It is perhaps ironic that this evening as Congress battled over yet another budget crisis people could be reminded of the old Bob Dylan song "The Times They are A-Changin". In 1964 the song came out with a verse that states "Come senators, Congressmen /Please heed the call/Don't stand at the doorway/ Don't block up the hall" (Song). It's been fifty years now since that song opened up and tonight we found senators and congress once again being asked to "heed the call" and "don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall," which would have essentially shut down the federal government. Unlike previous battles though, this one found President Obama firmly supported by....wait for it....Republicans. Democrats were hesitant to jump on with the spending bill and in fact the battle went late into the night before the outcome could be decided. (decision)
The question has to come up: Why were so many congress members standing in the doorway and trying to block this bill tonight? After all, Democrats have stood by Obama now for six years. Further, for six years Obama has stood firmly against Republicans. So why the sudden shift in alliances? It's really simple as you'll see.
First and foremost, many of those Democrats feel betrayed. Their anointed President, the hopeful replacement of the Democrat strong-man Bill Clinton, did not live up to the expectations. Democrats followed him blindly even when Americans overwhelmingly said, "Don't do it!" Perhaps they were hoping that in the end Obama would be proven right and the nation would have a six-month memory loss concerning their representatives and the betrayal to listen to the people back home by the Democrats. The people did not forget. In fact, many of those Democrats will be on their way out this January. Their Democrat President will continue for another two years, retire from office to the fanfare of his supporters, raise money, build a library somewhere-likely Chicago even though I'm sure Hawaii wants it too- and settle into post-presidential life where he jokes with other ex-presidents, does good deeds, has a major charity and gets interviewed whenever a current crisis needs an ex-president's input - don't worry, they all do it with each other. Basically, Obama has two years in the final stretch and then it's out to graze and enjoy life. The Democrats who were beat though, will return home, or move to a new area, fade back into private life, maybe teach at a college or some major university, run a blog, and if they are lucky then a major network will high them to "comment" on current events. Regardless of what happens though, they are out of the spotlight while their leader continues down the path of stardom.
The second reason for the sudden shift is Obama himself. Obama may be a lot of things, but he is no dummy. He knows that to get anything done in the next two years, he has to work with a Republican dominated Congress. He spent six years talking about how the "Republicans" made a mess of everything and how bad Republicans are in general. Now he has to spend two years with them and being the intelligent man he is, he is drawing his enemy near. He now wants to be friends with the new Republicans, the old Republicans, and in the eyes of the people he has two years to show that he likes Republicans and that the people voted right in November 2014. Don't hate Obama for all this. He's just doing what any good politician would do...he's surviving. Look for him to be friends with Republicans, talk with them, work with them, and if we are lucky we'll even get things we want pushed through and signed by Obama during the next two years.
If all this worries you in anyway, well don't let it. When Bob Dylan first sang about the times changing and included senators and congressmen in his lyrics he knew that some things would never change. Fifty years later Congress is looking out for themselves still, blocking what they don't want, and often standing in the way of progress, but so is the President. Perhaps, if we are lucky, then come January when so many new Republicans walk into office, they will remember the reasons we sent them there. If they don't, then we always have the next election and if anything has been proven in fifty years, the people can make those time change at the ballot box.