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

Good Grief

October 15th, 2010
1:29 pm

I’d just like to see 1000 comments on a CT article.

ConservaTarian

October 15th, 2010
1:31 pm

Tech Man, your answer proves my point. You have to CLICK on an ad before they get PAID. NO CLICK, NO PAY. Whatever they may make on page views would be measured in 1/1000ths of a penny per page load.

kimmer

October 15th, 2010
1:31 pm

Oh my gosh! What a piece of garbage! Let’s ignore the other stuff for a minute and focus on this nugget of wisdom.

“The president’s critics have turned the truth inside out”

Oh and this is the president who campaigned on putting legislation on the internet for so many days prior to voting so the american people could read it and his very first bill he didn’t even give CONGRESS a chance to read it much less the american people and hasn’t done so with any bill yet!

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!!!

FRANK C

October 15th, 2010
1:32 pm

THIS IS THE WRITER THAT KNOWS FOR CERTAIN THAT EVERY WHITE PERSON WHO DISAGREES WITH OBAMA ON ANYTHING IS A RACIST – HAVE YOU EVER HEARD HER WHEN SHE HAS BEEN ON MATTHEWS – EVERY WORD THAT IS IN THE SLIGHTEST WAY DISAGREEABLE WITH THE GREAT OBAMA IS RACIST – IT JUST MAKES ME BELIEVE THAT WHEN SHE IS SPEAKING THERE IS ONE IN THE ROOM

Oh Please

October 15th, 2010
1:33 pm

@Good Grief – Well, we are now over 900…..

ConservaTarian

October 15th, 2010
1:34 pm

I just love it when Cynthia is on one of the Sunday TV chat shows with someone like George Will who calmly disassembles her. The shot to look for is while Will (or someone else) is taking her down and they show her face. It almost makes me cry for Cynthia. Almost.

Thaddeus in Stone Mountain

October 15th, 2010
1:35 pm

You should write for Marvel comic books, Ms. Tucker. Parallel universes like the one you’ve drawn here are their specialty. They do very well selling fantasy to the public.

Ward Cleaver

October 15th, 2010
1:36 pm

“…Thats enough Beaver. But dad? Beaver I said you are excused, now go to your room. But dad I didnt do anything. I know Beaver but this President of ours has the entire Country in a turmoil and you are gonna be punished for it. Cmon Dad. Wally, thats enough. Now Beaver go upstairs and find your newest belt and I’ll be up shortly.”

HDB

October 15th, 2010
1:36 pm

ConservaTarian
October 15th, 2010
1:19 pm

Part of the problem is that the GOP doesn’t care about those who DON’T have wealth….

The GOP could’ve reformed health care…they didn’t
The GOP could’ve made tax rates permanent…they didn’t
The GOP could’ve worked with jobs legislation…they didn’t

When the country needs an effort to ensure that the needs of the nation were fulfilled…the GOP didn’t do it!! My question is this: If the GOP is “for the PEOPLE”…what DO they believe that the PEOPLE (not just the wealthy) need….and how will just saying “tax cut…tax cut” affect change..when it didn’t work before???

Tech Man

October 15th, 2010
1:37 pm

ConservaTarian
October 15th, 2010
1:31 pm

It depends. Business leads on a “pay per click” are very expensive.

I am sure AJC has figured out how to make money on the website. I do notice that CT typically has more comments than the other bloggers.

Today’s post may also be in Sunday’s paper on the opinion page.

I don’t know what CT is making but I know DC is expensive.

Oh Please

October 15th, 2010
1:37 pm

ConservaTarian,

Wow – u r really behind the times, aren’t you? Every time you click, on any internet site or any button or any “submit comment” it is counted. Advertisers pay dollars based on clicks. They want to advertise anywhere there is more traffic.

So, the more you click here, the better it is for CT!

Try to keep up with the times. You internet knowledge and your politics is so 1960s.

2by4

October 15th, 2010
1:37 pm

@frank you are a liar a pure liar prove the fact on this forum scaremonger and a liar.

George Will

October 15th, 2010
1:37 pm

“Well you must understand the disassembling of robots is done one widget at a time.”

