Before a new blizzard brought Washington to a standstill, Barack Obama made another effort to dig out of the Republican snow job and verbal high winds that have disabled his efforts to govern.
After a two-hour meeting to clear the path for legislation, the President told White House reporters, “I won’t hesitate to embrace a good idea from my friends in the minority party, but I also won’t hesitate to condemn what I consider to be obstinacy that’s rooted not in substantive disagreements but in political expedience.”
“Expedience” is a polite word for what the GOP has been pursuing for the past year, voting uniformly against every Obama initiative from the stimulus to health care. In effect, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have chosen not to practice traditional politics but act like a government-in-exile, retreating to the sidelines and sniping until they can return to power.
At yesterday’s meeting, the President’s patience worn thin, and he accused Boehner of just wanting to kill all his initiatives, setting off what was reportedly a “testy exchange.”
Even after conceding that the Obama White House has made many mistakes in strategy and tactics over a year of unprecedented challenges, it’s remarkable that GOP opposition has been so total and unyielding.
Where are the yes votes of “moderate” Republicans–Lugar, Voinovich, Snowe, Collins or the “maverick” McCain–on any single issue? Such a solid bloc of “no” precludes any conclusion that philosophical or ideological differences are involved. The GOP is in a full tantrum, holding its breath and refusing to budge until it can get its way next November.