Barack Obama, wrote David Corn earlier this week, repeating a Democratic talking point, should, in his speech tonight, “Castigate GOP Obstructionism“.
The real story, however, is not one of Republican obstructionism, but of Democratic obstinance. The Obama team decided early, reports ABC News’s Rich Klein, in his piece about Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book, The Price of Politics, decided to “to forego bipartisanship for the sake of speed around the stimulus bill was encapsulated by his then-chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel: ‘We have the votes. F— ’em,’ he’s quoted in the book as saying.”
The day after Democrats celebrate Bill Clinton, Klein reminds us how the current Democratic president differs from his partisan predecessor:
“Obama doesn’t really have the joy of the game. Clinton basically loved negotiating with a bunch of pols, about anything,” [former Clinton Treasury Secretary and Obama economic advisor Larry] Summers said. “Whereas, Obama, he really didn’t like these guys.”
Obama simply put didn’t make the effort to hammer out deals with Republicans as had Clinton. He even, according to Woodward, had problems working with fellow Democrats.
No wonder he was, as Jennifer Rubin reports in her commentary on the Woodward excerpts, the real obstacle to progress:
The retelling of the debt-ceiling negotiations, and of Obama’s decision to up the ante by $400 billion on taxes, reminds us that Obama, in essence, spiked the deal. He simply did not get the job done. From Woodward’s book: “It is a fact that President Obama was handed a miserable, faltering economy and faced a recalcitrant Republican opposition. . . . But presidents work their will — or should work their will — on important matters of national business. . . . Obama has not.” Or, as Republicans say, he has not lead.
There are plenty of tidbits suggesting that “adults in the room,” as the Democrats like to put it, were congressional leaders who cleaned up the mess the White House left.
Bear this in mind in mind as the incumbent claims Republicans would cooperate more should he win reelection. As the record makes clear, it’s not Republicans who need to change.
*his aversion to negotiation with legislators — of both political parties.