ConservaTarian

October 15th, 2010
1:38 pm

Thaddeus in Stone Mountain – the comic book would be instantly turned into a movie about an alternative reality implanted in the minds of people to keep them silent and obedient. It would be called “THE RACIST – RELOADED.”

granny godzilla

October 15th, 2010
1:39 pm

kam

thanks….

i
ll have to play with it a while

JDW

October 15th, 2010
1:39 pm

@TechMan

“So in the case of GA 400 you say it is better to get forgiveness instead of permission.”

So it seems, no matter whom does the asking….

“With regards to your monkey one will have to hold their nose to vote for either.”

Man, I have been holding my nose in the voting booth for as long as I can remember! Maybe one day I will actually get to vote for someone I support rather than picking between the lesser of evils, but I am not holding my breath.

Tech Man

October 15th, 2010
1:41 pm

HDB
October 15th, 2010
1:36 pm

D’s blocked proposed R changes to health care and they failed as being incremental. It was a roll reversal of R’s holding D’s feet to the fire when possible.

The game of Washington always makes money for those of Washington. Those in power are paid by the government. Those out of power make money by attacking those in government and preparing for when they are in government again.

I kinda makes me sick to think about it.

Oh Please

October 15th, 2010
1:41 pm

ConservaTarian -

Nah. That movie would be called, “Invasion of the mind-snatchers: FOX news tries to take over the US.”

rmc512

October 15th, 2010
1:41 pm

what world have you been living in for the last 21 months? Obama Reid & Pelosi have shut the GOP out as they explode the deficit with spendulus & ObamaCare w/o any Republican support.

George W

October 15th, 2010
1:41 pm

Went to Hooters for lunch….I am back….what did I miss?

Tech Man

October 15th, 2010
1:42 pm

JDW
October 15th, 2010
1:39 pm

We must be related… :)

George W

October 15th, 2010
1:42 pm

Anyone know what this number is $1,290,000,000,000????

Kamchak

October 15th, 2010
1:44 pm

I just love it when Cynthia is on one of the Sunday TV chat shows with someone like George Will who calmly disassembles her.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

George Will is a fossilized old fart that couldn’t disassemble a drugged out Paris Hilton.

Tech Man

October 15th, 2010
1:44 pm

Kamchak
October 15th, 2010
1:26 pm

Thanks from me too.
I know you forgot to mention me, however, I know you hold me in high esteem. :)

Halftrack

October 15th, 2010
1:46 pm

CT, All Presidents have not gotten what they wanted. The Presidency is the 3rd part of our Government which is supposed to balance the Legislative and Judicial branches. In short, the President is supposed to speak for all Americans. The Presidency is not about the individual. Once when a 21 gun salute was given for Pres. Truman, he remarked to a bystander, this salute is not for me but for the office of President which I am honored to hold. When policies are not for the common good for 98% of Americans, the President should offer leadership to Congress to compromise legislation for this end result. Instead Obummer has stubbornly sought his own end and promotion. The tide is turning, and the will of most of the American people is about to be heard on Nov. 2.

Tech Man

October 15th, 2010
1:47 pm

Kamchak
October 15th, 2010
1:44 pm

George Will is a fossilized old fart that couldn’t disassemble a drugged out Paris Hilton.

——–
I resemble that remark, however, I, and I bet George too, wouldn’t touch Paris much less try to disassemble her.

JDW

October 15th, 2010
1:47 pm

@TechMan…Hell if Obama and Rush are related anything is possible:) We do seem to share a thought or two.

I even pull for Tech 11 or 12 times a year with that one exception.

Good Grief

October 15th, 2010
1:48 pm

“Anyone know what this number is $1,290,000,000,000????”

“What is The FY2010 deficit for the US?”

clb

October 15th, 2010
1:48 pm

wow, no need to tell cynthia she is a bold faced BS artist, everyone else did that already!

George W

October 15th, 2010
1:49 pm

Good Grief……very good…..I wonder how much more it will be next year. Thanks Obama.

Bryan

October 15th, 2010
1:53 pm

Its funny how so many people suffer from long term memory problems in this country. Case in point: just read the rest of the comments.

Kamchak

October 15th, 2010
1:53 pm

…and I bet George too, wouldn’t touch Paris much less try to disassemble her.

