Republicans are already off on the wrong foot with their newfound power, deciding to disrespect President Obama in a manner that is bad for the country, and bad for them.
The GOP is already showing that it’s forgetting the lessons of 1994, which demonstrated that in a crunch, the country rallies to the president, not to Congress. By showing him the finger, they are on a path of confrontation that will do great harm.
First we had Senate Minority Leader’s Mitch McConnell’s contention that “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
This is not the top priority of the American people. Their top priority is fixing the economy, and if the GOP is perceived as intransigent – and White House replaying of this statement will assist in such perception management – it will harm McConnell’s party.
But what’s more, fixing the economy SHOULD BE McCONNELL’S TOP PRIORITY TOO. There is massive suffering out there. People don’t want to wait two years. Having no relationship with the president isn’t going to help get something done to move things along, and “something” could be McConnell’s own economic agenda.
Of course, everyone knows Republicans want Obama to be a one-term president. But it’s NOT ALRIGHT for Republican leaders to say it’s their top priority. The country needs to function. There may be a crisis where McConnell and Obama have to work together. Having a GOP leader be so explicit about his hatred for the president of the United States is bad for the nation.
Next up was the sorry spectacle of Republican leaders canceling a meeting with the president because they were just too busy right now, thank you very much. Not only is this the wrong way to treat a president, but it allowed the White House to make the right PR move and take the classy high road, declining to even question Republicans’ motives while letting observers draw the obvious conclusion.
Amid such maneuverings, it’s hard not to question how much politics entered into the decision by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), the Republican point man on the START treaty, to say he wants the measure considered next year, when he will have several more GOP colleagues in the Senate. Kyl has been talking to the White House for a year, and they’ve been responding to his concerns. Absent politics, his move looks pretty odd.
Republicans must at least enter this next year with a spirit of cooperation. Otherwise, they might as well renominate Bob Dole, because Obama may well rise again.