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Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
Barry Blows It–Glorious Wonderful Shut Down Day 4
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By Rob Meltzer
Oct. 4, 2013 11:15 a.m.



On my very first day as a graduate student in history, our professor started his comments by noting the amazing fact that historians always have the last word, which is why being a historian is an awesome and daunting responsibility and which is why we leave the writing of history to professionals. I’d add to that statement the observation that books written by historians while events are transpiring, without the long view, are rarely credible. But I’d add a caveat that most presidential historians are pretty good at looking at American trends and predicting what the long view will be. When a two term president hits the five year mark, its pretty clear that unless the president is going to undergo a major personality shift, not much is going to change. The biographies of Obama at year five are not flattering, and they tend to reflect a president whose youth and inexperience and ego is not consistent with a country based on compromise and consideration.

I spoke to a historian several years ago who pointed out that in American history we teach about the great compromises in our history, but most of the wars get ignored. While many view Lincoln as a great president, the American Civil War reflects a failure of compromise. While, arguably, Lincoln never had the opportunity to compromise, his resort to war was swift and unprecedented. Equally, historians are noting that Obama’s refusal to negotiate is equally unprecedented. If you listen to the foreign news service, Obamacare is a health plan, not a life and death in the trenches issue. So, it should meet a national consensus. On this blog, many have noted that Obamacare is not slavery. In fact, there is truth to that position. Equally, if issues of human bondage are compelling enough to cause the death of 700,000 people and a Civil War, a health care plan does not meet those same requirements. But, yes, there are plenty of people in this country who feel that all encompassing federal action, matched by a president who refuses to compromise, is a substantive threat to our social contract.

Then there was that cryptic meeting between Obama and Congressional leadership, in which Obama refused to negotiate and he made that point clear. What was up with that meeting? One of the rumors circulating inside the Beltway yesterday is that a leadership coup was in the offing, and might still be—that House Republicans were conspiring with Senate Democrats to overthrow all of their leaders, pass a clean CR and all Obama had to do was agree to some changes in Obamacare, and that this plan may have started with Senate Democrats, and what killed it was Obama’s refusal to entertain any changes in Obamacare. In short, for all the divisions within the Republican Party, there are growing splits within the Democrats too, including amongst Senate Democrats who are equally baffled by Obama’s Napoleonic refusal to see any flaws in Obamcare or any reason to care about concerns of the American people to that program.

Meanwhile, Day 4 of 700,000 federal employees on furlough and its a wonderful thing. History may view this as the beginning of a new norm in streamlined government. we can only hope.

 

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