WASHINGTON, April 29, 2013 — President Obama decisively defeated the Republican candidate for president in 2012. Support for the Republican Party is shrinking fast. The GOP just performed an autopsy on its own Party to figure out what’s wrong.
But still Republicans don’t get it, despite all their public soul-searching, choosing instead to say the polls are skewed, their own candidates do a poor job of delivering the GOP’s message or the media has bamboozled the public. All they know is that the devil incarnate is still in the White House and will be for the next four years.
So what’s a Party to do? Easy. Blame President Obama for everything that goes wrong. Benghazi? It’s Obama’s fault. Boston bombings? Obama again. Some Republicans even got a twofer on this one: Senator Lindsey Graham compared the Boston bombings to Benghazi and blames….you got it, Obama.
Out of a job? Blame Obama. Your girlfriend dumped you? Blame Obama. Your cat’s up a tree? Blame…you know who.
Obama bashing has been the typical Republican response to almost everything that happens in our lives. The President did get some grudging credit for the death of Osama bin Laden two years ago.
But there were others who said things like, “He didn’t kill Osama. The Navy Seals did.” Yes they did and Obama made sure to praise their heroic actions. But still it wasn’t enough.
Has President Obama been the perfect president? Far from it. He has made some bad calls, clumsy mistakes, misjudgments, and omissions. However, he has been working to move the country forward, too cautiously for some of us and too fast for others.
Where he made his biggest and first misstep in his first term was in not schmoozing Congress — the Senate and the House, Republicans and Democrats — building good will. Obama should have taken a page out of Hillary Clinton’s playbook when she went to the Senate, where she was generally loathed by nearly all Republicans.
When she left to become Secretary of State, they were falling all over themselves, praising her work as Senator Clinton and as one of them. Hillary was a great schmoozer and that probably was one of the reasons she was successful as Secretary of State.
Slowly, almost painfully, President Obama has reached out, extending an olive branch first to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and through him to the House Republicans, only to see the olive branch shredded and his (and Boehner’s) dream of a Grand Bargain go down in flames, time after time.
Some sage suggested the Obama-Republican relationship was not unlike meeting your date in a restaurant, only your date never shows up and the meal never gets ordered. Obama is sitting alone at the table with a menu in his hand.
He himself put it well Sunday night at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner when he said, “…some folks think I don’t spend enough time with Congress. ‘Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell’ they ask. Really? Why don’t YOU get a drink with Mitch McConnell?” The audience of Republicans and Democrats and journalists laughed, knowingly.
So where does that leave the rest of us, voters, taxpayers, citizens? Sort of in limbo. As long as Republicans bash the president, indulging in the blame game for every crack in the road and playing to their narrow base back at home, we are stalled.
Just look at the sequester, which was a rare bipartisan effort with the White House’s blessing, to force Republicans and Democrats to come to the table and deal with the thorny problem of the $1.2 trillion deficit reduction over the next decade. It was supposed to be so painful that no one in Congress would let it happen.
Instead, the sequester seems ensconced for some time to come, except when it inconveniences the travel plans of members of Congress, their families and corporate pals. Then Congress passes an exception with the “FAA budget flexibility” bill so everyone can fly the friendly skies without long waits at the airport. But forget about all the other furloughs and draconian cuts in government services that the sequester wrought, from ending food programs for the elderly or closing preschools. Those can continue to get the sequester squeeze.
So who was to blame for the travel delays? Who else, but President Obama. Just listen to Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa), chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the FAA: “The Congress is stepping in to correct the problems created by the administration’s gross mismanagement,” adding that the White House was playing “political games.”
So the next time your kids act up and or get a bad report card, don’t expect them to own up. They will just follow the lead of Republicans in Congress: It’s Obama’s fault.
To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib at the Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. She can also be heard on Democrats for America’s Future. She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media.
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