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

Billybob

October 15th, 2010
12:06 pm

Gay porn and idiot conservatives……brilliant intellectual comments from the liberal peanut gallery.

Good Grief

October 15th, 2010
12:07 pm

Reality, you act like there was absolutely no criticism of George Bush. I didn’t like him either, but I at least recognize media hipocrisy when I see it. I’m not one of these people who only get their news from one place. I watch Fox News, yes, but I also see what CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, the BBC, and the internet is saying. I remember when Susan Roesgen got into a hissy-fit over someone calling Obama a socialist, but she was the same one who called a man wearing a George Bush mask (complete with devil horns and Hitler mustache) a “lookalike.” Liberals were quick to call the 52.9% vote that Obama got in 2008 a mandate, but when 60% of the country opposes health care overhaul, they’re ignored. Get off your high horse, Reality. Jeez!

Nothing Is Free

October 15th, 2010
12:07 pm

Chris

Barnes spent a lot of time showing us what a crook he was. I liked Karen.

Roy Barnes

October 15th, 2010
12:08 pm

Whats wrong with my shades of lipstick? My wife color co-ordinates it to my underpants.

Reality

October 15th, 2010
12:08 pm

@Nothing is Free-

You JUST DON’T GET IT! I may as well be talking to a wall. How can you be so stupid? Is this some special talent you have????

I will try to type slowly – maybe this will help you understand.

Obama produced programs INTENDED TO HELP THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. Bush produced programs INTENDED TO LINE POCKETS OF HIS FRIENDS.

Now pause a moment. Think about that before going on. Analyze that part only, if you can. Don’t jump to any FOX news quote or cute sayings. Doesn’t that alone speak volumes?

Nothing Is Free

October 15th, 2010
12:09 pm

Billybob

I love the fact that when these “open minded” pro gay liberals want to insult someone, they try to link them to homosexuality.

I’m pretty sure Reality is the twit.

JDW

October 15th, 2010
12:10 pm

“Barnes already had the job once and failed miserably”

As I remember his main “failure” was trying to hold the teachers accountable and losing that vote. Please tell me what did I miss?

George W

October 15th, 2010
12:11 pm

Reality…..your opinion is very skewed by your beliefs.

Nothing Is Free

October 15th, 2010
12:11 pm

Reality

- -Obama produced programs INTENDED TO HELP THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.- -

How many times do I have to tell you.

HE IS LYING TO YOU. His policies helped no one but his contributors. So how is lying better than telling the truth?

He lies, rips you off and you defend him.

Again, give me your money. I’m really a democrat wanting to help poor people. Honestly. I really am.

Chris

October 15th, 2010
12:11 pm

NIF – I would have voted for Handel. I don’t trust Deal farther than I can throw him. I’ll stick with what I know, I suppose.

Reality – that’s your opinion. I think every politician introduces things to help line their own pockets and the pockets of their handlers.

One having a D and one having an R don’t make either one good.

George W

October 15th, 2010
12:11 pm

JDW…..What where his jobless numbers when he took office versus when he left. What was the budget before and after he took office?

granny godzilla

October 15th, 2010
12:11 pm

Ive prepared two huge platters of SpamWich so lets adjourn for lunch and then continue our arguing, namecalling on a full belly.

Ozzy Ozbourne

October 15th, 2010
12:13 pm

“Good intentions pave the way to Hell”.

Nothing Is Free

October 15th, 2010
12:13 pm

Have fun guys.

My ride to the airport is here.

Anonymous

October 15th, 2010
12:13 pm

This woman is delusional.

Billybob

October 15th, 2010
12:13 pm

Democrats have controlled Congress since 2007(almost 4 years). Have controlled the purse strings since that time. Isn’t it interesting how none of the Dems in this election cycle are running on any of their accomplishments of the last few years and the overwhelming majority are completely distancing themselves from the leaders of their party. Riddle me that libs?

Arizona Ironman

October 15th, 2010
12:14 pm

How silly this editorial is by Ms. Tucker. The Democrats (which I am one) had a bullet proof majority in the House and Senate – yet she claims that the Republicans are to blame for their failures in legislative action?

Let me mention a few items that has turned me off to my own party: Lawsuit against Arizona’s immigration law; extreme pandering to illegal immigrants; allowing eleven countries (some are communist) to enjoin the lawsuit against Arizona; failure to go after the Black Panthers’s who violated voting rights of others; nothing but talk on Iran and North Korea but no results; continuing to let China destroy our manufacturing jobs and infrastructure by not forcing them to let their currency fluctuate with the market; Healthcare reform that was not real reform; lack of action of gays in the military (is Obama for DADT or against???); failure to secure the dang border; denial on drug gangs from Mexico on the border in the US; massive deficits; continuing economic disaster; racial tensions are higher than ever. I won’t go on.

