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

ConservaTarian

October 15th, 2010
11:51 am

Doc Cheney…

Great list. I’m looking for the entry that says, “Supported and promoted government policies to create a business atmosphere conducive to the creation of new jobs.”

Did I miss something? You might want to take another sip of Kool-Aid and try again.

By the way, please make sure you get out and vote on November 3rd. The Socialists need your support.

George W

October 15th, 2010
11:52 am

Can anyone in here have a debate about Obama without mentioning my name?

Malcolm X

October 15th, 2010
11:52 am

LOL! Proof of right-wing, hillbilly ignorance – Oops……another hater & Aubrey are too stupid to even know who’s insulting who!!

Allie Foster

October 15th, 2010
11:53 am

And the AJC wonders why their circulation in the toilet!!! Cynthia Tucker is divisive, sycophant for Obama. This man is destroying our country, refused to work with the GOP, has a Democratic controlled congress and is still losing the battle. It is more his elitist, narcissistic approach to governing. I think his “Too bad, I won” statement in the first weeks of his adminstration says it all. He thinks he was elected King (or Dictator), not a man that serves at the pleasure of the voters. And, the voters will have their say on November 2nd and in 2012. Obama has failed on every level. He is possibly the worst President in our history. I pray for our country and our citizens.

Warren Murphy

October 15th, 2010
11:53 am

What’s the weather like on your little planet there, Cynthia?

The President tried to “woo” Republicans??? How? By saying to the people that every single major idea or principle the Republicans put forward “wasn’t serious”? By dismissing Republicans out-of-hand with telling them “I won” in response to their different approaches?

Has it ever occurred to any democrat that acting as if anyone who disagrees with you is an idiot really isn’t a sustainable avenue to power?

Of course, that exposes the real disconnect; it’s not about who has power (at least it’s not supposed to be). But that’s all the dems have focused on this past 2 years

Chris

October 15th, 2010
11:53 am

“You republicans”

“You democrats”

This accomplishes what? This enhances your arguments how?

FA Hayek

October 15th, 2010
11:53 am

Hey Doc, exactly how is Georgia made up of 125% illegal workers? Is this another example of Obamathematics and Progressive Logic?

re: Doc Cheney, “pay state taxes for legislators to make up goofy laws to protect us from illegal workers who make up about .125% of the population.”

Doc Cheney

October 15th, 2010
11:53 am

It really is too bad there are not more intelligent conservatives in Atlanta. In places like California and the midwest, there is effective governance and leadership by moderate to conservative Republicans. Those areas produce valuable dialogue and debate that help the country meet in the middle on vital issues.
It seems like conservatives in Atlanta are just clones or parrots of talk radio or Fox News or one-issue agenda people who are not well enogu informed to actually discuss issues.
Five minutes into a discussion and somebody wants to comlain that we don’t have a confederate battle flag hanging from a clothesline on the lawn of the capitol. Where is your dignity?

Oops...another hater

October 15th, 2010
11:54 am

There he goes again.

Good Grief

October 15th, 2010
11:54 am

Reality – answer me this:
How does spending money on a study of why Africans vote, or how they clean themselves, help the economy out of recession? How does spending $100,000 on one sign promoting an action covered by the recovery act stimulate the economy?

Booger Presley

October 15th, 2010
11:55 am

CA…yea…what a great place…LOL!

George W

October 15th, 2010
11:55 am

Malcolm X…..just like your name references….you have yet to make a legitimate fact…….is it really that hard?

Dale

October 15th, 2010
11:55 am

You’ve got a great future in stand up comedy!

John

October 15th, 2010
11:55 am

Cynthia—are you kidding me? To use a basketball analogy, Obama has spent the past two years practicing his “slam dunk” shot while jeering at the Republicans on the sidelines, saying “shut up–because we won!” The American people have been in he stands, watching the whole thing. And they are not impressed–partially because of the attitude and MO and certainly because of the dismal result we see developing all around us. Obama-Axelrod-Emmanual are ALL political hacks. Never thought I would say that about any president. But Obama is a hack–and is the most partisan president in the history of the republic. He makes Bush look like a saint.

Nothing Is Free

October 15th, 2010
11:55 am

Reality

- -Obama has spent money, yes. His spending was an attempt to save this Country from the recession. SHAME ON HIM?- -

Damn right shame on him.

Tell you what. Give me all your money and I will make you richer than midis. So am I a nigerian Mail Scammer or the Democratic Party? Is there a difference?

Doc Cheney

October 15th, 2010
11:55 am

FA Hayek: Math is tricky. I recommend starting with something remedial and working your way up to fractions. Then re-read my post.

Chris

October 15th, 2010
11:56 am

Again, trying to point out a perceived lack of intelligence in your detractors does not enhance your argument.

Reality

October 15th, 2010
11:56 am

@GEORGE W -

I can answer that one! It might be the same reason Georgia is about to elect Deal, a republican, as Governor….

It is because there are many stupid and uniformed voters. Voters in GA that seem to not care that Deal was essentially kicked out of Congress for corruption. Voters in GA that seem to not care that he has been caught siphoning money from his campaign into his pocket. Voters in GA that seem to not care that he is so corrupt that he refuses to share his tax return docs.

The answer to your question is clear – the voters are dumb. Next?

Nothing Is Free

October 15th, 2010
11:57 am

Doc Cheney

I caught you stealing posts and now you are all mad at Georgia.

So sad.

Man up and move along. You are just making a bigger fool of yourself.

George W

October 15th, 2010
11:57 am

Folks…..Nothing is Free just said “nigerian” that is a county and NOT the feared “N” word…….Just want to make sure most of you know the difference….hahahha

George W

October 15th, 2010
11:57 am

Country not county……

Bob

October 15th, 2010
11:57 am

Obo to McCain, “we one”.

Doc Cheney

October 15th, 2010
11:57 am

I have to admit that Ms. Tucker makes my day. She puts it out there and then all the clones go crazy disputing her opinions. As an editorialist, I would say she is 100% win from a business standpoint.

Eddie Long, The Bishup of Pizza

October 15th, 2010
11:57 am

Where my dignity? Me and my church followers have all the dignity in the World, SIR! How dare you besmirch my good name and the name of my sheep.

MSEcon

October 15th, 2010
11:58 am

I’ll remind everyone that the liberal facist Democrat party had:

1. A president in the white house
2. A majority in the House
3. And…a FILIBUSTER proof majority in the Senate.

Demosocialists could pass ANY piece of legislation they wanted to, without a single vote from RINOs.

ANY piece.

markie mark

October 15th, 2010
11:58 am

Doc, I have been watching this discussion for a couple of hours, and this blog for a good while. The only folks that I see mentioning a dang OLD flag discussion is you liberals when you want to try and get some mileage out of it…

And Liz….your Cloture rule is correct. Now try googling “Supermajority”. Obama and the Democrats had that, but he wanted us for cover. The problem was some Democrats didnt want to walk off the cliff with him. But the Republicans were representing the people who voted THEM into office. So, the enemy is US, the people, not our representatives who got voted into office because WE believed they wouldn’t betray out trust to fight this lunacy.

Vince

October 15th, 2010
11:58 am

Sorry, Doc…You can keep listing errors and lies all you want. There are VERY legitimate arguments for everything you are listing, thus you are wasting your time.

May I start with numbers 9 and 10? Freedom of information?

Have you been keeping up with the story relating to the White House blocking the information about the worst case scenario with the Gulf Oil Spill? In May NOAA scientists wanted to publish this info and the White House blocked it. You won’t see this story very much in the AJC, but google it or read about it in one of the gulf coast newspapers….then come back and let’s discuss this.

Billybob

October 15th, 2010
11:58 am

THIS JUST IN!
Doc Cheney says he is intellectually superior, he cares more, is more skilled than, more educated than and has a job.
Let me see, that makes him a graduate of LIBERALISM 101: Day 1
CONGRATULATIONS! It is so easy to dissect the libs….

Nothing Is Free

October 15th, 2010
11:59 am

Can anyone recommend a good website for finding young men who like to masterbate on the phone together? I can’t get enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FA Hayek

October 15th, 2010
11:59 am

You got me Doc, I did not see your decimal & I stand corrected in missing it.

Reality

October 15th, 2010
11:59 am

@Good Grief – FOX news has taught you well….

With any large program (public or private) anyone can find line items that are bad. Congrats. You, like FOX news, can do that too.

Why don’t you and FOX news apply that talent to republicans? Where was this analysis when Bush was wasting our money? Please explain?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The difference here is that at least Obama produced programs targeted to help AMERCIAN PEOPLE. Bush’s programs were to spend our money on the military and overseas that ended up lining the pockets of his Texas wealthy friends.

Nothing Is Free

October 15th, 2010
11:59 am

Reality

- -It is because there are many stupid and uniformed voters.- -

No. Sadly it’s because our alternative in Roy Barnes.

ConservaTarian

October 15th, 2010
11:59 am

Doc Cheney…
Where are you from? I’m sure that – wherever it is – Delta or AirTran have a flight sometime today that will take you back. Excuse my typing, but I’ve trouble seeing the screen through my hood because, if I disagree with Obama or his clannish supporters, I MUST be a racist, right?

