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

lol

October 15th, 2010
6:56 pm

FredCPA

October 15th, 2010
6:58 pm

cynthia, a great new article title for you: war is peace, freedom is slavery. capice, dear? you are in deep deep denial. get some help. peace.

eddy

October 15th, 2010
6:59 pm

Obama is a miserable failure and is so arrogant that he cannot see that he is a failure. He is what we get when we elect someone who has no resume, no job experiences, just affirmative action. Skate along ’cause you are “black”, not really but it’ll suffice in the black world. No evidence of anything in his past life that he is willing to share, to tout and to claim as his. Nope, nothing. All of us have a history and it is there for anyone to look at and to read about. Obama….did he go to grammar school, high school.. what activities did he participate in, what courses did he study, what were his grades, where did he graduate in comparison to his peers..1st or last. What about Harvard…what courses, what grades, what was his cumulative grade point average upon graduation assuming he did graduate, what was his major, etc. I could go on. Suffice it to say, Obama is a man (I think), is married (I think…marriage certificate?), is mulatto not black..but that is another issue for another day, was a senator from Illinois, is President BUT where are all of the details surrounding him? Not to be divulged by anyone. He represented himself to be something that he is clearly not and never was capable of being. He is as unworldly, naive, and unsophisticated in being a leader as anyone we could have chosen…ever. Great reader of the teleprompter and a gift of oratory thanks to his speech writers. Is overwhelmed by his counterparts in the global community. Is`afraid to take a stand even when our country is threatened by muslim extremists. Has spent us into hole from which we will not extract ourselves until he is out of office (soon I hope…sooner would be better) His spending has not created jobs…unemployment continues to rise unabated. Obamacare IS THE LAW OF THE LAND says Barry…..oh, your company can be excused, your also, and of course yours…what a joke. So let me see, just who will have to sign up for Obamacare since many sectors of society are exempt…just you and me!!!! We cannot get rid of this joke for a president and his henchmen soon enough…Pelosi, Reid, Frank, Boxer, etc. November 2nd will be a great day…free at last, free at last from Obama and the Dems.

eddieb

October 15th, 2010
6:59 pm

What planet have you been on? He wouldn’t answer calls from republican Doctors in the Senate. You seem to be a bit prejudiced.

Saml Adams

October 15th, 2010
7:20 pm

Well we have proof positive that an alternative universe indeed exists. Only place this writer could have been the past two years and actually written this.

dw

October 15th, 2010
7:22 pm

It is amazing that you, Tucker, are actually being paid to write this drivel. The democrats who have controlled the congress since ‘06 have ran this country into the ground in an effort to remake it as a socialist utopia and dimwits like you are along for the ride. You are all economic morons and I can only hope that at some point your platform for profiling democratic talking points is taken away.
BTW, where’s your standard racist charge for obama’s opposition.

Look, I'm Cynthia Tucker!

October 15th, 2010
7:26 pm

Buford T. Justice

October 15th, 2010
6:51 pm
Wow, Look I’m Cynthia Tucker. Ok, I’ll bite;You must be an unemployed republican I’ll guess. Oh don’t tell me, next you’ll wow me with all your degrees and how you own your house and you’re a business owner getting screwed..right? Doesn’t matter how loud you scream or name call, that man in the WH got handed the biggest pile of sh^&%##t for an economy since the word was invented. And yes,W and Dicky boy ARE responsible for it; it happened on their watch. You all are so fixated on making sure you’re called patriots and church goers and not socialists.. Like immature children, when faced with a truth you don’t want to admit, your type get angry and begin to name call those you do not agree with. I can’t tell you how many “republicans” I’ve met who are actually closet democrats, like yourself. It’s ok; I’ve seen it before.

Wow Buford, let me guess what you are. A dumbass liberal who blames everything on other people. No wonder you voted for assclown, he doesn’t take responsibility either for his actions. No, I am a married man of two children one of which is severly handicapped with CP. What wakes up my wife and I at nights is this obamacare that is goiung to cut her healthcare and allow lazy asses like yourself to be worry free becuase of taxpayers around the country. He promised unemployment would not go over 8.5% and BAM here we set at 9.6%. He promised to bring the country together and BAM here we are divided more then at anytime in our countries history. Now come back and make a snide comment about my daughter, I expect nothing less loser.

