Obama tried too hard to work with Republicans

WASHINGTON —  Amplified by the right-wing message machine, Republicans paint President Obama as an unyielding left-winger, an unreconstructed liberal who refuses to compromise. The president’s critics have turned the truth inside out: One of Obama’s greatest political weaknesses has been his stubborn — and unrequited — love for bipartisanship.

The president has made some of his biggest mistakes trying to woo a GOP opposition that has committed itself to frustrating him at every turn. If he had ignored recalcitrant Republicans, for example, his health care legislation might have become law without months of damaging political drama.

In an interview last week in his West Wing office, David Axelrod, one of Obama’s closest advisers, acknowledged that the administration had been surprised by the unified Republican resistance to the president’s agenda.

“Well, I think we miscalculated,” Axelrod said. “We had the idea that, particularly in a time of national crisis, there would be more of an inclination to work together.

“One of the bracing moments was when the president was on his way over . . to Capitol Hill to talk to the Republican House caucus about the Recovery Act. They issued a press release while he was on his way over to say that they were going to vote en masse against it. And that was a signal . . of things to come.”

The  American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in February 2009 without a single vote from a Republican in the House and the backing of just three in the Senate, even though nearly a third of it came in the form of tax cuts — usually a GOP tool for fixing anything. Most economists have credited the stimulus package with creating jobs and helping to end the recession, but Republicans continue to denounce it as boondoggle that blew a hole in the federal budget.

“I think the Republicans have been diabolically clever about how they’ve portrayed this,” Axelrod conceded. “They stood on the sidelines and made a decision that ‘we’re going to let him wrestle with this mess that we created. And then in two years we can try and hang him with it.’ “

After the stimulus, Obama and his Democratic allies tried to negotiate with GOP leaders on health insurance reform — a decision that gave critics time to mischaracterize the proposal and gin up opposition. Remember death panels? Government-funded abortions? Rationing?

Still, Obama kept going back with proposals meant to lure a few Republican votes for his agenda. That led to his disastrous announcement, just weeks before the Deepwater Horizon explosion, to expand off-shore drilling.

While Alexrod denied that the announcement amounted to a “quid pro quo,” Obama clearly believed that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and a couple of other GOP senators would, in exchange, support groundbreaking energy legislation that included a price on carbon emissions.

Obama didn’t get what he bargained for. The months-long environmental disaster dominated news coverage, obscured the president’s work on the economy and gave his critics more fodder to claim his administration is incompetent. And, since the accident forced the White House to tiptoe away from its eager embrace of off-shore drilling, it also provided Graham an excuse to back away from energy legislation.

A naïve expectation of bipartisan cooperation hasn’t been Obama’s only mistake. He waited until the last possible moment to try to inspire his base for the mid-term elections. Unlike Ronald Reagan, whose poll ratings were slightly lower than Obama’s just before the 1982 mid-term elections, Obama didn’t take every possible opportunity to pin the economic mess on his predecessor.

Nor did the president tamp down the huge expectations generated by his historic election. That has proved costly, as was clear during the president’s encounter with the “exhausted” Velma Hart, a supporter who questioned him during a recent town hall-style meeting.

“There’s no doubt that part of what we’ve encountered is the mismatch between very, very high expectations and the magnitude of the problems that we’ve been called upon to solve,” Alexrod said.

But the expected Republican gains in the coming mid-term elections may solve one of Obama’s problems: his misplaced faith in logic, persuasion and cooperation in the national interest. Tea-party-fueled anger has produced a wave of GOP candidates for whom the word “compromise” is akin to treason. There can be no miscalculation about their intentions.

1,244 comments Add your comment

Kamchak

October 15th, 2010
10:54 am

…ramrod the bill down our throat…

I have found that those that complain most about having something rammed down their throats, are the same ones that will swallow just about anything.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Booger Presley

October 15th, 2010
10:48 am

Got rid of that extra letter I see….

Richard

October 15th, 2010
10:54 am

Cynthia,
I think the support you give this man is grossly misguided. Mr. Obama has not fulfilled his promises, the reason for this only he knows. The fact that he is president should mean that he stops blaming anybody else and takes responsibility for HIS results. Compromise is taking the best of all ideas and putting them together, coming up with something greater than either group could on it’s own. Compromise has not happened yet because the majority party does not want it, they continue to feel they can have it all, but we are tired of it and both parties should be wary of the elections to come. People want answers, not excuses and this President has failed miserably in his efforts to provide us with them. I think you might find a more favorable audience writing for the San Francisco papers.

StJ

October 15th, 2010
10:54 am

By “tried too hard to work with Republicans”, do you mean the announcements from the Democrats after the 2008 elections that they were going to do x, y, and z and no one was going to stop them?

And as I recall, the Dems had supermajorites in both houses before the Mass. special election. This assertion that they needed Republican support is a lie. Their problem is that their policies were so far left they couldn’t get moderate members of their own party on board without some form of bribery or coercion.

It’s interesting to note that some Democrats who voted FOR all these unpopular policies are trying to run far, far away from those votes now that it’s election time. But the bad karma train is coming around to run them over, and there’s nothing they can do about it.

Is there a Pulitzer Prize for “spin”?

George W

October 15th, 2010
10:54 am

2by4…kind of like Obama had not qualifications to be president…..thanks for proving our point.

mike

October 15th, 2010
10:55 am

CT You are incredibly ignorant. BO, Pelosi, and Reid did not need the Repubs. They are left leaning polticians who will blame others for their failures. You are a left leaning reporter and I am not surprised with your views either. You do not represent the oppressed. If you did, then you would champion independence, self reliance, individual achievement and small government. Your political theories amount to a big giant lie to the public. You are no better than the present administration.

lovelyliz

October 15th, 2010
10:56 am

@ Oops…another hater

Here it goes: The cloture rule–Rule 22

While a simple majority of 50+ is all that is required to pass a bill, because of the cloture rule, all a Senator has to do is merely THREATEN to filibuster, they don’t actually have to sdo ANYTHING, and a super majority (60+) is required to even bring the legislation up for consideration thus allowing the GOP to block everything

George W

October 15th, 2010
10:56 am

Dems…..it is just a matter of time…..tick tock tick tock.

HDB

October 15th, 2010
10:56 am

Good Grief October 15th, 2010
10:44 am
“Turns out tax cuts passed under reconciliation automatically expire after ten years. They had to be passed under reconciliation because there was liberal opposition to them. Bush then proposed, in each budget, that the cuts be made permanent. ”

Note that Bush had the majority in Congress; if he wanted the tax cuts to be permanent, why didn’t he get it passed?? I wish people would assign the blame on the tax INCREASES where it should be — the GOP!!!

Chris October 15th, 2010
10:45 am
“Wait, so now Ronald Reagan was a racist? Why didn’t anyone tell me?”

Many didn’t care to know….check out Ronald Reagan’s support for segregation in Philadelphia, MS in 1980!! Also note Reagan, Jesse Helms’ and John McCain’s opposition to the MLK Holiday! Reagan signed the bill because he faced an OVERRIDE of a Presidential veto in very large numbers!!

Nothing Is Free October 15th, 2010
10:45 am
‘granny

You claim to have courage but support the party of dependents. Sorry but that’s just too funny. If you were really courageous, you wouldn’t want the government to own you.”

Can’t answer for Granny…but the government DOESN’T own me; what the government did was FREE me!! It took governmental intervention to ensure that I had the FREEDOMS that had been denied my parents prior to 1964; the government assured that I had the ACCESS to the vehicles for success: education, employment, financial!! I see where under the guise of security, the GOP wants to LIMIT personal rights; as one who fought for this nation, the suppression of civil liberties is something we ALL should rail against!! The problem is….with me…the suppression of rights is coming from the GOP! The voices I hear against personal freedoms are generated from the GOP!!

Chris

October 15th, 2010
10:56 am

2by4 – you not living here makes this a great state indeed. Gotta love the internet, where you can spread your opinions to those who never asked for them.

JDW

October 15th, 2010
10:56 am

” The only thing that I give him credit for is not spending the money when he got the surplus.”

In contrast to Duhbya that is quite an achievement. See it is the “little” things that have quite the benefit. What sort of shape would we be in today if the Trillions in deficits that Duhbya ran up were instead invested in the economy? Funny that a bunch of laissez-faire Republicans don’t understand the value of getting out of the way.

As to the comment on WebVan and grocery delivery….phuleaze!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are talking about micro-sized companies…no impact whatsoever by one of them on the economy at large.

Obummer

October 15th, 2010
10:56 am

“If he had ignored recalcitrant Republicans, his health care legislation might have become law without months of damaging political drams.” ….instead he ignored the will of the people = big mistake..

George W

October 15th, 2010
10:57 am

Lovelyliz……that is correct.

Lance

October 15th, 2010
10:57 am

Obama’s “bipartisan” tone has always been insincere. This congress has offered more closed bills than any in history. None of the major bills have allowed the minority party to offer a single amendment. To Obama, Reid and Pelosi, bipartisanship means “The Repubicans have the right to agree with me absolutely.” My way or the highway is NOT bipartisanship.

Jack Murphy

October 15th, 2010
10:57 am

CT is an accurate projection of the blind following BHO received from African Americans and will continue to get through the next election. For this demographic group, his lack of competence does not matter; sadly, this shows that he is not the post racial savior. BHO is the protagonist that cynically exploits a hyper racial reality that is damaging to everyone across the American spectrum. Narrow identity politics serve to divide otherwise democratically inclined people and the BHO-AA combine is a prime example of this.

Fictional Reality « The American Catholic

October 15th, 2010
10:57 am

[...] like there is another cocoon in another old dwelling of mine in the city of Atlanta, as evidenced by this bit of insanity from Cynthia Tucker.  Ms. Tucker’s thesis is that President Obama’s political problems stem from trying [...]

Nothing Is Free

October 15th, 2010
10:58 am

2by4

- -The Tea party is a Militia. mthey seem to be wary of educated people.- -

I know two members of the tea party, One is a surgeon and the other is a college professor.

Who do you know that is in the tea party?

- -A perfect example of this is the guy that was in charge of FEMA under Bush he had no experience in disater recovery or emergency planning only horses and when a disater happened he couldn’t handle it. – -

The tea party under Bush?

LOL!!

And people in Georgia don’t understand anything?

We just don’t understand how you can tie the tea party with the militia, uneducated people and GW Bush.

Booger Presley

October 15th, 2010
10:58 am

Keep It Real!

October 15th, 2010
10:51 am

I will give ya that. HS seems to be a bust and limited expansion of The FBI may have done just fine.

PS…combine the DEA and ATF.

George W

October 15th, 2010
10:58 am

JDW…..Let me ask you this….whose money was it?

Chris

October 15th, 2010
10:58 am

HDB – you’re trying WAY too hard to make a connection.

Mike Caldwell

October 15th, 2010
10:59 am

Cynthia Tucker’s rhetoric and just plain untrue disceration is one of the reasons the citizens will reverse the Obama policies for re distribution of wealth.
I wonder how she explains the only 43% approve of Obama’s performance?
Oh, yes, the majority of Americans are not capable of spending their own money. We need the progressive faction to inact the phrase ” Do as I say, not as I do!
November will be the first binding action to re affirm our country as a “Republic”. Then 2012 Obama and his cronies will be gone!!

Oops...another hater

October 15th, 2010
10:59 am

2by4

- -The Tea party is a Militia. mthey seem to be wary of educated people.- -

LOL…nuff said.

Zander46

October 15th, 2010
11:00 am

INSANE!!!! OMG!!!!! This woman is living in a FANTASY WORLD!!!

Simon Jester

October 15th, 2010
11:00 am

Cynthia, you become more delusional everyday. If you really believe this, I have to wonder how you survive. Anyone that out of touch with reality is a danger to themselves.

Nothing Is Free

October 15th, 2010
11:00 am

HDB

What personal freedoms are the Republicans keeping from you?

JDW

October 15th, 2010
11:00 am

“whose money was it”

I assume you are talking about the deficit spending. It is funded by investors buying T Bonds…if they are buying T Bonds they aren’t investing elsewhere which is a large part of today’s problem.

lovelyliz

October 15th, 2010
11:01 am

George W

I am not saying that the Dems need to do a better job, but if you this the Republicans who again have NEVER submitted a balanced federal budget, you are fooling youself.

BTW can you imagine how much worse, GW Bush’s deficit spending would be had he included the wars in the Middle East as part of the budget which the Obama administration is now doing?

Cynthia Is Sexy!!

October 15th, 2010
11:02 am

If Cynthia gets paid by blog comments then today she is kickin Bookmans behind all over the playground…lol.

Walter

October 15th, 2010
11:02 am

Obama tried too hard to work with Republicans. What tripe!

Obama once said that elections have consequences. In three weeks, he’ll find out how popular his legislation has been. No wonder he’s starting to go to church.

Unemployment has been above 9.5% for the past 14 months and is not expected to drop below 9% until the beginning of 2012.

In April, Biden said the economy will soon add 250,000 to 500,000 jobs a month. Well, it’s been almost 6 months, but I guess it’s Bush’s fault.

Before 2009, I’ve never heard the jobs defined as “saved or created”, talk about creative accounting. Three million jobs saved or created by spending almost $900 billion dollars, sounds like money well spent.

Maybe Obama will work better with Republicans after they regain control of the House.

lovelyliz

October 15th, 2010
11:03 am

George W

I am not saying that the Dems don’t need to do a much better job, but if you this the Republicans who again have NEVER submitted a balanced federal budget, you are fooling youself.

BTW can you imagine how much worse, GW Bush’s deficit spending would be had he included the wars in the Middle East as part of the budget which the Obama administration is now doing?

Good Grief

October 15th, 2010
11:03 am

2by4 – you really want to talk about Bush admin officials having no experience at the things they are trying to fix… Obama’s admin is the least experienced admin ever.

Pride

October 15th, 2010
11:03 am

I hate to say it, but this lady is a moron. Talk about not wanting to see the truth………

smokehouse

October 15th, 2010
11:04 am

The writer of this column is racist. Period. Really crazy how some people think. Amazing.

Nothing Is Free

October 15th, 2010
11:04 am

Kaqmchak

- -I have found that those that complain most about having something rammed down their throats, are the same ones that will swallow just about anything.- -

And this is from the guy who voted for Hope and Change.

kevinator

October 15th, 2010
11:05 am

Ms. Tucker, it occurs to me that you would defend Mr. Obama no matter what he did or said or thought, so your words ring hollow. But to say that he tried at all, much less “too hard” to get bipartisanship is so far off the mark it’s laughable. Obama and the Democrat congress have succeeded in passing HUGE legislation because they have control and do not need republican support for anything they are doing. Do you not recall that they had to twist the arm of a certain DEMOCRAT Senator to pass Obamacare?

How can you – or anyone else for that matter – possibly defend trillions and trillions in deficit spending? It’s not sustainable. That’s putting it nicely. It’s IDIOTIC. Do you hear any democrat currently running for re-election proudly stating their support for anything Obama has signed into law? Right. crickets chirping.

Obama and the Democrats have passed tons of huge legislation, and FAILED at restoring our economy. Personally, I believe that was their objective all along: to cause our economy to fail so that they could make us look more “European”, and buy more welfare votes, because if this continues the entire middle class will be on welfare.

ConservaTarian

October 15th, 2010
11:06 am

Intellectual Honesty Request.

Cynthia, has Mr. Obama has done ANYTHING WRONG so far? Stupid question because, after all, how can The Messiah make a mistake?

Wow

October 15th, 2010
11:06 am

You’re an idiot.

Wow

October 15th, 2010
11:07 am

To clarify, I mean…the author of this article is a complete idiot.

Derek

October 15th, 2010
11:08 am

What everyone here fails to understand is that CT knows shes wrong, and by being so generates alot of responses! In other words by responding to her drivel, we keep her employed. The AJC is a liberal rag, with declining subscriptions and ad revenue. Here’s a novel idea, split the paper in two again and let the Journal be the liberal version and the Constitution be the conservative one, the lets see which one would have more subscribers and ad revenue!!! COMMENT ON THAT CT!

granny godzilla

October 15th, 2010
11:08 am

my what a busy little bee…….

