet again today.
I’m grateful, yes, for the healthcare bill, though I think it should have been better, and could have been better, if he’d had just acted quickly and decisively back in the winter of 2009. I’m happy too for all the advances on LGBT issues, though of course I wish the route -- under his administration -- had been less torturous.
I’ll vote for him because I have little choice: there’s not a Republican contender I can stomach; even the amiable Jon Huntsman doesn’t track when he holds his anti-tax hand up with all the other math-impaired aspirants.
I’ll vote for him for the same reason I voted for Dukakis, Kerry and Bill Clinton: I Iive in fear of what could happen to a Supreme Court that thinks Clarence Thomas has a direct line to the Founding Fathers.
But I’ll admit this much right now: in some ways, I might not be horribly dismayed if Obama loses.
And here’s why: the GOP is four seats away from taking control of the Senate. And with 23 Democrats up for re-election this time around, the chances are very good that they will accomplish their goal.
That means that the weakest president in my lifetime will be operating with both houses of Congress in the hands of the opposition, a shameless and opportunistic opposition that absolutely hates him. (Something he just doesn’t get.)
Every single thing this poor sucker tries to do will be dead on arrival. Which is why Obama probably won’t even try all that hard. He’ll “compromise,” over and over, in that way he does. And he’ll end up at least in part responsible for the certain disaster that the Tea Party-fueled GOP will rev up from 2013 until the 2015 midterms.
A President Rick Perry is a terrifying notion, a Mitt Romney only slightly less so. But in either case, the relationship with Congress won’t be all that smooth either, and whatever disaster they impose on us will be entirely and unambiguously of GOP design.
The tiniest silver lining on that is that at least those of us on the progressive end won't feel so damn muzzled as so often often happens with our current president.
Yeah, I know this is cynical. I know that a GOP controlled federal government -- the ironies! -- could be catastrophic. But what are the options here? What can we do?