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

Bubba Bob

October 15th, 2010
7:49 am

It’s all the GOPs fault. Obama would have everything working great now if not for them. Right…..

Peadawg

October 15th, 2010
7:50 am

“If he had ignored recalcitrant Republicans, for example, his health care legislation might have become law without months of damaging political drama.”

The longer it took to pass the Insurance Company Enrichment Act, the better. Have fun getting them to cover you surgery…it will cost ya an arm and a leg(pun intended). It’s just funny how gullible people(including Cynthia) are in believing this will lower premiums.

Bubba Bob

October 15th, 2010
7:51 am

“Obama didn’t take every possible opportunity to pin the economic mess on his predecessor.”

That’s a load of bull. All he’s done is blame Bush for the economic mess. Not that some of that (not all) isn’t well placed but to claim he didn’t take every opportunity it to ignore almost every speech he’s given on the subject.

Booger Presley

October 15th, 2010
7:52 am

Axelrod is not very good at spin, but he does deserve an “A” for effort.

Regarding compromise, most of Obamas programs such as Cap/Trade, ObamaCare etc have no room for compromise. Obama plan was to shove these things thru against the will of the American people. What is there to compromise on? Obama had already made his decision.

The Obama blame-game is over. His base, whats left of it, has abandoned him.

Peadawg

October 15th, 2010
7:55 am

“Obama didn’t take every possible opportunity to pin the economic mess on his predecessor.”

That’s bullshyt and you know it Cynthia. It says a lot about you that you can tell such a bold face lie like that.

This just in

October 15th, 2010
7:56 am

Headline DC

The Obama administration is set to report Friday that the federal budget deficit exceeded $1 trillion for the second straight year, providing critics of government spending with fresh ammunition ahead of the midterm congressional elections.

This is all Bush’s fault, OK? That still doesn’t fix it.

HavocMaker

October 15th, 2010
7:57 am

Ms. Tucker you forgot to add “socialist” to the list of things that the Republican party has painted the president with.

I believe that you neglect the fact that he has to try to ‘whoo’ Republicans into agreeing with him in order to share the blame should some of his ideas fail. Which they have.

Happy Friday,
HAVOC

Peadawg

October 15th, 2010
7:58 am

“This is all Bush’s fault, OK?”

Ofcourse. Didn’t you know? He’s able to do all this from his ranch in Texas. :roll:

Booger Presley

October 15th, 2010
8:00 am

Obama had the wind at his back and a majority in the Congress. Did he really need the Republicans? The Dems couldve passed what they wanted and did so.

Now it is time to reap their self-created whirlwind.

This just in

October 15th, 2010
8:00 am

“If we get to 2013 and policymakers don’t look like they have a credible plan to deal with the deficit, then interest rates are likely to rise significantly and that will jeopardize the recovery we have under way at that time,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

This is serious hitting the fan stuff. Who’s going to lead us out of this mess?

This just in

October 15th, 2010
8:03 am

I’m trying to do as much cutting and pasting as CT and Granny

This just in

October 15th, 2010
8:04 am

A multi-state lawsuit against the federal health care overhaul will go forward, after a Florida federal judge on Thursday rejected the Obama administration’s request to dismiss the case.

Oh,oooooooooooh

andygrd

October 15th, 2010
8:05 am

Creative Writing 101 – Today’s post by Ms. Tucker…..
“Obama didn’t take every possible opportunity to pin the economic mess on his predecessor”. LOL..LOL..ROFL…. But I must admit Ms. Tucker, you perhaps maybe correct with that statement…. President Obama may not have blamed former President Bush, I guess once out of 1000 comments he did not blame him….… LOL..LOL..LOL…
During my absence, I see that nothing has changed… I thought Hannity was bad, with today’s post… or dribble, I think you have set a new standard for absurdity….
With today’s post, it would better be served in the newspapers found in the grocery store! You know the ones, the ones with the headlines, “By babies father was from another planet” …….
Ms. T… Thank you so much this early morning entertainment……….. without merit, but entertaining…..

Good Grief

October 15th, 2010
8:06 am

CT, you’re talking about the president who, during the only televised health care debate I can remember, basically told the Republicans to suck it up because he had won. This is the same president who thinks Americans are confused by news and information. His VP says that administration’s accomplishments are “just too hard to explain.” And beyond that, both parties (but moreso the Democrats) have a history of trying to change rules so that bipartisanship isn’t even needed.

