Last Friday, Barack Obama famously infiltrated a gathering of Republicans, cautioned them against inflammatory rhetoric and expressed a desire to work together. It was at the very least an olive branch and an opening. It was perhaps a spot to stop shouting “SOCIALISM” and “KENYAN MUSLIN TERRORIST,” and with a day to think about it before the Sunday talk shows, Republicans would at least express a similar desire, right?
Haha! Of course not, dum dum!
Despite White House overtures for congressional Republicans to work with Democrats, GOP leaders indicated Sunday they were unwilling to accept much of what President Barack Obama and the Democrats are proposing.
“There aren’t that many places where we can come together,” [House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio], told the NBC program “Meet the Press.”
Republicans were elected to stand by their principles, and those principles are different than the “leftist proposals” offered by Obama and congressional Democrats, Boehner said.
To be fair to the GOP, some of the measures they’re being asked to support include:
1. Tax breaks for small businesses
2. Offshore oil and gas drilling
3. A deficit-reduction commission co-sponsored by seven GOP senators
I mean, does it get more socialist and lefty than that!?
Over at 538.com, there’s a good piece on the GOP as the Party of No and how such a strategy is politically beneficial to them. We don’t doubt that at all; it seems to be working great. Still, 46 million Americans are uninsured, 10 percent of Americans are unemployed, and 17 percent of Americans are underemployed, and the only answer Republicans have is the Bush-era solution that worked so well: more tax cuts. They stimulated the economy then, and they’ll certainly do the same now. Tried and true, amirite!?
The problem is that to the GOP, bipartisanship seems to mean an acceptance of their agenda and their ideas. In the health care debate — and sure, let’s call it that — Progressives abandoned any hope of a single-payer option almost immediately. They then gave in and abandoned a public option as well. The final bill — bad or good as it may be — has 160 GOP amendments and, yes, items for individual states and senators to curry support for the overall bill. The result of nearly a year of fighting and bargaining? Not one Republican vote.
We thought it was great that Obama talked about bipartisanship, even if we think the idea of trickle-down economics (the only idea the GOP has) isn’t so great. Surely some members of the GOP caucus will do what men like Ted Kennedy did during the Bush Administration and work on issues where there genuinely is opportunity for common ground. We don’t think Obama’s wrong to continue this effort, but we do think he should be realistic about it: he’s not going to find anyone to work with.
He should keep talking about bipartisanship, though. He should keep pushing ideas that are in the GOP wheelhouse, and he should keep criticizing them for sitting on their hands while he pushes issues they favor — even issues they co-sponsored! He’s dealing with a party of nihilists — a party that would just as soon see unemployment and the economy get worse because it means they can return to power. That’s what this is about: power, not policy. And it’s too bad it took many Democrats almost a year to realize that fact.