The real problem, in my humble opinion, is that too many elites – both Republicans and Democrats are running this country. This includes elitist media types like Ms. Tucker. Typical folk who want to run for office are destroyed by the elite media. Made to look like fools. Green in SC and Meeks in FL are two examples. Both black, by the way. Stop the partisanship.

Thank you.

George W

October 15th, 2010
12:14 pm

Great article from CNN!!! He is only two years into the job and already “irrelevant”!! Great….watch the Dems emplode on themselves.

JDW

October 15th, 2010
12:14 pm

@Good Grief

“when 60% of the country opposes health care overhaul”

That is a bit disingenuous…

A new AP poll finds that Americans who think the law should have done more outnumber those who think the government should stay out of health care by 2-to-1.

google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gSXIViw_RWvU3uweKkhKfhAVGgqgD9IF4ET80

Reality

October 15th, 2010
12:14 pm

@Nothing is Free -

You still cannot help yourself. I really now do believe that you are without hope. You cannot just stop at the point where I said “pause.” You cannot analyze those two sentences alone.

Too bad.

Simon Jester

October 15th, 2010
12:15 pm

Obama has repeatedly gone with tactics that time after time have be shown to kill the economy, rather than make it better. He is against everything that makes the economy go. He is anti-business, anti-capitalist and pro-government. Government cannot make the economy go. Period. Government jobs cannot improve the economy. Government and government jobs are a drain on the economy, government is not a producer. Money to the gov is a net loss.

cyclerider

October 15th, 2010
12:15 pm

“Obama didn’t take every possible opportunity to pin the economic mess on his predecessor” I never saw a President whine so much about the messs left him by the previous administration. This woman is a fool.

Nothing Is Free

October 15th, 2010
12:15 pm

Oh one more thing

Doc Cheney stole the list from the Daily KOS: And then whines about FOX News.

90 Accomplishments of Pres. Obama Which The Media Fails to Report….

Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 03:59:39 AM PDT

Media loves to say that President Obama is not getting much accomplished which the facts belie and fail to report the 90 plus accomplishments of administration, so far!

Billybob

October 15th, 2010
12:17 pm

NIF 12:09
That’s why it is so easy to dissect them. You can’t do that with conserrvative independent thinking people b/c they take a look at all info and then make their decisions. Libs are just incapable of doing this even though they claim “intellectual superiority”. I probably have a little too much fun at their behest…..

Tech Man

October 15th, 2010
12:17 pm

Doc Cheney
October 15th, 2010
11:53 am

Please tell us about the healthy financials of the California state government.

jsa

October 15th, 2010
12:18 pm

How is “I won….” cooperation????

George W

October 15th, 2010
12:18 pm

All I want is for a DEM to explain to me why November is going to be ruled by the Repubs…..if you guys are doing such a great job why are we going to gain control in November?? Please answer this question.

Cynthia Is Sexy!!

October 15th, 2010
12:18 pm

LOL…”Is Obama becoming irrelevant?”. LOL…CNN finally gets it.

George W

October 15th, 2010
12:19 pm

Cynthia Is Sexy!! …….EXACTLY!!!!

Tech Man

October 15th, 2010
12:19 pm

Reality
October 15th, 2010
12:08 pm

Obama is helping those that helped him.

Union mangement.

JDW

October 15th, 2010
12:20 pm

George W

“What where his jobless numbers when he took office versus when he left. What was the budget before and after he took office?”

Bush had the worst record of job creation of any president in history. On average, Bush’s economy has created 393,000 new jobs per year while on average,Clinton created 2.75 million per year

As I have noted previously…

George W Bush increased Federal spending by 25% or 12.5% per term versus Bill Clinton’s increase of 9% or 4.5% per term.

CT = Delusion

October 15th, 2010
12:20 pm

91. Golfed a lot.
92. Promised ‘Hope and Change’ and then made everyone hope they could keep their change.
93. Went to Paris to eat lunch.
94. Snuck a few smokes in the Rose Garden without Michele catching him.
95. Got a dog after 6 months of deliberations — longer than was spent on health care ‘reform.’
96. Named dog
97. Enrolled kids in private school because, you know, the public schools in D.C stink.
98. Treated for teleprompter injury when it fell on his head on the Gulf.
99. Destroyed any good will that he may have had with Independent voters by being a narcissistic gasbag.
100. Avoided press conferences at all costs.

Tray

October 15th, 2010
12:20 pm

And this CRAP comes from a pulitzer winner?? Wow, AJC needs to clean house!!

