Obama would like the public to think he can’t negotiate and that to do so would be unheard of. But in this, as in so many other things, he’s lying. What is actually going on here is that, in the past, presidents who have had to deal with divided government (as Obama is; the House is in Republican hands) have always known that in such a situation they must negotiate. Whichever party they have been affiliated with, and whether you think they were good presidents or bad ones, they have kept faith with the basic gentleman’s/woman’s agreement on which our government has always run, and that is that if the other side was duly elected to be in control of another branch of government, that group has some legitimate power and must be negotiated with.
Obama is different. He had the brilliant idea that, although Republicans are in control of the House right now, they have no power unless they agree with him, and it is okay for him to defy them because it will have no repercussions on either him or his party (which is largely aligned with him). Therefore he can Just Say No to whatever Republican demands might be, and blame them for the failure to come to any sort of agreement. And the reason he is able to get away with this is a simple one: he knows the media will not call him on it, but will instead support him and amplify his message.
It’s a toxic combination, and that’s what’s “unprecedented”—at least in this country.
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Obama and the Shutdown/Debt Ceiling Issue
It doesn't get more true than this: