Watching President Obama’s press conference this afternoon, in which he talked of trying to find ways to cooperate and build consensus with Republicans, you could see the dominant narrative of the next two years already taking shape.
“No one party will be able to dictate where we go from here,” Obama said. “We must find common ground to make progress on some uncommonly difficult problems.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made a similar point this morning. “We’ve got to start working together… Legislation’s the art of compromise,” he said on the Today Show.
In the days before the election, we heard a lot of talk from John Boehner and others rejecting the idea of compromise. Today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was singing the same tune.
“I would say to our friends on the other side of the aisle, in listening to what they’ve had to say this morning, that they may have missed the message somewhat,” he said, apparently referring to Reid. “Their view is that we haven’t cooperated enough. I think what the American people were saying yesterday is that they appreciated us saying ‘No’ to the things that the American people indicated they weren’t in favor of.”
So to review what seem to be the major Republican themes:
GOP Talking Point 1: The Democrats lost because Obama refused to compromise.
GOP Talking Point 2 — Compromise? Hell no, we aren’t going to compromise!
In other words, our leaders can’t come to an agreement on whether it’s important to come to an agreement.