Vince

October 15th, 2010
12:01 pm

Hey Billybob:
Can you call me on my cell phone? I need to talk to you about an awesome gay porn site I just found.

Nothing Is Free

October 15th, 2010
12:01 pm

REality

- -The difference here is that at least Obama produced programs targeted to help AMERCIAN PEOPLE.- -

And did they?

Say it ain’t so. Again, telling people that you believe lies over and over again is probably not making you look any smarter.

markie mark

October 15th, 2010
12:01 pm

and CT, you know I normally have respect for you and dont denigrate other bloggers on this site. But when YOU call blogger A dumb, and then blogger B calls you dumb, and then you BAN blogger B?? What type of intellectual honesty is that? and shortly thereafter a blogger asked you about that inconsistency and you ignore it? Wow, I had more respect for you than those kind of actions, politics notwithstanding.

Reality

October 15th, 2010
12:01 pm

@Billybob -

Too bad you and the other idiot conserveratives spend too much time “disecting the liberal” and not informing yourselves of facts. I guess it is easier to differ any form of thinking to FOX news.

Welcome to “invasion of the mind-snatchers.”

Frank La May

October 15th, 2010
12:02 pm

tell that girl to pinch herself she is asleep. Obama has refused to work with the republican. it’s either his way or the highway. guess where he is going

frank la may

Nothing Is Free

October 15th, 2010
12:02 pm

Looks like some twit likes to use my name because they don’t have the balls to use their own.

IS ist a liberal? I’ll bet it is.

George W

October 15th, 2010
12:02 pm

Reality…..all of the Demoncrat news agencies failed aka TALK AMERICA…….So please tell me why FoxNews is the #1 source of television news in the county currently? And why are the ratings for CNN Declining. Wait to see what happens to CNN when Anderson Cooper leaves.

Booger Presley

October 15th, 2010
12:03 pm

“No. Sadly it’s because our alternative in Roy Barnes.”

HERE HERE!! I dont particularly care for Deal either, however, 4 more years of Barnes and his lipstick is OUT OF THE QUESTION.

JMartJr

October 15th, 2010
12:03 pm

Sorry, he didn’t try to work with Republicans at all. To be fair to him, he didn’t have to, with super-majorities in Congress to play with. But his only “outreach” to Republicans was saying that if they would vote against for what they believed, he’ let them.

Bipartisanship does not mean the Republicans learn to embrace leftist ideas.

Nothing Is Free

October 15th, 2010
12:04 pm

Reality

And now it’s all about FOX News.

Is there a liberal in the world with a single original idea?

Aubrey

October 15th, 2010
12:04 pm

Doc Cheney

“like California”…LOL !!!

Kamchak

October 15th, 2010
12:04 pm

I see that it time once again to check my Silly Cons Word-of-the-Day calendar. Yep there it is, word -of-the-day for Friday October 15, 2010—”Kool-aid.”

Dave

October 15th, 2010
12:04 pm

I love the urge to blame everything on Republicans. Anyone making the case of him loving bipartisanship is certainly drinking the kool-aid of delusion. Wow!!!

George W

October 15th, 2010
12:04 pm

Booger…Exactly I would much rather of had Handel. I am not a huge Deal fan either but Barnes already had the job once and failed miserably.

Chris

October 15th, 2010
12:06 pm

Sorry, but I’d rather vote for someone who might be dishonest and a crook (Barnes) than someone who I KNOW is dishonest and a crook (Deal).

It’s not a particularly good choice between either, and unfortunately most of the Libertarians that get enough money to run for office are slightly insane.

Booger Presley

October 15th, 2010
12:06 pm

Agreed. Not having Handel win the primary was a big mistake.

RichardC

October 15th, 2010
12:06 pm

What a load of BS! Obama tried too hard to work with the GOP? No, he didn’t try AT ALL! He never did address GOP concerns with anything but contempt, and with platitudes about bipartisanship that were backed by nothing. Take the session he had with Senate Republicans regarding the health care reform bill. He didn’t listen to them, just told them what he and the Democrats were going to do. And remember this, the only medical doctors in the Senate are Republicans. They have more practical experience in the problems and strengths of the health care system than the entire Democratic caucus combined … yet Obama didn’t listen to them.

Both Obama and Ms. Tucker are frauds. They speak what they want others to believe, not the truth. They live by the adage that if you tell a lie often enough, some will start to believe it. I’m not buying any more, and it looks as though enough of the electorate has caught on to be a real problem for these frauds.