Friday, January 29, 2010
The Field of Political Battle
A remarkable public meeting occurred today between President Obama and congressional Republicans, during which the beleaguered Commander-in-Chief had this to say:
“Both sides can take some blame for a sour climate on Capitol Hill. What I can do maybe to help is to try to bring Republican and Democratic leadership together on a more regular basis with me. That’s I think a failure on my part.”
Such is the fatal folly in the thinking of those who advocate appeasement. What Barack Obama has yet to recognize - and what he MUST accept as inviolable political law if he is to have any substantive successes as president - is that the Republican party has a vested interest in his failure. What's more, it isn't because there are ideological gaps between the two sides which he needs to bridge; it isn't because he has made faux pas in the social maneuvering so necessary in Washington; it isn't because he has been too radical, or too bold, or too unwilling to consult Congress, or any of the other ridiculous excuses his adversaries concoct.
The sole reason Republicans have not, are not, and will not work with the president is because he is a Democrat. Should any of his policies prove popular and/or successful, it will harm their organization in upcoming elections; should they prove unpopular and/or unsuccessful, they can count on electoral triumphs, such as those seen with Chris Christie in New Jersey, Bob McDonnell in Virginia, and Scott Brown in Massachusetts. If the Republicans were as chaotically structured and internally divisive as the Democrats, their efforts might ultimately prove impotent (just see how pitifully the Democrats tried to obstruct the agenda of George W. Bush during the last decade, even though Republicans had far smaller majorities then than we do now). That said, they are nothing if not a disciplined, well-oiled machine, highly tuned to tactical perfection in every important regard, from churning out ideologically consistent messages (albeit ones that are logically flawed and intellectually dishonest) and deluging important candidates with treasure troves of campaign cash to using brilliant skulduggery to destroy Democratic opponents and quasi-coercive strongarming to force straying independent-minded Republicans back into the fold.
Such a group will never be open to persuasion. That is why Obama must accept reality and resolve to best them on the field of political battle.
For my thoughts on Obama's State of the Union speech, see: