I understand that newspapers need to seem apolitical, but really?
Washington is as poisonous — and, to use Obama’s words, petty and immature — as ever. Obama has not turned the United States into 50 purple states, where compromise is desired and citizens agree there are two sides to each coin. It is indisputable, longtime observers says, that the red states are redder, and the blue states are bluer.Obama may not be principally to blame for this baleful trend. But he is also not a bystander. In the story of why Washington is more broken than Obama found it, analysts said that while Republicans bear considerable responsibility, so, in his own way, does the president. His leadership style has inspired millions of supporters but also has angered countless conservatives, who have coalesced into a fiercely uncompromising opposition. It is all a long way from the vision presented by Obama when he entered the national spotlight.
A week after his inauguration, Obama was planning to head up to Capitol Hill, where Democrats held both the House and the Senate, to meet with House Republicans about his first major bill: the federal stimulus, which would inject $787 billion into the economy in an effort to soften the recession.
Just before Obama’s motorcade left, he was handed a report: Boehner would oppose the stimulus plan that Obama was about to discuss with them.
The US was at the height of its worst recession since the Great Depression and Boehner rejects it out of hand–how do you negotiate with that (and since this was one week into his Presidency and he was on his way to meet Republicans, the whole “he didn’t meet with Republicans enough” idiocy later certainly had nothing to do with this). And then there’s:
Obama’s relationship with the Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell is worse. In December 2010, during a White House ceremony where he thanked Republicans and Democrats for helping pass a childhood nutrition bill, Obama referred to McConnell as “Mike.” McConnell, for his part, said his top goal was ensuring the president didn’t win a second term.
Several Republicans, from as early as January 2009, said the same thing as McConnell–their top goal was to make Obama a one term President. Their top goal, in a huge recession, wasn’t jobs or, after they had just crashed the world economy, regulate the financial industry, it was to work against Obama. Again, how do you deal with that?
The point is that Obama has bent over backwards to try to work with Republicans. In fact, he seemed to care more about them than liberals as I note here.
This, I find especially funny:
Gingrich, for example, said he had “a fair number” of private meetings with President Clinton, even though they clashed bitterly at times.
“If Obama had bipartisan breakfasts every week, you couldn’t have the current split,” Gingrich said. “You’d celebrate birthdays, you’d know about children. You’d have a relationship fundamentally different than the one it is today.”
Yes, we would have the collegiality of Newt’s time when the government was shut down twice (once for 21 days) and they impeached Clinton.
Here’s the way this should really be presented:
President Obama was easily elected on a platform centered on national healthcare, near the beginning of the worst recession in 70 years brought on be reckless and illegal actions. Still, Republicans were not willing to negotiate with him at all on national healthcare, regulating the banks, or helping end the recession (to be fair, Republicans believed that austerity would help, they were wrong).