House Republicans No Match For Obama

President Obama, during the Q&A part of his visit today to the House Republican retreat, explained to Republicans that their use of damaging rhetoric about him in front of their constituents back home—such as claiming that his crazy policies and plans would “destroy America” or that the health care reform bill was part of some kind of “Bolshevik plot“—made it nearly impossible for them then to turn around and work with him on anything, even if they happen to agree on it.

In other words, if Republicans paint Obama as the Devil, then claim that they want to work with him, they are in effect saying they want to make a deal with the Devil.

I’m not sure, but I don’t think that would play well in the Bible Belt, which, of course, is why Republicans, especially in the House of Representatives, have no intention of “working” with the President. 

I encourage anyone who hasn’t seen the event, which ran about an hour and a half, to check it out here or here.  Or read the transcript here.  It was quite unusual, and I have never seen anything like it.

Obama, as usual, was very impressive, not just with his teleprompter-less answers and his understanding of all of the issues raised, but he also impressed with his commitment to get things done.  And surprisingly, he demonstrated a strong willingness to call out Republican questioners who asked questions that were clearly designed to fit nicely in a campaign ad against Democrats back home.

And, of course, after the event was over, Republican leaders were on the tube in full partisan mode.  I doubt if Obama had left the building before Mike Pence was waving around a copy of the Republicans’ policy book, which was featured prominently during the event.

So, here we go again.

UPDATE: Less than an hour after the event, Congressman Trent Franks* from Arizona was on television repeating the Republican line that Obama’s domestic policies will ruin the country and his national security policies are a terrorist’s dream. However, Mr. Franks did manage to say that Obama was “articulate” and that he didn’t think that in his “heart” he meant to do such things.

Well, I guess that’s an improvement.

___________________________________________________________

*Congressman Franks represents a district in Arizona that although geographically widespread, actually comprises largely conservative voters living in the western suburbs of Phoenix.  Anyone who has ever been to those suburbs can easily understand that Democrats aren’t likely to be wildly popular there. So, what motivation does Mr. Franks have to be bi-partisan, when he would be thrown out of office in 11 months, if he were to try it? 
About these ads
Leave a comment

11 Comments

  1. ansonburlingame

     /  January 30, 2010

    duane,

    Thanks for this post and the link to the meeting. Great reading for a snowbound Saturday morning and I am doing so. Probably a blog in rebutal to yours when I am finished.

    Here is an initial obeservation. Job creation.

    Republicans proposed an across the board tax cut. Obama said he would not give “Warren Buffet” a tax cut or “the bankers”. Why not if it in fact will create jobs? He never addressed that question.

    The President pointed out correctly that cutting taxes leaves the government with less money to spend. Based on deficit and debt size he implied “we can’t do that”. YES we can reduce deficits and debt but we MUST reduce the size and scope of government to do so.

    The President (and you) will never agree to reduce the size and scope of government in general. He and you believe that government is the salvation of the “people”. Republicans believe that if government will just “get out of the way” the people will take care of themselves.

    Now THAT is such a fundamental differnce of views I see no way out other than through elections. You now have your time in the barrel and should do as the President thinks best. We will see what happens in Nov 2010.

    But don’t ask me or conservatives to back off in criticism. Higher taxes and more government or lower taxes (across the board) and less government. It all boils down to that fundamental difference at least in terms of job creation.

    May the best man/idea win.

    I have not read the remainder of the Q and A where the real “meat” of this session is contained. The President’s “speech” at the begining was simply a shortened version of the SOTU address and probably put eveyone to sleep.

    Anson

    Anson

    Like

    Reply
  2. Duane Graham

     /  January 30, 2010

    Anson,

    You wrote,

    Republicans proposed an across the board tax cut. Obama said he would not give “Warren Buffet” a tax cut or “the bankers”. Why not if it in fact will create jobs? He never addressed that question.

    Of course, he did address it. Taking on Mike Pence, he explained that it was giving two major tax cuts—mostly to the wealthiest Americans—that helped get us into the mess we’re in now, along with the wars and prescription drug program. So, naturally, if that is Obama’s belief, he isn’t going to repeat that mistake. I heard Pence demagogue this very issue not long after the event was over. It’s very distressing to have the President go out of his way (and risk alienating his political base) to court Republicans and then have them essentially demand that the Democrats except nearly all of their proposals or they aren’t going to play.

