Thursday, November 4, 2010


Mario Cuomo's dictum "We campaign in poetry, and we govern in prose" was never more in evidence than the past 2 years. Through the campaign leading to the 2008 election, we listened to the soaring rhetoric and were convinced that these words had meaning . For us, and for our beleaguered President, we now have learned the hard lessons of confusing that fantasy with the reality that awaited.

He believed he had a mandate. He believed the power given could translate policy into practice. He believed he had the wherewithal to pass health care reform, that had been waiting a century for the right time and the right man, and still have enough left in the tank to beat back the recession. He believed he would be able to undo the damage that President Bush had done abroad. He believed in energy conservation. He believed in rational immigration policies. He believed in human rights. He believed and we believed with him.

To pass health care reform, he spent too much time and too much effort, and had too little to show. He had no political strength left to deal effectively with energy matters. He could not stimulate us to provide the necessary monies to revitalize our economy. He was handed such a monumental mess abroad that he could make little headway. Immigration concerns and human rights became mere fodder for Tea Party conversations.

It was not for lack of will that this had come to pass. It was not for lack of passion that this had come to pass. It was not for lack of effort that this had come to pass. It was for lack of understanding that on that January morning in 2009, everything he said to that point was no more.

Mr. Kristof would ask Mr. Obama for an occasional verse of poetry ("Mr. Obama, It's Time for Some Poetry"). With John Boehner and Eric Cantor, with Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, with the wolves howling at the door, there is no more time for great and wonderful dreams. There is no more time to believe that the power of the President's words and his visions will convince those who oppose him to step aside.

"Yes, we can", is no more. From today on, we must have a new motto. One carved out of sweat and tears, not hope and fantasy. We must be grown up now, and ready to face our foes head on. Yes, those who stand in the way are our "enemies" not "opponents". That has been made abundantly clear from the first day of this presidency . For Mr. Obama, and for those who continue to believe in him, we should now, finally, be ready to put the poetry aside.


Nancy Leeds said...

You may be right. Better increase my Lexapro. Want some?

Anonymous said...

But, the Republican/conservative/tea party has been organized, and everyone toes the party line. Right from the beginning of Obama's presidency, they have been 100% against anything Obama wanted. Public be damned !! Obama should have been getting out his message, using weekly press meetings, fireside chats, use his bully pulpit. He has shown weakness, and the have tasted blood. The Dems inherited a mess, and he should be telling this over and over. Politeness means nothing to the GOP group. Healthcare? without the public option it is nothing new. Green technology to create millions of jobs? Where has he been? Where has the party been pushing this [except in Calif]?
The war eating up all our money? Soldiers and civilians dieing. Where has been the outrage? It wasn't even in the discussion this election. Where has been the Democratic machine been these last 24 months? And where have they and the President hiding ??