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Democrats Also Need a Presidential Primary in 2012

Democrats Also Need a Presidential Primary in 2012

By Froma Harrop - August 2, 2011

Ed Rendell, do you have plans for 2012? Hillary Clinton? If you, the former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, or you, the secretary of state, are free next year and wouldn't mind, would you please launch a primary challenge against President Obama?

This request stems not from anger at Obama's penchant for blithely negotiating away certain Medicare benefits or the need to modestly raise tax revenues -- things that Democrats want, and if the polls are correct, so do most Americans. It was about not negotiating at all while appearing to negotiate on a matter that should be non-negotiable: the full faith and credit of the United States.

In the last half-century, Congress has raised the debt ceiling 49 times under Republican presidents and 29 times under Democrats. The votes were cast without drama because the idea of this country defaulting on its debts was unthinkable. This last-minute deal notwithstanding, the dangerous precedent whereby America's promise to pay what it owes can be brought into political play has been set. Meanwhile, the spectacle of government dysfunction has already hastened our decline as a world power.

Make no mistake: The tea party Republicans have engaged in economic terrorism against the United States -- threatening to blow up the economy if they don't get what they want. And like the al-Qaida bombers, what they want is delusional: the dream of restoring some fantasy caliphate in which no one pays taxes, while the country is magically protected from foreign attack and the elderly get government-paid hip replacements.

Americans are not supposed to negotiate with terrorists, but that's what Obama has been doing. Obama should have grabbed the bully pulpit early on, bellowing that everything can be discussed but America's honor, which requires making good on its debt obligations. Lines about "we're all at fault" and "Republicans should compromise" are beyond pathetic on a subject that should be beyond discussion.

That the Republican leadership couldn't control a small group of ignoramuses in its ranks has brought disgrace on their party. But oddly, Obama's passivity made it hard for responsible Republicans to control their destructive children.

The GOP extremists would ask Obama for his firstborn, and he'd say, "OK." So they think, why not ask for his second-born, to which he responds, "Let's talk."

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fharrop@gmail.com

Copyright 2011, Creators Syndicate Inc.

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