    And you said,

    Republicans believe that if government will just “get out of the way” the people will take care of themselves.

    Come on, Anson. After 8 years of governance–six of it controlling the entire government–don’t try to convince me of that. You say the Democrats won’t cut the size and scope of government and yet it is Republicans who opposed pay-go legislation and were a big part in killing the binding, bi-partisan commision designed to deal with the debt and deficits.

    The one thing I wish Obama had said yesterday to them was this:

    “Look, I respect your position as members of the opposition. And I am listening to you. But you are in the opposition now because the American people—in the only poll that matters—put Democrats in charge. It’s arrogant for you to think that you can have your way or else you’re going to obstruct everything we’re trying to do. The American people trusted us with leadership, and we’re going to lead. You can jump on board and be a part of what’s happening, or you can sit and whine about how ‘we have ideas, too,’ and then appear on television and radio telling folks that I am a dangerous Socialist. If you happen to convince enough people that’s the way to do business, then I guess I will be a one-term president. But while I”m here, I’m going to lead this country.”

    Duane

    Like

    Reply
  3. ansonburlingame

     /  January 31, 2010

    Duane,

    You really have to read my blog “WHAT’S THE SCORE AND WHO CARES?” to understand my position. I give you one quote from therein and look forward to your critique of my WHOLE blog, not just sound bites.

    “This President will NEVER agree to substantially reduce the size of government. He firmly believes that government is our only safe haven from the ravages of private people. Without substantial government control Americans will tear themselves apart leaving many behind in terrible conditions. It is worth the cost of government whatever it may be to prevent that from happening.

    Republicans believe that government should provide the minimum of protection needed to preserve order and common sense (theirs not liberals). Get government out of the way a la the first what 175 years of our existence of a country, and the people will take care of themselves. Want to create jobs then get government out of the way is their call. The President fundamentally disagrees.”

    Anson

    Like

    Reply
    • Duane Graham

       /  January 31, 2010

      Anson,

      I have read your blog on the subject and I am amazed at how two people can watch (although, you only read the transcripts) the same thing and come to different conclusions. There is general agreement that Obama won the day (for whatever that’s worth) at least by those who actually watched it on television. But the truth is that, as you demonstrate, even relatively Beck-free Republican conservatives like you did not change your minds one bit about anything that was discussed. In my opinion, though, the Republican questions were mostly framed in “I gotcha” terms and weren’t seriously designed to reflect a genuine desire to “work with the President.” Even you would have to concede that much, no matter what you thought about the President’s responses.

      Anyway, when you reference in your blog that the first 175 years of our existence as a country was without government involvement in the lives of people, you couldn’t be more mistaken.

      I’m not going to write an outline of history here to show you that government has always been involved in the welfare of both individuals and corporations. It is self-evident, and it is perpetuating a myth to pretend otherwise. Whether it was local, state, or federal governments that regulated the conduct of people or corporations, doesn’t really matter, does it? From the founding of the Republic, some level of government has either interfered with and obstructed freedom or else has promoted and facilitated its exercise in some way.

      When you say that Republicans advocate, “Get government out of the way…and the people will take care of themselves,” you are no doubt correct that such is their position. But such a seemingly anarchistic declaration is hollow. It was never true that government has been “out of the way” and it will never be true. To the extent that it relates to anything in reality—that government is not the ONLY instrument of well-being—it is believed by Democrats, too. Obama has said many, many times that government is not the answer to all problems.

      So, until Republicans quit perpetuating the myth of smaller government—a myth they never live by while governing—then we will always be at each other’s throats, politically speaking.

      Duane

      Like

      Reply
  4. ansonburlingame

     /  February 1, 2010

    duane,

    If one watches the SOTU address the immediate impression is of a great orator (which Obama certainly is). If one reads and reflects carefully what he says transends oration and reveals substance. It was the same substance as a year ago. No change in policies of directions or MORE government.

    He then calls for Republicans to “work with me”. To do what, enact his politicies which are fundamentally opposite from conservative causes.

