Republican marching orders: Nope, two, three four ’
If there’s one thing Geo Peaman hates, it’s unfair criticism.
He doesn’t hate all criticism, mind you—that wouldn’t be realistic, and besides, it would eliminate 80 percent of his conversations. (“If you don’t have something nice to say about someone,” he’s always telling the kids, “call a radio show.”) But unfair criticism is something else again. Geo Peaman hates unfair criticism—especially when he’s on the receiving end.
Lately he’s been on the receiving end a whole lot, and he doesn’t like it even a little.
“Morning, Pops! Why so grumpy?”
That would be Theo, first-born child and first to the refrigerator every morning. Neo, Cleo and Rio will be wandering in shortly. Brio prefers to sleep late.
“I’m not grumpy,” says Geo Peaman. “I’m ticked off.”
“Really ticked off.”
“If there’s one thing I hate, it’s unfair criticism.”
What’s got Geo Peaman really ticked off this morning is this idea that all he knows how to do is say “No.”
Not just Geo, but all his fellow Republicans, too—that when it comes to Barack Obama, the story goes, all they know how to do is say “No.”
That is just so unfair.
Sure, they had some problems with Obama’s economic-stimulus plan—how big it was, how broad it was, how unbalanced it was, how quickly those Democrats rammed it through Congress, how it won’t work. Anybody with any sense would have had problems with a plan like that!
And they also had some problems with Obama’s financial-bailout plan—how big it was, and how vague it was, how uninspiring that Timothy Geithner guy was when he announced the thing, how it won’t work.
And they also had problems with Obama’s plan to prevent home foreclosures—how big it was, and how it rewards irresponsible behavior, and how it penalizes the people who’ve played by the rules, how it won’t work.
And they also had problems with Obama’s Cabinet appointments, and his speeches, and his interviews, and how he keeps flying all over the country hogging the spotlight, and…
“Legitimate complaints, every last one of them!”
“About you?” asks Theo, who hasn’t been privy to Geo’s ruminations.
“Not about us!” Geo spits. “About them!”
“We’re just telling the truth!”
“They’re the ones who aren’t being fair!”
Theo returns to his cereal, Geo to his grievances. How can they say we’re just saying “No”? Are we supposed to roll over simply because there’s a new president with good poll numbers? Isn’t it our job—not just our job, but our solemn responsibility—to let the country know that Obama’s only making things worse? To keep Obama from making things worse?
Geo’s gaze snaps back to a suddenly crowded kitchen. Theo’s the one Geo talks to when he talks politics, but this morning, he feels the need for more. He looks each of the other kids square in the eye.
“Do I only know how to say ‘No’?”
“How do you mean?” asks Neo.
“Obama,” he explains. “When I talk about Obama, and what he’s doing, do I only say ‘No’?”
“No way!” says Cleo.
“See?” says Geo to Theo, triumphant.
“I mean you don’t just say ‘No,’” says Cleo to Geo. “You also say ‘No way!’”
“And ‘No chance!’” adds Rio. “And ‘Not a prayer!’”
“Got it,” says Geo.
“And ‘Forget about it!’”
“And ‘Too much!’ and ‘Too little!’ and ‘Too soon!’ and ‘Too late!’ and…”
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.