John Grubesic: Forsaken by Obama
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I never really believed in President Obama. I voted for him, but I didn’t believe in him. At least not the “HIM” that was sold to us. I was always suspicious.
I have no idea how politics works on a national level. I saw how it works on the state level. If you don’t play the game as the rules are written and kiss the appropriate asses you end up defending toothless meth addicts.
The guy Richardson picked to run against me told me that he was going to spend $250,000 to get my seat. Richardson knew I didn’t have 250k. Heck, by the end of my first session I knew I was done. I did not have enough money, brains or brown paper bags and guys named Guido to help me out.
Obama did not climb out of one of the most corrupt political machines in America because he was a bold visionary. He did it by being cunning, ruthless, self-serving and smarter than the other idiots that surrounded him. Most importantly, he never put himself in a position where he could get caught doing something that would have destroyed him.
My suspicions were confirmed again this week after reviewing his proposed budget. I rechecked the website to make sure I didn’t turn up an old version of a Republican budget. It doesn’t look right. It doesn’t look like a proposal from the man who was going to bring change to Washington all by himself. It doesn’t look like it came from a Democrat, not a Democrat, but THE DEMOCRAT.
It looked like a carefully crafted script, with talking points and sound bites built in. It reminded me of the song and dance Richardson would spoon-fed the press who greedily gobbled it up before regurgitating it to a public that eagerly awaited any Richardson tidbit. Loyal Richardson Democrats would swallow anything, even putting a spin on his (almost ) 2 percent showing in Iowa.
Most of Richardson’s legislative proposals had great sounding titles and the first couple of paragraphs looked good, but beyond that they disintegrated into unworkable goo. Nobody cared back when the money was flowing. If you tossed a rock in Santa Fe you were going to hit a Richardson fan who would do or believe anything to keep their job, their goodies or their kickback.
Obama’s budget is full of evil looking ideas, but the drastic cut to the Low Income Heating Assistance program (while he tries to hide a substantial increase in military spending) seems especially devious, reactionary and gutless. I wonder if this budget was prepared the day after the spanking he got in November. This budget does not confront the tough issues — it waters them down and forces them to flow downhill, to the states, the counties and the cities. It shoves them into Congress’ lap.
It gives Obama too many outs. It allows the President to say, “good luck, I’ll just hide over here in the corner until after November 6, 2012.” The challenge in leadership is not in navigating calm seas, but confronting rogue waves. We are facing the perfect storm.
I expected more. This budget hurts the poor. It hurts all those people who bought into the bullshit and put those stupid stickers on their cars. It hurts all those folks that cling to their Bibles and guns in the old industrial town of the Midwest that lost their jobs long ago, but who believed in the myth and voted for a messiah.
I know what it is like to be handed a bucket of sand and be asked to fix a leaky roof. Richardson used to try and stick the Senate behind the eight ball. We would spend hours in useless caucuses while we negotiated against the Governor and against the House. That is not how separation of powers is supposed to work, but try telling that to the Speaker.
My first session we got the budget at 9:30 in the morning the last day of the session. We shut down at noon. The budget was four inches thick. There was no way to find all the goodies that were hidden in it.
The Federal Budget dwarfs New Mexico’s. What bothered me the most was the lack of leadership exhibited by the President. There was nothing insightful, bold or any evidence of the change that he promised when he hoodwinked all those hardworking, gun-toting, Bible thumpers into believing that he cared about them.
It bothered me because I was part of the same shell game when we bought New Mexicans a train, a Spaceport and threw them a $50 tax cut knowing that the roof was falling in.
One of the dangers of politics is you compromise small pieces of yourself in order to get what you want. If you get everything you want, what is left? Apparently, not much.
John Grubseic is a former New Mexico legislator, who served as state senator from 2004-2008, representing Santa Fe. He now practices criminal law in Albuquerque.
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