Where’s the bailout for ‘we the people?’

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By Wendy Binnie

Good government isn’t a case of playing follow the leader. At times, it seemed like we belonged to the Pied Piper school of self-preservation: two clashing ideas but often in play over the last eight years. The Democrats made good speeches but the record shows that they were abysmal at raising the standard. Good, solid speeches but no cohunes.

The leadership, also, in the end caved on most issues, giving into the domination of the Republican brand, leaving the country ever open to onslaught after onslaught. The perception that over the last eight years, what we saw in operation was not a democracy but, in truth, was one party rule.

It was totalitarianism. It was fascism writ large and no one would admit it. They did as they wanted with impunity; took over Congress because of its compliancy; took over the ability to make war and make treaties. There was a philosophy of “my way or the highway.” And the Republicans were ruthless in following through; even quasi-disemboweling those who displayed even an iota of conscience or for moderate roots.

Today it is no wonder that there is no Republican marketplace because it had been reinvented without concern for reality. Nevertheless, they still think that ballsy aggressiveness is the card to play. They don’t seem to realize this is a pretty heady tactical maneuver when there is nothing to back it up.

The president’s big fault is to try to win them over when, at best, he can count zero votes for his efforts. What’s to be gained by following one’s convictions in this positive climate is “absolute supremacy,” and that doesn’t happen often for Democrats.

Nonetheless, if the field is sloped in their favor, they should play to that advantage. We know that the Republicans wouldn’t give it to them. After eight years of sucking up and bending over, can the Dems now really kick some butt? Better to be true to those who put Obama into office in the first place and let the Republicans pout.

It is not time to show compassion to the Republican clones who keep mouthing the party’s mantra as they fade into the rubbish heap of history; better to do what is necessary to achieve a democratic agenda. The fallacy of their ways is already showing up because the minority is anxious to throw roadblocks where they can.

Listen to all the moralizing about the public and you will be nauseated. How self-centered they are. What short memories they have. A good leader must know when he holds the advantage. And there will never be a better time than now to reverse everything that was pushed through in eight years of overzealous playing to a minority support.

Well now, Mr. Obama, there are many of us who feel it’s payback time and we can pick up the scent of blood. Keep democracy alive. And just wipe out everything they did over the last eight years. Do something about 40 security agencies that seem to fall over each other and do nothing for the public good. And to paraphrase Macbeth; nothing in Bush’s presidency became him like the leaving of it.

Mr. President, demonstrate you are the man we thought you to be. You will never get a better chance. And don’t waste too many tears on those misfits on the right who will never be happy, even with a full plate and both hands full.

Only when Democrats take over do they find their public conscience. Listen to the moralizing in the past few days over your request for $800 billion to get the economy moving again.

The Republicans have been prancing around talking about taking money away from our grandchildren’s future. Why didn’t they think of that before? Where were they when the first $350 billion was doled out? They seemed to make it up, however, when the unions and the automotive industry asked for a paltry $28 billion loan.

Too bad those mostly absentee regulators weren’t paying more attention to the Bank of America’s merger with Merrill Lynch where the CEO paid out $4 billion in bonuses and decided to redecorate his office to the tune of more than $1 million, then decided to go on vacation immediately the questions started popping up.

When a spokesperson for a leading trade publication was asked about that, he responded that it is the way Wall Street does business. Well, if they want the people’s money then “we the people” should tell them how to do business.

Too bad the Republicans aren’t up in arms about initiating changes before coming down on Obama, whose major sin seems to be wanting to help kick-start the economy after eight long years of abuse. And when it comes to the bailouts, why haven’t they been doing due diligence on the banks who cannot – or will not – report on where the prior $350 billion rushed into their hands by the now ex-treasury secretary, suggesting that it was essential we pay them off to ward off a breakdown of the system, or before it slipped down the bottomless pit of payoffs, bonuses, and other examples of financial sleight of hand.

Well, the system didn’t break down; only the truth suffered along with banking’s purported commitment to getting loans flowing again. No way, Jose. The bank mantra is to bury those loans so deep that nobody will discover what happened to that money or to dish it out real fast to all those who didn’t get a bonus for failing at their jobs.

What is troubling is that no one has been made to pay a price for misappropriation of funds by the banking industry in example after example of decent hard-working Americans losing their jobs and their homes. Although a new broom may sweep clean, there’s a lot of garbage swept under the rug that needs to be aired in daylight before we can avoid walking uphill on the Oval Office carpet.

It is time to play hardball if this government hopes to restore a modicum of confidence in America being capable of living up to its commitments. It’s all coming to a head. There is an answer, not an easy one, and that is that Congress needs to set to work to protect the worker with legislation designed to oversee all segments of business and industry.

But it is only the beginning of a scenario that it will take years to address. In the meantime, we wish the president well and we’ll tighten in our belts for the long haul.

… As I was saying …

Wendy England Binnie, a novelist and op/ed columnist, lives in Oak Trace Villas. How about those Steelers?