Please, CT, please stop idolizing this man and look at what he really is. He is the most unaccomplished and ill-prepared man ever to be elected President. He’s yet to serve a full term in office for any elected position. The only way he was elected in Illinois was by having the opposition kicked off the ballot. Instead of meaningful legislation as a Senator, it was more important for him to write two books.

Peadawg

October 15th, 2010
8:10 am

“I thought Hannity was bad, with today’s post… or dribble, I think you have set a new standard for absurdity….”

LMAO! Love that comment! Cynthia is the Hannity of the Democratic party. 2 peas in a pod.

Blueflag

October 15th, 2010
8:11 am

Cynthia, we have a chief executive who has/had sky-high public support and unassailable majorities in both houses of congress, and yet YOU reach the conclusion that his efforts to compromise are among the chief root causes of his growing failures and inadequacies? Please. The man (and his team) are lousy leaders, executors and governors.

NET: If your party controls (with super majority) the Executive branch *and* the Legislative branch, you have a (very) sympathetic print and TV media, and your agenda fails the country and the economy, then YOU (as the President) *are* the problem, not your opponents. res ipsa loquitur

Bubba

October 15th, 2010
8:12 am

I googled “Obama blames Bush” and got 679,000 results.

Jack

October 15th, 2010
8:14 am

The blame game is so old and so tired: it reveals liberals’ total inability to think clearly. And if Obama’s administration appears to be incompetent, it’s because it’s incompetent. It’s led by a charming young man who’s competent only at being charming. Charm will garner votes, but it won’t solve problems.

This just in

October 15th, 2010
8:15 am

WASHINGTON — The Social Security Administration is set to announce that more than 58 million retirees and disabled Americans will have to go a second straight year without a cost-of-living increase in benefits.

The government will make it official Friday morning when the inflation numbers for September are released.

It will be only the second year without an increase since automatic adjustments for inflation were adopted in 1975. The first year was this year.

It’s just looking worse and worse for BO and his brothers.

How could you stand with the people that actually support this man.
Nov. 2 will be a referendum on BO’s first two tears of “leadership”.

Rick H.

October 15th, 2010
8:16 am

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

I didn’t know the AJC turned into a satirical comedy rag.

This just in

October 15th, 2010
8:17 am

Should have been years, but it kinda works both ways

Chad

October 15th, 2010
8:18 am

Cynthia, this pathetic article just shows that you realize Obama is a failure. I guess we can commend you for trying to put together a good reason for liberals and blacks to go out and vote for the democrats but the show is over. You can continue to talk about Bush and the mean republicans but your dear President admitted himself yesterday that he should have allowed more input on the stimulus from the republicans. Instead, I believe he told my side to shut up and sit down, he didn’t want to hear from our side. And i’m sure you haven’t forgotten the “I won” remark.

wlw0911

October 15th, 2010
8:19 am

Your an idiot Cynthia, maybe if he didn’t make everything so left wing to begin with, he wouldn’t of had to do so much negotiating and compromising. Best president of all time right???

hdhd

October 15th, 2010
8:19 am

I wish I could take a vacation to whatever fantasy world you live in.

To Obama, Axlerod, etc. “working together” simply means voting for their legislation without any input. Wait until next year, then they will get a taste of what “working together” actually means.

Preacher

October 15th, 2010
8:19 am

The Right has started to label democrats as republicans. If Being the hannity of the left is a criticism, then you concede that hannity is an al queda supporting traitor who should be in prison along with rush and beck

Joseph

October 15th, 2010
8:20 am

Cynthia is, and has been, the most racist newsperson I have ever read. Obama is halfrican, Cynthia. Maybe you can see beyond race and see him for who he really is.

Keep up the good fight!

October 15th, 2010
8:20 am

Bubba…I googled Bush blames Democrats and got 15 million results, Bush blames Clinton 612000 results on bing. So what.

Franklin Raines

October 15th, 2010
8:20 am

This is why the AJC is going down in circulation. This woman is crazy or thinks the readers are,. the Democrats have been running congress and the senate since 2007. The recession started in 2008, the financial meltdown started under Democratic control. The housing mess was created by Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, and Democrats and there is evidence and Cynthia wants to point fingers at Republicans whom were blocked by Nancy P to introduce any legislation. Mass (Ted Kennedy) seat went to a Republican a liberal state that votes Democrat ALL of the time. Lets see, Business are turning against Obama, Warren Buffet prime example, whites are turning against Obama, Hispanics turning, I even talked with a Democrat that never voted other than Democrat and now they wish they voted for Hillaryand blacks and Cynthia still blame Republicans when all the evidence points to Obama’s failures as Obama and the radical Democrats fault.

Cynthia, get another job, you are toast.

dougmo2

October 15th, 2010
8:21 am

This posting of your blog today confirms what I have always suspected. In your eyes CT, Obama can do no wrong. What does it take from our beloved ruler to convince you that he (and his minions) are the problem, not the solution?

Dave

October 15th, 2010
8:22 am

Obama’s way of working with the GOP is “Do it my way or we won’t be doing anything at all.” Obama is continuing to spout the nonsense he did during the campaign. Tell the people whatever they want to hear, promise them the moon and the stars…..and then do very littl of what he promised. Obama, Reid and Pelosi are packing their bags right now, because they know the end is near. Like it says in the Good Book, “The Devil hs come down with great fury, because he knows that his time is short.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself….

Scott

October 15th, 2010
8:23 am

Nice try Cynthia. This is one of the worst, piece of trash articles you have ever written, and you have written some doozies. Obama didn’t need the Republicans and he never tried to “work with” them, and you know it. A failing attempt at revisionist history by liberals like you won’t save the sinking ship that is the Obama administration and the “progressive” agenda. The people are speaking out, and they are saying, “enough!”

John Galt

October 15th, 2010
8:23 am

What an insane title. Republicans have thankfully not broarded the ship to Obamagrad. It seems they are trying to save this republic now. Granted they did spend like drunken sailors with Bush, but maybe they are sober and have learned.

pennski

October 15th, 2010
8:23 am

Obama didn’t need to work with the republicans, he had a majority in both houses of Congress… The demoRATS wouldn’t allow republicans to bring forth amendments on the house floor to any bill.

He didn’t try to work with them @ ALL!!!

Cynthia Is Sexy!!

October 15th, 2010
8:23 am

The Reps just out-foxed the Presidential Fox and now its just a case of sour grapes. Obama never had any intention of compromise, he wanted the Reps to jump on board so when the Shythouse went up in flames they would be trapped inside with him.

Sadly or otherwise its now Obama and the Dems trapped in the inferno of their own making. Even those poor BlueDawgs have been pulled into Obamas Hades.

I could be wrong but seems Obama created this monster and only has himself to blame.

GOPPSU

October 15th, 2010
8:24 am

One has to feel sorry for Cynthia. She appears to be angry and mad. Unfortunately for Cynthia, things will be even worse for her come November. With all the things on Obama’s side…the Senate, the House, the Media….he still managed to screw everything up by overreaching his socialist, anti-business, anti-American agenda.

TnGelding

October 15th, 2010
8:24 am

What planet have you been living on? The health insurance reform is a disaster and will likely be overturned by the courts. It doesn’t cover everyone and increases costs. The tea-partyers will allow the Dems to keep control of Congress, so much for expectations. But Axelrod got it right, the problems were greater than anyone imagined. Reagan started the disaster and Bush compounded it. What if he had expanded Jimmy’s energy policy instead of dismantling it? And reformed Social Security instead of caving to the Dems and raising the tax? Probably one of the most irresponsible acts of any president in modern times.

kerryb

October 15th, 2010
8:25 am

All I had to do was read the first paragraph to see what garbage this column is. How does anyone who writes totally unfactual columns win a Pulitzer Prize? For your information Cynthia the Democratic party and Obama shut the Republicans out of the room the very minute they took charge. I watch some of those committtee meetings on CSPAN in 2009. I couldn’t believe what I saw. The Democrats would not even give the Republicans a chance to speak in these committees. I remember that it was soo bad that one Republican told them that to try and dominate another party in that way usually leads to you being the minority party pretty soon after. That congressman sure got it right didn’t he.

Blueflag

October 15th, 2010
8:25 am

I wanted to add this –

One of my fondest memories is when I called (three years ago) to cancel my subscription to the AJC. They of course offered a lower price special. I declined. They asked me why I was canceling. I gave them three reasons:
(1) They are unable/unwilling to separate editorial perspective from the news, particularly on the front page.
(2) They are unwilling to admit their bias and agenda. Their blatant lack of journalistic integrity galled me.
(3) I was tired of Cynthia Tucker’s drivel making it into my home.

The Call Center rep had no response beyond “we’ll cancel your subscription.”

DB17

October 15th, 2010
8:25 am

This HAS to be a joke. Just when you think Tucker has stretched something too far, along comes another inch! Let’s see here, where to start. Obama promised to bring the parties together.

He and his drivers Nanny Pelosi and Harry Reid had closed door deals; rammed through a near trillion dollar stimulus bill that nobody read that was loaded with special interest pork; rammed through what will be a disaster of epic American proportion known as Obamacare that 2/3 of Americans were vehemently against (as the Republicans were); constantly blamed Republicans in the past (read: Bush & Co.) for current Democrat failures of policy; told his followers to “get in their faces” regarding those who are against Obamacare; goes around the nation like he’s still campaigning in 2008 and trash talking Republicans; on and on and on we can go.

Yet somehow in Tucker’s mind, Obama “tried too hard” to work with Republicans. What are they to do, stand around and bow to His Majesty Obama like stoic philosophers? Can’t wait for the next stretch from Tucker. Less than three weeks before V-Day for Republicans in Congress!

John Bailey

October 15th, 2010
8:26 am

Great comic relief!

Gm

October 15th, 2010
8:26 am

President Obama biggest mistake was he actually thought conservatives whites cared about the plot of America.
Most blacks especially in the south know that whites will support a highly edcuated black male unless he is playing on the football field or basketball court, he actually thought when he was trying to get health care for the poor, and people who where abused by wall street that he would have the support of all people regardless of race.
To most blacks we did not expect anything lesss from these tea klansman and conservatives, from day one they went out to try and undermine the office of the President of the Unites. These racist bigot do not realize when they try to destroy President, the world is looking on and this is why White Americans can not go to any country out side the USA without being victimized and people of color are welcome around the world. Thanks to Newt, Hannity, Beck, Palin people around the world look at American whites as bigots, and hateful people would do anything to destroy the President.
S

granny godzilla

October 15th, 2010
8:26 am

this is a reach even for CT

Bubba

October 15th, 2010
8:27 am

Keep up the good fight!

Bush blames Clinton: 612,000 in 8 years.
Obama blames Bush: 679,000 in 2 years.
Draw your own conclusions.

Big Dog 98

October 15th, 2010
8:28 am

Attention Ms. Tucker,

Buy a dog.
Name him clue.
Then you will have one.

Blueflag

October 15th, 2010
8:28 am

Last comment. (I actually work for a living and my day is starting).

I can’t help but notice the complete lack of SUPPORTING comments under her article ….

Schadenfreude.

carmen m

October 15th, 2010
8:30 am

congratulations

two to three hours a day i devote reading political articles such as yourr.

this is the single most delusional piece of diatribe i have read to date in this particular election cycle.

most of what you write will be directly contradicted by your messiah in the upcoming ny times article

but thats ok, keep marching to your tune, its good foder to illustrate the ignorance

Peadawg

October 15th, 2010
8:30 am

Big Dog 98 @ 8:28

Best comment so far!!!

Good Grief

October 15th, 2010
8:30 am

“Reagan started the disaster and Bush compounded it. ”

Sooooo… Clinton deciding that anyone and everyone should have a house, regardless of their economic situation played absolutely no part in this? Man, I love partisan politics. just blame the other side and don’t worry if what you’re saying is fact or not.

granny spamzilla

October 15th, 2010
8:31 am

While reading this non-sensical opinion piece I almost choked on my peanut butter and spam toasted breakfast sammy.

kerryb

October 15th, 2010
8:31 am

Gm, for your information most racistist reside in the Democratic party and has for over 200 years. You think because they throw everyone elses money at you that they care about you? What they know is that if they do that you will be gullible enough to vote for them. All they want to do is buy your vote. You have probably voted for them for years, has your situation or any other minoritys situation gotten any better?