You could respond in kind. You could slash their visitors’ tires. You could leave poisoned steaks laying around outside for their dogs to find. But you decide to be an adult. “Let’s not escalate this,” you say to yourself. “I’m just going to keep asking them nicely, maybe offer to let them borrow my snowblower this winter if they’ll keep the dogs chained up, and they’ll see reason sooner or later. Nobody wins if I start pushing back.”
And that’s where you’re wrong. Your jackass neighbors win, and they’ve been winning the whole time.
While you’ve been picking up dogshit every day so your kids don’t fall in it, while you’ve been inching out of your driveway every weekend because those asshole friends of theirs pull their front bumpers right up to the edge because screw you, you pussy, what the hell are you going to do about it, their lives are an episode of Sesame Street brought to you by the letters V, I, C, T, O, R, and Y. This is what being the bigger man gets you, my friend: a lifetime of picking up other people’s shit, while the other people bounce merrily through their day, fat and happy like the infield at Talladega.
It would appear that finally, after a summer of being
a pansy the bigger man, the president has picked up his last load of dogshit.
Barack Obama came into office promising, as all presidents do, to “reach across the aisle,” to search for “bipartisan consensus.” The expectation was that this guy was so magnetic, so dignified, that the bitter divides that had characterized the United States Congress ever since Newt shut ‘er down would immediately dissolve into a highly productive legislative lovefest. Key parties instead of tea parties.
This was an awesome plan that had a lot of promise; unfortunately, everyone involved failed to take into account the fact that a lot of people – people blessed by God and His son Jesus with an utter lack of both shame and self-consciousness, freeing them up to say some of the most awful stuff you’ve ever heard this side of a Klan rally – really hated this guy. And it didn’t take long for that animus to trickle into the Congress, presenting the president with a choice: do I start cracking heads, Lyndon Baines Johnson style, or do I (*sigh – ed.) be the bigger man? Of course, Barack Obama decided to be the bigger man.
I suspect he actually meant that bipartisan stuff – why he did, I have no earthly idea. Perhaps he was arrogant enough to believe his own press, and thought that the frosty Republicans would melt when exposed to his polished, urbane charms. Or maybe he thought it was the best way to govern. Whatever it was, it reached the point of farce this summer over the debt ceiling fiasco, when, presented with a sweeping, ambitious bargain that achieved that perfect political balance of pissing off both sides, the GOP more or less Mayweather’d President Ortiz. Following which, both sides just decided to mail it in and kick the can an election cycle down the road.
I’m not going to rehash that whole thing, mostly because it’s tough to admit that the country I love has gone so far down the rabbit hole. Also, it kind of makes me hope that virus from Contagion was let loose in the Congressional cafeteria. But after that disaster, I think the president finally figured it out: no matter what I do, these guys aren’t going to stop their dog from shitting all over my lawn. I gave them climate change, I gave them financial reform, I gave them Guantanamo. And what did I get in return? A hostage situation with the U.S. economy. Time to load the shotgun. Time to do what Democrats do best – tax the hell out of rich people.
And so, President Barack Obama, the Compromiser, lays out a plan that gets his pensive mug on the splash page of Bloomberg.com next to the words “$1.5 trillion in taxes.” Strong, man. Strong.
I am not going to use this post to defend or discuss the merits of the plan. I don’t like taxes, but a bureaucracy’s gotta eat, right? No, I’m just here to congratulate the president for finally deciding screw it, time to start swinging the heavy lumber. I’m under no illusions as to why he finally did this of course – it’s election time, and if he didn’t start acting like a Democratic president soon, the only bloc he could count on would be Portuguese water dogs (who can only vote in South Carolina, anyway). But no matter – I was getting tired of this lame dance he was doing where he’d threaten to really start getting tough, and then fold like a card table. It got to be like watching the movie “Air Force One,” when Harrison Ford would go “Get off my plane!,” only with Obama, five minutes later he’s saying “Well, ok, you can stay, but you’re paying for that wine!”
[Digression: The GOP, of course, immediately proved with its response that it’s never had a balls problem, accusing the president of “class warfare.” John Boehner got out there and said “Pitting one group of Americans against another isn’t leadership.” Now, if you’re John Boehner, it takes a real brass set to say something like that when you consider what they’re doing with gay marriage, evolution, and their Alaskan mascot’s attempt to claim the exclusive rights to define what the “real America” is. Pitting groups of Americans against each other is what the GOP does now – they love wedge issues! Love ’em! It’s how you distract the middle class from the fact that their primary legislative objectives are protecting the wealthy investor class at the expense of the middle and lower class! “Hey, socially conservative blue collar mom working two jobs…I may not lift a finger to get you better access to health care for your kids, but if you don’t vote for me, those gay guys that live in the apartment down the hall will be able to marry each other! So make sure you take advantage of that 25 minute lunch break of yours and get down to the polling place double-time!” And looking at changes to the tax code is “class warfare”? All right then! End Digression.]
So President Obama, it’s nice to see you laying it out there. Some of us want a Democrat for President. Some of us want a Republican. But nobody wants a pushover.