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

Malcolm X

October 15th, 2010
11:11 am

2by4……….PREACH IT!!! Screw this state! Let the hillbillies have it! Ja ever notice that the most diverse cities in the country are the most successful? Racism will destroy any community……….what’s left is a bunch of illiterate, right-wingers who will end up discriminating against each other according to class. The South is cursed! Ms. Tucker, please ignore the insults, you are just calling a spade a spade, and since the hillbillies HATE Obama – they are forever closed-minded. Georgia and its racist populace are on a path to NOWHERE!!!! Even the dirt is infested with the racist bacteria of their dead ancestors!

Connie

October 15th, 2010
11:11 am

Even if that was true, which it is not.
It is not about Republicans, it is about the American People and he is not hearing what we are saying. We the American People do NOT want the Progressive Socialism agenda for America!
And STOP spending money we do not have.

STeve

October 15th, 2010
11:11 am

Enter your comments here

Ed

October 15th, 2010
11:12 am

What are you smoking. Must be some good stuff.

HDB

October 15th, 2010
11:12 am

Chris

October 15th, 2010
10:58 am
HDB – you’re trying WAY too hard to make a connection.

Not hard….quite simple — if you LIVED through the experience!!

Bob johnson

October 15th, 2010
11:13 am

Cynthia,

You’re a complete fool–the perfect Obama voter. Just another lemming who can’t put two thoughts together. Does the White House send you these propaganda pieces already written or do you come up with them yourself? Like Obama, you are an absolute joke–not to be taken seriously.

pennski

October 15th, 2010
11:13 am

Boortz is beating up on your idiotic article right now Cynthia.

John

October 15th, 2010
11:13 am

Enough blaming the Bush era republicans!!!!!! I supported Bush, but I can admit that he definitely made some mistakes. But for the last two years, all I have heard is the left blaming Bush. Its over, and it’s time to move forward. For 8 years the left berated Bush at every turn, but now the GOP is being chastised for pointing out that all this spending isn’t working. Dems, your president isn’t perfect. And most economists do not agree that the stimulus is working, we are still losing Jobs. Less Bad isn’t good. Cut the crap washington (and I’m talking to both partys) we are scared right now. Scared that we are losing our identity as Americans, scared that our government won’t listen, scared that we are going to become some European welfare state where everyone is dependent on the government. This is the Land of the Free and the American people are trying to tell this administration we want to keep it that way.

granny godzilla

October 15th, 2010
11:14 am

NIF

You are a serf. You dance to your masters bidding.

For scraps, literally scraps, of what they keep for themselves, and think yourself a man of means.

They toss you a bone, and you wag your tail and are obedient.

Yep, you’re a serf.

Cynthia Is Sexy!!

October 15th, 2010
11:15 am

HDB…regarding your list…I could agree with #1. The remainder seems a bit of a stretch.

IHateShills

October 15th, 2010
11:15 am

Tucker, you are a pathetic shill for a disgraceful embarassment for a president. Keep on with your “pro-obama” message and you’ll find out that less and less people will actually agree with you.

This is sick propoganda.

Mary

October 15th, 2010
11:15 am

This woman would not have a job if not for her color.
She is a shill for the liberal communist regime that is Obama.
Does anyone listen to her crap?

Unreal

October 15th, 2010
11:15 am

The village idiot has spoken and her name is Cynthia McKinney. What a waste of space.

Oops...another hater

October 15th, 2010
11:16 am

“2by4……….PREACH IT!!! Screw this state! Let the hillbillies have it! Ja ever notice that the most diverse cities in the country are the most successful? Racism will destroy any community……….what’s left is a bunch of illiterate, right-wingers who will end up discriminating against each other according to class.”

LOL…Show yourselves!!

Christina

October 15th, 2010
11:16 am

That headline and the first paragraph made me laugh out loud! Thanks for the belly laugh, Cynthia!

George W

October 15th, 2010
11:16 am

Lovely liz…..$1,000,000,000,000 is a big number isn’t it?

Fred

October 15th, 2010
11:17 am

HA HA HA! Sure, sure, THAT’S the problem. Obama just tried to hard, and golly gee, everybody just sure is mean to him. Remember when the Republicans kept saying, “Hey, we submitted a draft of Health Care Reform that we think might work” and he freaking ignored it? I voted for Obama, I had high hopes for the guy, he talked a great game, but in the end, that’s all it was, talk. The guy is systematically working to set us against each other divide us.

Kamchak

October 15th, 2010
11:17 am

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

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I have said repeatedly, here and next door at JB’s, that I supported Juan McSame in the previous election cycle.

If you ever wish to graduate from the kids table, you;ll have to learn to keep up.

Billy Joe Bob

October 15th, 2010
11:17 am

Pat Cadell (a democrat) sums it up nicely……….”These are naive idiots who have come out of academia and have never done anything real in their lives and they are actually in power.” “These are the people we would never let in the room if there was any serious business to do and now they’re running the country. The U.S. can survive a barack obama but the question is can it survive the multitude of FOOLS who elected him????

Chris

October 15th, 2010
11:17 am

HDB –
1) – I’d like to see that scaled back, but my privacy has not been violated.
2) – completely agree
3) – The federal government claims rule over immigration. So they should be doing their job. If the Feds said today that they would enforce the rules they have down, I guarantee you the legislation would be dropped.
4) – I say let people earn on their merits. What is wrong with this?
5) – I went to school in Cobb (very conservative at the time) and I did not learn creationism.
6) – See #4. You shouldn’t be protected from being fired due to the organization you are a part of. Earn your pay.

You’re taking bits and pieces of the more extreme right wind and painting it on to everyone who disagrees with you. I don’t like it from Dems, and I don’t like it from Repubs. The people who are doing the painting need to be removed just as much as the brush itself.

Simon Jester

October 15th, 2010
11:17 am

The Bush administration drove the economy into the ditch. Obama’s has taken it off the cliff. They only thing now is to see when we hit bottom. They know exactly what they are doing.

2by4

October 15th, 2010
11:17 am

@guy why are you telling on yourself.

brownro214

October 15th, 2010
11:18 am

Try this “Bush’s fault” 45 million results.

George W

October 15th, 2010
11:18 am

Oops….another hater…. have you ever noticed that the most diverse cities in the country have the highest crime rates, highest paid totals towards food stamps and government houses and over run prisons? hmmmm….let rethink your statement.

pat smith

October 15th, 2010
11:18 am

HA HA HA – Starting with the headline, it is just laughable. Remember, he said at the conference he had with Republicans …. “We won…”
Democratic majority in House, Senate and White House to push forward his agenda to “fundamentally transform America.” He has, even though the people said we don’t want this, he has achieved his goal to begin his process to change America. What happens next, I don’t know.

bethtopaz

October 15th, 2010
11:18 am

This is a joke, right?

RIGHTISWRONG

October 15th, 2010
11:19 am

I see we have all of the Rednecks with nothing to do today except drink the Faux Newz Kool-Aid!

Racist bunch of idiots.

CT is correct, the facts indicate that Obama has tried on multiple occassions to work with the GOP, they simply hated him from the beginning. So why try to work with folk that don’t have any answers except to cut taxes, deregulate, only have healthcare for those who make good money, want to close down or take money from the public school systems, don’t want affirmative action, don’t want a woman to be able to abort a child even when they are raped or impregnated by family member, want to push their religon on ALL folks in the US (and I am a Christian too), don’t mind letting their leaders funnel money to their buddies via no-bid contracts, and a whole lot of other positions that are hypocritical and ignorant.

You idiots should be thanking him. You should be calling the White House saying, ” Thanks for having the guts to spend the money to save this economy from certain disaster that our Dummy for a President, Dubya Bush, CREATED.” The FACTS are Dubya came into office with a SURPLUS and left office with our country being hated across the world, lying to us about WMD’s, Cheney and Dubya’s buddies making Trillions off of the war, and of course a huge DEFICIT.

Those are the facts you Boneheads. Wow, your memories are as bad as your non-policies. You GOPer’s make me sick to my stomach.

Total bunch of PWT losers……. I hope you live OTP……

BeeJay

October 15th, 2010
11:19 am

“Obama tried too hard to work with Republicans”? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha had

Tucker is indeed living in a fantasy world she desperately wishes were true, in fact no doubt thinks it is. Pathetic.

Kamchak

October 15th, 2010
11:19 am

Boortz is…

There’s your sign.

Houston Rao

October 15th, 2010
11:20 am

No. 43 – George Bush
No. 44 – Blame Bush

xavier fremboe

October 15th, 2010
11:20 am

Umm. Yeah. Kind of like you would be “working with me” if I said. “I think we can both agree that you are an idiot, Ms. Tucker.” Anything less than your full and complicit agreement with the statement would be seen as being uncooperative.

Although, in this case, the statement is true…

Aubrey

October 15th, 2010
11:20 am

Ms Tucker is as delusional as the naive, ignorant and illiterate that voted for Barry S.E.I.U. ACORN Soetoro. What an embarrassment.

Nothing Is Free

October 15th, 2010
11:20 am

HDB

- -1) Right to privacy: Patriot Act grants the government the right to easedrop on conversations without a warrant- -

No. The patriot act only gives the government the right to use the information they gather against you in court. They could have tapped your phone lines any time since the 1940s.

- -2) Right to marry – (even though I’m not gay!): Whose choice should it be whom I decide to marry!- -

So that’s not you.

- -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- -

Are you hispanic, living in Arizona? I disagree that is not what the law says, but again, not you.

- -4) Desire to revoke Affirmative Action/Equal Employment/Equal Housing/Equal Lending statutes!- -

Is the only way you can make a living is if the government sees you as a lesser person and has to have the help to get a job? That is the government that you support? The only person denying you the right to get a job is you. You can sue the crap out of anyone that denies you employment because of race.

Again, not you.

- -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!!- -

Where are Christians keeping evolution out of the schools?

Again. not you.

- -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….- -

You have every right to organize. The only thing the republicans want is private ballots. Why would you NOT want that.

You sing the democrat’s song. Me, me, me. but you are fine. You work at a job which I hope you earned and wasn’t taken away from a qualified person and given to you because of the color of your skin.

When I say that the democrats hurt millions to help dozens, this is what i mean. You are willing to vote for the government controlling your life in order to do what? Make it OK so gays can marry? Obama is against that.

wxyz dawg

October 15th, 2010
11:20 am

Ms. Tucker, please explain why the Democrats did not fall in line step with the President. He has legislative problems with Democrats in control, he has no idea the problems he will be facing in January.
The President will see how far off he is from average Americans in November.

George W

October 15th, 2010
11:20 am

RIGHTISWRONG….you are right we are all wrong…..go back to eating your Popeye’s and GO AWAY!

lovelyliz

October 15th, 2010
11:21 am

@Connie the American people don’t want coroporate fascism either, but that’s not stopping the GOP

Lil' Barry Bailout

October 15th, 2010
11:21 am

Thanks for the laugh, Cynthia.

Oops...another hater

October 15th, 2010
11:21 am

“see we have all of the Rednecks with nothing to do today except drink the Faux Newz Kool-Aid!

Racist bunch of idiots.”

LOL…and this latest hater seems to be somewhat delusional. SPREAD THAT HATE!!

George W

October 15th, 2010
11:21 am

Nothing is Free…..can you tell me what marriage is?

IHateShills

October 15th, 2010
11:21 am

Brownro214, are you seriously blaming Bush? Are you unwilling to accept that Bush hasn’t had control over Congress since 2006 and that most of the fiscal decisions since them have been made by a Democratic congress? Obama himself said he would turn this crap around before now.

It’s been 2 years since Bush left, 4 since the republicans lost control of congress. Give it up imbicile.

Malcolm X

October 15th, 2010
11:21 am

@ Oops…another hater…………on your job today, huh? Funny how you haven’t criticized ONE hateful comment by your Repug friends! So, who’s the REAL hater??!!

bflat879

October 15th, 2010
11:21 am

Is this the AJC or The Onion???

Chris

October 15th, 2010
11:22 am

RIGHTISWRONG – yet another example of using a very big brush and painting with whatever liquid they can find.

I’m glad I’ll be using my brain to vote instead of going straight ticket.

Chris

October 15th, 2010
11:22 am

No replies from CT today.

daisey

October 15th, 2010
11:22 am

This is satire, right? If not, I want some of what she’s smoking. By the way, all you BO lovers out there, BCBS is going to have to triple it’s premiums under Obamacare. It will be out of business within three years. BO has told one lie after another. You can keep your doctor. Nope. My husband’s cardiologist of 15 years just dumped him by letter due to the cuts in Medicare so more can go to Medicaid. All you BO fans, wait till all this kicks in and you find out there really is no such thing as a free lunch. Oh, and the pre-existing that your guy bragged about in Iowa. Guess what…it ain’t free. In fact, your kid has a pre-existing condition, probably gonna cost you about $600 a month and up. Of course those on the public dole, who the rest of us support, will continue to live of those who work and pay taxes. Cynthia Tucker is certifiably insane if she believes what she wrote.

Nothing Is Free

October 15th, 2010
11:22 am

Kamchak

Oh sure. You and AmVet never voted for Obama. LOL!!

I wouldn’t admit it either.

Thanking Him

October 15th, 2010
11:22 am

Yes…President Obama. THANKS FOR NOTHING!!

JohnW

October 15th, 2010
11:23 am

I hope you don’t mind a comment from England. I read this article with increasing incredulity and I have to ask – is Ms Tucker in touch with reality at all?

George W

October 15th, 2010
11:23 am

Daisey…..Great post….thank you.

Aubrey

October 15th, 2010
11:23 am

This article could just as easily be found in The Onion as this rag.

LOL !!