Quote of the Day: Republican Obstructionism and Opposition to Obama Due to Bitterness Over Election Loss

As I’ve noted in some other posts here — to use a now trite phrase — it is “deja vu all over again.” Yes, we are now seemingly returning to 2009 when Barack Obama was sworn into office and Republicans soon dug in their heels in a seeming effort to check mate as many of his proposals as possible. And the New York Times attributes it this time to: bitterness over their loss to Obama:

Though it has been 45 days since voters emphatically reaffirmed their faith in Mr. Obama, the time since then has shown the president’s power to be severely constrained by a Republican opposition that is bitter about its losses, unmoved by Mr. Obama’s victory and unwilling to compromise on social policy, economics or foreign affairs.

“The stars are all aligning the wrong way in terms of working together,” said Peter Wehner, a former top White House aide to President George W. Bush. “Right now, the political system is not up to the moment and the challenges that we face.”

House Republicans argue that voters handed their members a mandate as well, granting the party control of the House for another two years and with it the right to stick to their own views, even when they clash strongly with the president’s.

And many Republicans remember well when the tables were turned. After Mr. Bush’s re-election in 2004, Democrats eagerly thwarted his push for privatization of Social Security, hobbling Mr. Bush’s domestic agenda in the first year of his second term.

New polls suggest that Mr. Obama’s popularity has surged to its highest point since he announced the killing of Osama bin Laden. In the latest CBS News survey, the president’s job approval rating was at 57 percent.

But taken together, events suggest that even that improvement in the polls has done little to deliver the president the kind of clear authority to enact his policies that voters seemed to say they wanted during the election.

“Voters schmoters..”
Even some of the president’s closest advisers said they were surprised by the

ferocity of the Republican opposition.

“It’s kind of a stunning thing to watch the way this has unfolded, at least to date,” said David Axelrod, one of Mr. Obama’s longtime advisers. “The question is, how do you break free from these strident voices?”

That’s Obama’s dilemma.

He can try to appeal to the more reasonable members of the GOP who don’t consider compromise a filthy word and consensus oh, so, 20th century. Or he can use his study of past Presidents and decide he can’t get compromise and battle for his proposals to the hilt, use the bully pulpit, go out on the hustings and help along what is occurring seemingly with each week: the continued marginalization of the Republican Party.

Yours truly isn’t the only one who has noted how the party seems determined to limit its tent and offend those considering going into its tent. Here’s just part of what Andrew Sullivan writes:

Between the humiliating and chaotic collapse of Speaker Boehner’s already ludicrously extreme Plan B and Wayne La Pierre’s deranged proposal to put government agents in schools with guns, the Republican slide into total epistemic closure and political marginalization has now become a free-fall. This party, not to mince words, is unfit for government. ……

But the current constitutional and economic vandalism removes any shred of doubt that this party and its lucrative media bubble is in any way conservative. They aren’t. They’re ideological zealots, indifferent to the consequences of their actions, contemptuous of the very to-and-fro essential for the American system to work, gerry-mandering to thwart the popular will, filibustering in a way that all but wrecks the core mechanics of American democracy, and now willing to acquiesce to the biggest tax increase imaginable because they cannot even accept Obama’s compromise from his clear campaign promise to raise rates for those earning over $250,000 to $400,000 a year.

And this is not the exception. It is the rule…

But the current irony is that no one has managed to expose their extremism more clearly than their own Speaker. His career is over. As is the current Republican party. We need a new governing coalition in the House – Democrats and those few sane Republicans willing to put country before ideology. But even that may be impossible.

Which is Obama’s dilemma.

Does he a)accept the way things are b)try to compromise even more c)decide to battle it full throttle using his election and opinion poll clout and make GOPers seemingly bitter over his victory and ready to say “NO!” at every turn defend their consequences in 2013?

The Republican’s actions are deja vu. But the election results strongly suggest that all the words by Fox & Friends, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and conservative new media pundits won’t convince the bulk of Americans that Obama is to blame on this one: his positions are in keeping with opinion polls…and election results.

And, in the end, all of the kings horses and all of the kings men, and Jeb Bush and Maro Rubio and Chris Christie, might not be able to put the GOP together again in the eyes of votes for 2014 — and 2016.

3 Comments

  1. Hi Joe,

    I am old enough to remember when both major parties advanced the common welfare of Americans by actually being willing to compromise. Even if there was a huge snag involved, like the government shutdown during Clinton’s presidency, There was always an out, when both parties mutually agreed to give up their desire to have the whole enchilada.

    Today, the workings of the government have devolved into a repeated game of chicken—aimed solely at the acquisition and wielding of power! So, whatever respect I and many other voters have had in the more principled members of the GOP like, John McCain and the former Barry Goldwater of the 60s, lately we see nothing of any redeemable value in the entire bunch—when, even those who try to accept fair compromise, are immediately censured by their constituents—seemingly just for committing the heresy of using their rational minds!

    Obama’s dilemma involves his desire to advance a progressive agenda as well as what might happen if he persists to advance it, and, we do indeed, go over the fiscal cliff. But by now, it has become apparent that the radical elements of the Republican party are not going to share any power with Democrats, no matter what damage they will do to the government–all of this being even more odious with their constant claims to have the interests of the middle class at heart, and then, not giving a damn about possibly leading us all into another recession!

    Obama is serious when he says that, he “is not trying to rub anyone’s nose in the dirt over this,” but, it does seem that such candor has incensed tea party ideologues even more, by representing, what they may feel is a holier than thou attitude, concerning their own extremes. I can only hope that there are enough sane Republicans left, to prevent another massive financial collapse by giving just a little, rather than trying to exact revenge when the entire nation’s economic health is concerned. And, if they really want to play by any descent set of rules, how about waiting until the next administration that has a clear Republican dominance, to again renew their tax breaks for the wealthy? After all, that is now the only way to shift the balance of power without seriously damaging our country and its financial health. At the same time, Obama must not allow himself to have his authority hi-jacked by people who will only continue the same sad ploys concerning the debt ceiling—filibusters, and senseless delays in judicial appointments, while continuing to pursue the most harmful obstructionism possible. Given this truth,I would rather have Obama stand his ground even if it endangers the entire countries economy. After all, military officers, law enforcement officials, and most of our government’s effective leaders put it best by saying, “WE DON’T NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS!” So, if the President absolutely refuses to give in, you can bet most Americans will not place the blame on him. Not while watching tea party Republicans brazenly exhibit their true colors!

  2. Another closing sentence with the Tea Party in mind, should have been, “bring on the next elections and let’s throw out the bums!

  3. Amen brother!

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