After President Obama’s State of the Union, quite a number of Congressional Republicans were both perplexed and almost outraged. Why, the Republicans had won overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate. Why wasn’t the President seeking cooperation? Why wasn’t he acknowledging that the “people had spoken”? How could he not “listen” to them? One even declared that the President needed a “reality check.”
I have no inside track to the President. I’ve never met the man, and I think he’s made a number of mistakes, many of which weren’t necessary and got in the way of what he wanted to do. I also think he’s gone overboard in a number of areas. Technically, I’m a registered Republican and always have been, and even was staff director for a Republican Congressman and served in the Reagan Administration. More to the point, I’m not terribly happy with either party, and I suspect I’m far from the only one.
As for the President, why would he want to “cooperate” with Republicans? They have a radically different ideology than his, and one even more right-wing than the beliefs of the majority of Americans [just as the Congressional Democrats have an ideology far more left-wing than the majority of Americans], and they’ve rebuffed what few attempts he’s made in that direction. Republicans have been very clear on what they want – and that’s nothing for anyone but business. “No,” if you will, except for “yes” to big business and vested interests. They harp on the need for lower taxes, despite the fact that individual tax rates are the lowest they’ve been in more than sixty years and that the country needs massive infrastructure replacement and repair; they want less government interference, i.e., less regulation on business, especially on big business and the financial community that has already wrecked the economy once; and they’re demanding a repeal of health insurance just gained by millions of Americans… and that’s just for starters. Exactly why would a President want to “cooperate” with a Congress whose agenda is to dismantle what few things he has been able to do?
As for the people speaking, well… the people spoke twice in electing and reelecting Obama, and the Congressional Republicans didn’t listen to the people then, but they’re expecting him to listen when they “won”? But did the Republicans even win in the larger sense? Oh, there’s no doubt they won the majority of the votes cast in all those districts and states, but given the fact that turn-out was just about the lowest on record, because it was an off-year election and because a significant number of Americans are disgusted with both parties, to characterize the GOP majority as a mandate of any sort is misleading at best. Obama actually won far more votes than the Republicans in 2008 and 2012, and the Republicans certainly didn’t consider that a mandate.
Reality check for the President? What about for the Republicans?
And what about some “cooperation” in the areas where they actually agree… and there are more than a few of those. That way, we could at least see some progress.