I think it’s more “couldn’t” than “wouldn’t.”

If he tried, she’d snap his bony a$$ like a twig.

2by4

October 15th, 2010
1:53 pm

@JEFF= ONE FLEW OVER THE NEST.
DID YOU THINK BEFORE YOU TYPED OH FORGOT SOMEBODY ELSE HAS TO DO IT.

Sven Ottke

October 15th, 2010
1:55 pm

Cynthia dear, just go back to cutting and pasting other peoples work. Unless, of course, this is the beginning of a career change. Is there the 2 drink minimum at your comedy club?

Bryan

October 15th, 2010
1:56 pm

A small bit of independent research would prove Cynthia’s point and then some. I suggest you people start thinking for yourselves for a change.

Wink Martindale

October 15th, 2010
1:56 pm

You people wish you were as intelligent as George Will.

George W

October 15th, 2010
1:56 pm

Sven……she has drank WAY more than two if you ask me.

Good Grief

October 15th, 2010
1:59 pm

Why do so many people on this blog type everything in all caps? If people are reading and responding, they don’t need the typed equivalent of shouting. We can read.

IHateShills

October 15th, 2010
1:59 pm

I personally hope Cynthia comments here too. I’d like to know what she thinks of all these comments.

Larry Robinson

October 15th, 2010
2:00 pm

Are you kidding? Obama has done everything but work with the Republicans. What a joke! “Is that the best you’ve got?”

Kamchak

October 15th, 2010
2:01 pm

You people wish you were are ecstatic that you are not as intelligent as big a douche-bag as George Will.

Fixed your typos.

moderateGuy

October 15th, 2010
2:01 pm

What a load of lefist cr@p. Tucker even, ever-so clumsily and inadvertently gives the game up, describing the health care-off-shore drilling issue; the so-called “president” Obama did not try to work with Republicans, not once; he tried, and failed, to buy off a handfull of Republicans, he saw as easy “marks”, with cheap trinket issues, to give himself political cover for his extreme leftist agenda.
I guess that affirmative action thing does not really make for actually qualified people getting the jobs, hey…..

jamaljk85

October 15th, 2010
2:02 pm

Cynthia:
If by “tried hard” you mean “do what I want or I’ll demonize you” then you are spot on. For Obama working with others goes something like this – “I’m the Messiah, so my will prevails – conform or die”

Roninlouisburg

October 15th, 2010
2:03 pm

I have put Cynthia on my prayer list at my church.

lovelyliz

October 15th, 2010
2:03 pm

The Republicans don’t cut spending, they merely shift it. Even when the GOP had control of the White House and both houses on Congress they didn’t not submit federal budget. Didn’t ever come close even when keeping the Iraq II and Afghanistan wars off-budget.

HDB

October 15th, 2010
2:03 pm

Halftrack
October 15th, 2010
1:46 pm

“When policies are not for the common good for 98% of Americans, the President should offer leadership to Congress to compromise legislation for this end result.”

…should read ALL Americans….including the minorities!! There are those who can not speak for themselves….and many whom the majority consistently drown out!! Policies should be beneficial to THEM as well!! Problem is that when a President takes into consideration the adverse effects that policies have on a minority….the majority counters with some BLISTERING attacks!!

Too many desire “instant gratification” whereas it requires LONG TERM thought!! Whatever policies are enacted, I hope leaves NO ONE out!!

reuben dy tiapco

October 15th, 2010
2:06 pm

.
Cynthia should Tucker where the sun don’t shine!
she is flexible enough with the truth, we know

George W

October 15th, 2010
2:06 pm

Lovelyliz……you made that comment two hours ago? No new thoughts?

Malcom

October 15th, 2010
2:06 pm

What a complete croc. He met with GOP leaders to preach down to them, never offering one compromise on anything. The stimulus was a pork ridden bag of crap and Republicans knew it. And on Obamacare, there was one way – his left winged way or nothing.

Give me a break Cynthia. Total joke.

pnkearns

October 15th, 2010
2:07 pm

Monica – Oral Sex for Bill Clinton. Cynthia – sycophant commentator for Barak Obama.
I have no doubt Cynthia has a closet of blue dresses.