    How I ask can there be a bi-partisan environment with such stark and fundamental differences of political views? If they are true to their beliefs whenever such policies are brought to the floor for a vote there will be substantial if no unanimous Republican objection and NO to the vote.

    Only if in constructing the bills upon which votes are cast the Dems allow Rep input and incorporation into the bills will biparisan votes occur. It is that stonewalling by Pelosi, et al that has created the climate of Wash and Mass voters know it.

    And yes, for sure you and I will always be at each other’s throat’s politically for that very reason. Only in some limited areas will we agree (see my post on your Choice blog) and the need to get big money out of politics, all big money, not just corporattions.

    Anson

    Like

    Reply
  5. Duane Graham

     /  February 1, 2010

    Anson,

    As Obama said today:

    In order to meet this challenge I welcome any ideas from Democrats and Republicans. What I will not welcome, what I reject, is the same old grandstanding when the cameras are on and same irresponsible budget policies when the cameras are off.

    The truth is, Anson, that Republicans are not offering anything new. What they are offering is more of the same philosophy that drove us off the road.

    Obama also said this today:

    If we had taken office during ordinary times, we would have started bringing down these deficits immediately.

    We can’t simply move beyond this crisis; we have to address the irresponsibility that led to it.

    Either you believe Obama or you don’t. He has clearly said that he wants to address the long term deficit (which is projected to go down in upcoming years), but he has just as clearly said now is not the time to stymie government spending. Most economists this side of Rush Limbaugh agree with that.

    Duane

    Like

    Reply
  6. ansonburlingame

     /  February 2, 2010

    Duane,

    And when Obama is through we will be paying almost a $1 Trillion (OK $840 Billion) a year on debt interest alone while all government discretionary spending will be $570 Billion PER YEAR. Those numbers are right out of the Wash Post along with the words “terrible consequences”.

    “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” quoting Rett Butler what Reagan, Clinton, Roosevelt, Bush (both) or anyone else did in the past. We are breaking entirely new ground in deficit and debt and new thinking and action is needed desperately to avoid ‘terrible consequences”. Those consequences are staring us right in the face and I see nor hear any creative thinking of ideas from either side.

    It is your time in the barrel and your side has all the political power possible and much greater that past multi-decades. So DO SOMETHING I say.

    We screamed for a year over health care and NOTHING has happened. We will scream for a year over spending and deficits and I bet NOTHING of any consequence will happen again. In 2011 we will actually spend $3.8 plus or minus a few decimal numbers to the right side and the same with the $1.56 Trillion deficit plus or minus an insignificant factor.

    In the 1950’s many built bomb shelters out of fear of nuclear annihilation. Wonder what we should be building today out of concerns for an American we cannot even envision in the not too distant future.

    Like

    Reply
  7. Duane Graham

     /  February 2, 2010

    Anson,

    1) You said, “your side has all the political power possible and much greater that past multi-decades.” Wrong again. Since Republicans have decided to use the filibuster at not just record breaking pace, but at record shattering pace, you know it takes 60 votes to conduct business. Democrats have only 57 votes. Now that Republicans have 41 votes, and given their filibuster strategy, they share equal responsibility for everything that happens, good or bad.

    2) You said you don’t “see nor hear any creative thinking of ideas from either side” related to the deficit and debt problem. Where have you been? Only 16 Republicans supported the idea of an independent debt commission whose recommendations would have been binding on the Congress. Six or seven of the Republicans who voted against it—including John McCain and Mitch McConnell—had previously been co-sponsors of the idea and withdrew their support because Obama supported it. Their excuse? It will lead to higher taxes. That’s bullshit on any level because some Democrats didn’t support it because it would lead to spending cuts. Until YOUR SIDE puts patriotism over politics, nothing will happen to address the problem.

    3) Obama has said that the outlying years in the budget projections are not sustainable. He has pissed off the left wing of his party by moving to the right on deficit reduction issues. He just can’t get enough Republicans—who bitch night and day about fiscal irresponsibility—to support him.

    Duane

    Like

    Reply
  8. ansonburlingame

     /  February 3, 2010

    Duane,

    Oh BS I say, politiely. We have governed this country for over 150 years with the filibuster in full play in the Senate. Now we cannot govern with the same rules still in play. Again, politily stated, BS.

    Show me a time in say the last 50 years where either party has had such Congressional and White House power all three at the same time. If you can find it (which I doubt) show me stalemate such as we see now during that time.

    Health care alone with the current power of Dems can be jammed down our throats if they choose to do so, legally. But no, it is the Republicans’ fault. The real fault is that Democrats as a party do not have the political courage to take such unilateral action. Some I sincerely hope even oppose such “ramable” health care reform, to pick just one example, on principle, not politics.

    Go ahead and pass the Presidential budget just submitted. Ram that sucker right on through with no Republican support. Sure you can do it.

    Then watch what happens in Nov 2010.

    Anson

    Like

    Reply
  9. Duane Graham

     /  February 3, 2010

    Anson,

    This is the last time I will try to explain the filibuster and its excessive use by Republicans. Sure, it has been around a long time. But it has NEVER NEVER NEVER EVER EVER EVER been used as frequently and for as many petty reasons, as it is being used by the Republicans. Nobody disputes that fact.

    There are cloture votes taken on bills that eventually pass by huge margins, like 85-15. Why is that? Because Republicans have made a collective decision that in order to get back in power, they must demonize the President and Democratic polices, slow down the process by making Democrats waste time on petty parliamentary maneuvers, show that they will not cooperate with Obama or the Democrats, and talk down the economy—which they are responsible for tanking.

    It is utterly unpatriotic, not to mention dishonest. You complain that there is a stalemate, but you refuse to put the blame squarely where it belongs. Democrats do not have the power to jam anything down anyone’s throat. That is just a myth that Republicans perpetuate through voices like yours. They want the public to believe that Democrats are ultimately powerful and then blame Democrats for the stalemate. When the truth is, and no one denies this, that Republicans have bastardized the process by using the filibuster to control even Democratic bowel movements in the U.S. Senate.

    Finally, you say wait and see what happens in November, 2010. To tell you the truth, the mischievous, unpatriotic demons in me (left over from my Republican days), secretly hope that the Republicans take over the Senate and the House by huge margins. All my inner demons want is 41 Democratic seats in the Senate. Then, my even darker demons hope that Obama and Biden resign, putting a Republican in the White House. Then, the 41 Democrats in the Senate can sit back and play politics with the filibuster while the Republicans figure out how to clean up their own goddamn mess.

    I’ll be here writing about how the Republicans have all the power and they still can’t get anything done. That would be so much fun and so much easier than actually figuring out how to make the country work, wouldn’t it?

    Duane

    Like

    Reply
  10. ansonburlingame

     /  February 4, 2010

    Duane,

    OK, if the filibuster is being used as never, never, ever, ever as before, I ask WHY? Your answer seems to be that Republicans are simply idiotic obstructionists bent on pure political revenge for their trashing in 2006/2008. To hell with the best interests of the country, we are going to just “show those Dems” how to play down and dirty.

    On the other hand the Dems stand and put 40% of the budget on a credit card forever because we simply cannot get out of this mess without powerful and huge government. Now please, Reps, just work with us to increase government intrustion and control in all our lives because we are honest, hard working and very intelligent Dems.

    Now go to ansonburlingame@wordpress.com/dysfunction and see my point. Our political system is dysfunctional. Any disagreement there? What is your solution? Put more democrats in office? Fine, argue that to your hearts content and see what happens at the polls. How about an 80% majority in the Senate just to cover those idiotic Democrats that just might not like bigger government.

    Or we could go to one party rule like Russia, China, et al. Just somehow make the disloyal opposition sit down and shut up. For sure just make Anson stop blogging his nonsense and putting comments on your blog. Do that for Bubba, and all the other crazies and for sure get Fox News off the air or with a constant mute button. We’ll use a firing squad for Limbaugh.

    Then Duane, Jane, John and MSNBC can take over the world and we will all be happy until China forecloses on the Capitol Building and the White House.

    Finally, I again make the observation that both political parties are dysfunctional. Can I repeat both political parties, just for emphasis. Now what are “we” going to do about that little problem.

    Anson

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 629 other followers

%d bloggers like this: