Ok, GOP, Let’s Talk About Compromise November 3, 2010Posted by Jamie Friedland in Congress, Election, Politics.
Tags: Bipartisanship, Compromise, Election 2010, GOP, John Boehner, Obama, Tea Party
I made the mistake of turning on the TV this morning. Ms. Generic Correspondent was interviewing triumphant supporters from John Boehner’s district in Ohio about what their win means for America. What I heard floored me. This was live and I was too stunned to think to record it, so I’m paraphrasing:
OHIO RESIDENT: “For the last 2 years, it’s been Obama’s way or the highway. Finally we’ll get some compromise in this country.”
REPORTER: “You really think this election will result in more compromise?”
OHIO RESIDENT: “Yup. That’s what this election said to Congress. It’s time for Democrats to actually work with Republicans now.”
For starters, we really need to set the record straight on the alleged liberalism of Obama’s first two years. He embraced tax cuts and offshore drilling and punted on much of the liberal agenda. There’s a reason the base didn’t come out to support Democrats yesterday, and it’s not because we went too far. More on this later.
Back to Boehner’s band of merry [white] men, this was not an isolated incident. Most of the guys that were interviewed in this segment spoke about compromise. What’s wrong with a conciliatory post-victory tone? It’s a disingenuous 180-degree reversal. Sure, one district’s Kool-Aid could go bad, but Boehner’s? That’s bizarre.
Just last week, in Boehner’s own words:
“Now is not a time for compromise, and I can tell you we will not compromise on our principles.”
And you want to tell Democrats about misinterpreting a mandate? Please.
I know conservative activists only listen to their Fox News echo chamber, but surely they must at least listen to their candidate when he’s on Fox News! Especially when that man is now a glowing beacon in the House of Representatives, piercing the darkness to guide them through.… ok, I don’t have an end to this metaphor – the man is orange.
The point is, the next two years will be nothing but gridlock. Congressional Republicans have come right out and said that their single highest legislative priority is making sure Obama doesn’t get reelected.
That means the only “compromise” they will propose or accept is the kind that makes Obama less appealing to his base. They will advance nothing that doesn’t detract from Obama’s re-electability. House Republicanswill reach across the aisle, but they will extend a sword, not their empty hands; they will allow Obama to move forward only by pulling himself up their blade towards the hilt.
With this strategy in place, let me assure you, compromise is dead. Conservatives hijacked the contemporary narrative, but in retrospect we will see that Obama briefly attempted centrist bipartisanship – and it failed. Liberals were unsatisfied and conservatives either feigned or successfully deluded themselves into their trusty partisan outrage.
Obama’s attempt at compromise was unilateral disarmament, and the GOP hit with everything it had the moment he let down his shield. Clearly, that was good short-term electoral strategy. Obama had hoped that Americans would appreciate this effort to transcend partisan politics. That did not happen.
So yesterday, the GOP won big. But conservatives, don’t you dare for a second claim to have the moral high ground and make false overtures of cooperation. That’s not what’s going to happen and it’s not even what you want. You wanted gridlock and now you’ve got it. Congratulations.
Now own it. Or as your mercifully endangered Mama Grizzlies would say, “Man Up.”