Billybob

October 15th, 2010
12:20 pm

Enjoy the spamwich Granny…..chicken-n-dumplings for Billybob

Tray

October 15th, 2010
12:20 pm

actually, she may be a pulitzer winner, but now that award has as much notoriety as the peace prize…given to someone else who CLEARLY didnt deserve it…

ConservaTarian

October 15th, 2010
12:20 pm

Everybody…
The article was first titled “90 Things Done By Pres. Obama Which Make It Look Like He Knows What He’s Doing” then they changed it to “90 Things Done By Pres. Obama Which Provide Cover for His Real Agenda.” Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed.

Navin Johnson

October 15th, 2010
12:20 pm

“These cans are defective
He hate these cans…MORE CANS!”

George P. Burdell

October 15th, 2010
12:21 pm

Obama’s response to the GOP efforts to negotiate on the stimulus bill was “Get over it. We won”. That just screams bipartisianship doesn’t it?

Reality

October 15th, 2010
12:21 pm

@George W – Let me understand. You want someone (a DEM) to explain to you what you think will happen in the future? Wow. I always knew that you were nutty.

Pappadave

October 15th, 2010
12:21 pm

Folks, let’s try to focus a bit. It’s important to understand that (1) The President (whoever he may be) doesn’t spend a single dime of tax money–unless he hires unaccountable “czars” “off the books” without Congressional authority. And, (2) Democrats have controlled the purse strings of the nation (except for 12 years–the last 6 years of the 20th and first 6 years of the 21st Centuries) since 1954! Liberal Democrats have controlled EITHER the Legislative or Executive Branches for over a century now, without let-up. We haven’t had a conservative legislature AND a conservative in the White House since the early days of the 20th Century! We’re IN this mess because “progressives” are hell-bent on turning the U.S. into another socialist “utopia” like North Korea, Cuba or the former Soviet States…with THEM in positions of absolute authority, of course. President Bush was/is no conservative and neither were the GOP-controlled Congresses between 1997 and 2006.

The subject article is pure, unadulterated BS. Democrats idea of “bipartisanship” or even “compromise” is, “Do it OUR way, or take a hike!”

BonJoni

October 15th, 2010
12:22 pm

Pass me some of that kool aid you been drinking. The president has shut out republican participation from all important legislation including health care. Thats why hes getting nothing in return – he’s earned it.

Dangerous Dean

October 15th, 2010
12:24 pm

CT, I have to thank you for the best laugh I have had in weeks. When you said that Obama has missed chances to pin the blame for this economy on Bush, I fell out of my chair. Geez, all he has done for 20 months is shift blame to Bush.

I don’t usually read the AJC. But I was drawn here today by this puff piece. What drivel. Are you always so dilusional?

I realize that folks are giving out Nobel Prizes for Not Being Bush these days. But have Pulitzer’s gotten so cheap that they are throwing those around randomly too?

Booger w/Stu

October 15th, 2010
12:24 pm

Correct me if Im wrong but seems Obama has become more unpopular in a faster time than Jimmy Carter did during his ill-fated presidency.

Publius

October 15th, 2010
12:25 pm

Right on the mark–one of the best analyses of Obama’s political mistakes I’ve seen.

shaquilla

October 15th, 2010
12:25 pm

Girl, you crack me up! I haven’t read anything this funny in a looong time!

ConservaTarian

October 15th, 2010
12:25 pm

Come on, George W. You KNOW the answer to that question. It all because of YOU and FOX NEWS and the MIND CONTROL you exercise over the brain-dead, Dancing With the Stars viewer voters. Watch the SILVER OBJECT and repeat after me, “Beck is truth; Obama is lies. Beck is truth; Obama is lies. Bec…..

Reality

October 15th, 2010
12:26 pm

BTW all….

I am a proud liberal. I am fully employed with a great outlook to my financial future. I own my buckhead penthouse condo. I own my car. I am in the process of purchasing a vacation home in Florida. I was just pre-approved for this vacation home and was told by my broker that my credit score is “walk-on-water” 801.

I stopped watching FOX news all together about 3 months ago when it almost made me physically ill (watching Beck).

I am also a white male.

If you are a conservative republican, and you are unemployed, you might want to re-think your allegiance.

Billybob

October 15th, 2010
12:27 pm

Pappadave,

You are right that Bush was no conservative and neither was the Repub Congress. the ruling elitist class has been and is the problem. Hopefully over the next few years we will rid the gov’t ranks of these people(both dems and repubs) who are very close to destroying our ‘perfect union’. Who’s with me?

Booger w/Stu

October 15th, 2010
12:28 pm

Reality. You should be doing more to help the poor.

granny godzilla

October 15th, 2010
12:28 pm

well, well, well

perhaps the loyal opposition has got their jockey pants in a particularly large knot because they read this……

From CNN:

CNN has learned that Tom Donohue, the powerful president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who has vowed to spend more than $75 million on key House and Senate races, has privately told colleagues in recent weeks he believes Democrats will just barely hold on to the House majority.

AIN”T THAT A HOOT!

India and China are goiing to be ticked at Tommy!