LisaX

October 15th, 2010
7:29 pm

This country was driven into the ground by Republican policies. The housing bubble started in 2006, and the whole thing blew apart on W’s watch. His tax cuts for the wealthy had already started going into effect in 2001. Where are the jobs they were supposed to create? Well, of course voodoo economics is incapable of creating them! If we want “trickle down” from the rich, we need to tax them more. All Republicans stand for is making the rich richer and the poor poorer.

Gary

October 15th, 2010
7:30 pm

What planet has Cynthia Tucker been living on? It certinly can’t be Planet Earth.

LisaX

October 15th, 2010
7:30 pm

Republicans = loud-mouthed whackadoodles

What can you say for a party that nominates the likes of Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle?

And that takes its marching orders from hateful liars such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh?

LisaX

October 15th, 2010
7:32 pm

“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.’ “

Exactly so.

Sid Farcas

October 15th, 2010
7:32 pm

Good post LisaX, if you are incompetent and you is. The dems have ran both houses since 2006 and we have had Obama in since 2008. Did your parents not teach you responsibility or were you raised by a pack of wild dogs? Grow up before it is to late.

deprina c.

October 15th, 2010
7:32 pm

This should have been in the comics section, because it sure was funny! This couldn’t be the same President who routinely has Dem-only gatherings in the White House and rammed health care down our throats with no GOP input. What a joke.

Ivan

October 15th, 2010
7:34 pm

I love the “teleprompter” myth. Obama didn’t need one to wipe the floor with McCain in three debates.

And insults to Obama’s intelligence from the party of W & Palin?!? What a joke.

SECREV

October 15th, 2010
7:35 pm

“Obama tried too hard to work with Republican”
“Obama didn’t take every possible opportunity to pin the economic mess on his predecessor.”

Ms Tucker, if you repeat those two lies five a times a day, for a month or two, even *you* will start believing those. It is called, ‘brainwashing’. Perfected by the Bolsheviks for those who *had* a brain to begin with, but what the heck, it might even work on you.

Sid Farcas

October 15th, 2010
7:35 pm

LisaX

October 15th, 2010
7:30 pm
Republicans = loud-mouthed whackadoodles

What can you say for a party that nominates the likes of Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle?

And that takes its marching orders from hateful liars such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh?

Let me guess, you are 15, watch Glee and think Justin Beiber is just awsome! Unlike you, conservatives are educated, successful and in tune with politics. You on the other hand drink from the obama kool-aid bowl and can’t think on your own. Nice…

deprina c.

October 15th, 2010
7:35 pm

LisaX – Obama has run up the deficit along with his buddies in Congress more than Republicans ever did. Sure, he inherited a struggling economy, but instead of focusing on the economy and jobs, he was hell-bent on health care, which is not only unfavorable, it’s going to hurt more than it helps now that people are figuring out what’s actually in the bill.

Keith Jones

October 15th, 2010
7:36 pm

What in the name of blithering idiocy have you been smoking. No surprise though. When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it & a moral code that justifies it. – Frederic Bastiat ~ Cynthia, I’m sure you’re a nice person but you’re clearly pathologically incapable of seeing through the moocher fantasy you’ve been marinading in & created for yourself. There isn’t even a basic starting point to have a conversation with you for you’re too philosophically far from reality. Give every man thy ear but few thy voice. – William Shakespeare.

Sid Farcas

October 15th, 2010
7:37 pm

Ivan

October 15th, 2010
7:34 pm
I love the “teleprompter” myth. Obama didn’t need one to wipe the floor with McCain in three debates.

And insults to Obama’s intelligence from the party of W & Palin?!? What a joke.

Obama is making both look like genius’s. My God, the guy is a moron along with Reid and Pelosi.

LisaX

October 15th, 2010
7:37 pm

Republicans have taken zero responsibility for the financial catastrophe they created.

The Great Depression also occurred right after three Republican administrations: Harding, Coolidge, Hoover.

We are always cleaning up after your messes.

Sid Farcas

October 15th, 2010
7:39 pm

Who is we Lisa? What did the Repubs do that we are paying for? By the way, you don’t pay taxes so you are not part of the “we”.

LisaX

October 15th, 2010
7:39 pm

Actually, the health care bill prevents insurers from denying coverage to those with “preexisting conditions” and extends coverage to 30 million more Americans. The only people who would oppose such things are pretty evil.

LisaX

October 15th, 2010
7:41 pm

WE = liberal Democrats

FDR, Obama

WE clean up after YOUR messes.

And, yes, I pay taxes, you dolt.

Sid Farcas

October 15th, 2010
7:41 pm

LisaX

October 15th, 2010
7:39 pm
Actually, the health care bill prevents insurers from denying coverage to those with “preexisting conditions” and extends coverage to 30 million more Americans. The only people who would oppose such things are pretty evil.

Ok, I think Jersy Shore might be on. You run alonf you little scamp. You have tried to converse with the adults long enough. LisaX, a perfect example of our public school system.

Sid Farcas

October 15th, 2010
7:43 pm

FDR, Obama? What the hell? Your just crapping out things now that make no sense. Hey, you did vote for Obama didn’t you? Your intelligence and lack there of, gave you away. Dolt?

deprina c.

October 15th, 2010
7:43 pm

LisaX – it’s too easy to show you as the whackadoodle. Who caused the housing bubble? It might have burst around 2006, but it started much earlier than 2006 – probably closer to 2002. You can’t blame President Bush for everything (although he’s no perfect by any means). Could it be the likes of Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, who run the Finance Committees in Congress and passed bills that Bill Clinton signed to force banks to lend money to people who couldn’t afford houses in the first place? Try Googling “The Community Reinvestment Act” and see what good it did us all every since it was passed.

hit em in November and 2012

October 15th, 2010
7:45 pm

Oh, pity poor Obama. He’s just such a nice man just like Jimmy Carter: another idiot

Please. Obama blames Bush if he stubs his toe.

I would like to ask Obama, Pelosi, Reid and all you libs the same question Pelosi asked in 2003: “Mr. President, where are the jobs?” Oh yeah, there were more jobs then.

Okay, go ahead and call me a racist since I disagree.

bxnyc

October 15th, 2010
7:45 pm

Reading the majority of posts to Ms. Tuckers column, its painfully clear why the state of georgia has the representatives it has. These are people stuck in the 19th century, still pis-s-ed off that their idea of america is dying that they bury their collective heads in the sand while claiming I’M NOT A RACIST/BIGOT. The cowed media refuses to challenge them and uses innuendo and platitudes to deflect because after all the most important thing is getting face time on tv or space in print and people supposedly busy with their daily lives accept soundbites and distractions as fact. Here’s a fact, you cant hold back progress, the younger generation(18-40) will soon take over and the bigots homeschooling and training their offspring will soon find their endeavor futile, in other words you eventually lose.

Sid Farcas

October 15th, 2010
7:45 pm

deprina c. although I think what you are trying to do, educate lisax, you would be better off sticking a hot poker in your eye. She is not even old enough to vote.

LisaX

October 15th, 2010
7:46 pm

Take some responsibility, deprina c. You Republicans ran the show from 2000-2006. And then everything fell apart. You mean all of you together couldn’t stop poor little Barney Frank?!? And let me guess, you pick on him because he’s openly gay, right? Anyway, you are all obviously incompetent if you somehow let Barney Frank mess up the whole world while you were running it. What a laugh.

LisaX

October 15th, 2010
7:47 pm

Hey, Sid, you are just like the bully I beat up in 8th grade. You never made it to 9th, did you?

Sid Farcas

October 15th, 2010
7:48 pm

Yeah bxnyc, we are all bigots and you are all saints. get the f*#k out of here! You dems own the market when it comes to racism bi*ch! You are the most intollerant group of people walking the face of the earth.

SukieTawdry

October 15th, 2010
7:48 pm

What planet are you on, Cynthia? Damn.

Malcolm

October 15th, 2010
7:49 pm

The Republicans went crazy because a black man was elected president. They created this mess and then have tried to oppose everything Obama has done to rectify matters.

Sid Farcas

October 15th, 2010
7:49 pm

Lisax, you couldn’t beat your way out of a wet paperbag. You would need directions to do so. Can’t think on your own, don’t you know?

Ivan

October 15th, 2010
7:50 pm

Glenn Beck attracted a bunch of angry white people at his rally. The liberal rally, by contrast, showed this country’s true diversity.

Sid Farcas

October 15th, 2010
7:50 pm

Malcolm, we went crazy because a socialist got voted in. You all went crazy because he was black, that is why most of his supporters voted for him. You are all a bunch of racists.

Sid Farcas

October 15th, 2010
7:51 pm

What liberal rally Ivan? Damn son, another libtard joins the hate group from the left.

Jeff

October 15th, 2010
7:51 pm

Oh, yes: The way Republicans and conservative Democrats have abused the filibuster, their majority is certainly “surmountable”. The Senate desperately needs reforming, but how?

Unsubscribe

October 15th, 2010
7:52 pm

Wow. Shame on you AJC for lending your name to Ms. Tucker’s drivel. Each of her words compromises your credibility. As a lifelong Atlantan, I am embarrassed to see the name of my fine city associated with this piece. It is the final straw. I’ll find balanced and reality-based viewpoints elswhere.

LisaX

October 15th, 2010
7:52 pm

It’s obvious that Republicans are simply plutocrats. They talk about “small business” but they’re really thinking about “big business.” Look at all the dirty money Karl Rove is channeling through shadow groups. Why won’t they come clean about where all that cash is coming from? This will be a bigger scandal than Watergate when it breaks.

Sid Farcas

October 15th, 2010
7:53 pm

Jeff, you can’t be serious. Research filibusters and I think you will see the dems had plenty when the repubs ran the house. And they will be doing more after 11/02.

Sid Farcas

October 15th, 2010
7:54 pm

That away lisax, crap out more baseless facts that you get off the Moveon.org website. Damn girl, you are one unimformed libtard.

Ivan

October 15th, 2010
7:54 pm

The rally on October, 2010, that attracted tens of thousands of supporters. Turn off Glenn Beck and visit reality once in a while, eh, buffoon?

LisaX

October 15th, 2010
7:56 pm

Wow, “Sid”, did you make up “libtard” all on your own? What a substantive response to reach for a trite right-wing cliche. But we are talking about a Republican here.

Sid Farcas

October 15th, 2010
7:57 pm

Well, this has been fun. Mental gymnastics with liberals is always amusing. Remember, in November the pain of the losses will eventually go away but, your stupidity will last you a life time. You are so screwed.
POWER TO THE PEOPLE BABY’S!

Sid Farcas

October 15th, 2010
7:59 pm

Ivan

October 15th, 2010
7:54 pm
The rally on October, 2010, that attracted tens of thousands of supporters. Turn off Glenn Beck and visit reality once in a while, eh, buffooN

Oh that small one that no one covered? yeah Ivan that was a big success. Hope you were there wasting your time butt muncher. What a joke! Half the crowd that Beck had and more the racist hate mongers!

Malcolm

October 15th, 2010
8:00 pm

Republicans are the most racist people in the country. Check out that sign they put up in Grand Junction, Colorado.

LisaX

October 15th, 2010
8:02 pm

What you mean is power to the corporations. That’s what Republicans want. And that’s what Citizens United has given them. Where is Rove getting all those millions for his lousy attack ads? And who is paying for them?

Ivan

October 15th, 2010
8:03 pm

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, Republicans. The Democratic ground game is coming to life! Just like in 2006 and 2008. Remember . . . ?