“We want someone willing to write up the “stop hitting yourself” version of political polarization in the most hackish form possible.” “What about Fred Barnes? Never hurts to return to the classics!”
Obama should have known better. He violated a decades-long rule of thumb in Washington that an initiative significantly affecting tens of millions of Americans should have popular support and a bipartisan majority before being approved by Congress. Since Obamacare had neither, it has stirred protests and disunity, anger at Washington, and political polarization.
Obamacare was “the biggest mistake of his political career,” says Jeff Anderson, the executive director of the 2017 Project. “It showed his political naïveté.” It was especially damaging to Obama, Anderson says, “from his perspective of trying to transform the United States of America.”
The raw partisanship of Obamacare’s passage was a preview of Obama’s presidency. Rather than woo Republicans, Obama attacks them, questioning their motives and values. He makes no effort to compromise. He spurns bipartisanship. After Republicans won the House in 2010, he began to turn away from Congress and govern through executive orders.
Right, Obama just unilaterally decided not to collaborate with Republicans. It’s not as if congressional Republicans made a public decision not to collaborated with Obama on any major issues. Clearly, Obama should have done the bipartisan thing and given Republicans a complete veto over everything.
It gets even better when you get down to specifics:
It didn’t have to be this way. But when the health care legislation was being drafted, Republican senators who wanted to have a role in shaping the bill were shut out. A small role might have satisfied them and won their votes. A few concessions surely would have. But none was offered. “Imagine FDR doing something like that,” Anderson says. “Or LBJ. No way.”
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh mercy. The interminable process of trying everything to get some Republican support for the ACA — the price of securing the votes of conservative Democrats — is described as offering no concessions at all. Oh, and conservatives have always loved FDR and LBJ.
What’s surprising is that Obama failed to understand he could use Republicans to his advantage. In the early weeks of his presidency, he and Democrats stiffed Republicans in drafting the stimulus. Had they accepted tax cuts proposed by Republicans, the stimulus would no doubt have given a bigger jolt to the economy. And the package would have been bipartisan.
Other than the facts that Obama did in fact agree to include more tax cuts in the ARRA in exchange for getting the Republican support he needed, and replacing aid to state governments and spending with tax cuts made the ARRA less stimulative, this still makes absolutely no sense.
In negotiating with Iran, Obama could have argued for a better nuclear deal by invoking his ornery Republican opponents in Congress. They will attack the deal furiously and make it impossible for the American public to swallow, he could have told the Iranians—unless you offer concessions. Instead, it was Obama who offered concessions, Republicans are tearing the deal apart, and the public is wary.
Other than the facts that Iran did in fact offer substantial concessions, that Republican opposition is not in fact a meaningful source of leverage, and in the unlikely event that anybody involved with the negotiations cared they would know that Republicans would attack any Iran deal signed by Obama, this still makes absolutely no sense.
But it’s Obamacare that is the president’s unending nightmare. Had he allowed Republican participation and produced a bipartisan bill, the political drag wouldn’t exist. If fixes were needed, he could ask Congress to make them. Even today, Obama insists he would entertain changes. But he’s failed to start negotiations. And when Republicans announce a proposed fix, he simply says no.
If only Obama had gotten non-existent potential Republican support for the ACA, he would be able to get “fixes” like replacing the ACA with a package of tort reform and preempting state regulations! (Only not really, because Republicans can’t even pretend to coalesce around a terrible alternative to the ACA no Democrat would support anyway.) What was Obama thinking?
You know, sometimes when you want the most shameless, comprehensively dishonest and intelligence-insulting hackery, you still have to go to the best.