ConservaTarian

October 15th, 2010
11:08 am

Suggested campaign slogan for 2012…

CHANGE is not a DIRECTION
and
HOPE is not a STRATEGY

Remember in November.

Paul

October 15th, 2010
11:08 am

Cynthia, you’re living in an alternate universe. Thanks for playing though.

STeve

October 15th, 2010
11:09 am

The reason I don’t subscribe to the AJC. Free speech does not excuse the editor for exercising some intelligence. She is a “blind follower” of the president. Wonder why the approval amongst blacks has not wavered one bit while the rest of the country sees him for what he is? People in a position to influence like Cynthia Tucker should be ashamed of themselves for what they are doing to race relations. Just another race bating loser…..

HDB

October 15th, 2010
11:10 am

Nothing Is Free

October 15th, 2010
11:00 am
HDB

What personal freedoms are the Republicans keeping from you?

1) Right to privacy: Patriot Act grants the government the right to easedrop on conversations without a warrant
2) Right to marry – (even though I’m not gay!): Whose choice should it be whom I decide to marry!
3) Right of presumed innocence: If you are Hispanic – particularly in Arizona — you are presumed to be ILLEGAL. Cops have unfettered access to racially profile
4) Desire to revoke Affirmative Action/Equal Employment/Equal Housing/Equal Lending statutes!
5) Right to a COMPLETE education: Should I be taught only what Christians want taught in schools…or should I be able to receive a comprehensive education…which INCLUDES evolution and creationism so that I can learn!!
6) Right to organize – look at anti-union sentiment! Too many seek to remove job protections in favor of what the corporations deem workable! Note the Massey mines in West Virginia…..

That’s the start……

Maurice

October 15th, 2010
11:10 am

This woman is one of the main reasons my wife and I stopped buying this pathetic excuse for news media. Everything in this newpaper is pure liberal garbage. Anyone that believes that Obama has actually tried to work with Republicans is nothing more than a mindless zombie and a part of the moocher class. Oh, my being a black man that disagrees with this president’s policies, does that make me a racist too?

John Not in Denial

October 15th, 2010
11:10 am

Cynthia, Mr.{President} Obama health care bill was delayed not by the GOP, but by members of his own PARTY who had serious doubts about parts of the entire bil. That and the bad luck of losing Teddy at a curical point in the debate. The president showed his TRUE feelings & COLOR (liberal) when he told Mr. Senator J. McCain in the health summit “elections” have consquences. He will now get an opportunity to see first hand the election consquences from his own policies this November.

Nothing Is Free

October 15th, 2010
11:10 am

granny

- -Enjoy your serfdom to your corporate masters……- -

I own my company, my house, my car and some really nice gear that I could take anywhere and make a good living. How about you? Out of debt? Self employed?

Take a look at your life, woman. Who is a serf?

Catherine

October 15th, 2010
11:10 am

What can I say other than ROFLMAO. Think back to Emperor Obama’s first meeting with Capitol Hill members of the GOP and his statement “I won.” That gives you a clue as to how much truth there is in this fluff piece.

guy

October 15th, 2010
11:10 am

Really,opinions are like rear ends,everyone has one so what does it matter? We’re not going to change our ways anyway!To each his own!

shwanda jackson

October 15th, 2010
11:10 am

cynthina b a genus
her onlys wants what best for us
she and granny looks after us
thank you cynthia

DKST

October 15th, 2010
11:11 am

CT – are you smoking crack? There is no bipartisanship anywhere in Congress and the Presidency. Does not matter what party is in power at this point.

The only reality is the BHO does not understand is that you own everything when you get the title. Bush is forgotten and you are in the chair. You learn these things when you work in industry and not spend your life as a parasite (in government).

Get past your skin color and try to get a clue…. Creating bigger welfare checks may seem like the answer for you but most of us would rather earn our keep and not have government bother us.