Well, there is none, but I had to come up with a headline that would make you want to read this.
In the wake of this election, I just want to know one thing: what did Republicans do to deserve being elected? Here are my choices:
A. Refusing at every turn to work with the president on anything.
B. Passing almost no legislation. Instead,
C. Voting to repeal Obamacare what seems like several hundred thousand times.
D. Shutting down government.
E. Refusing to raise the minimum wage, deal with immigration reform, fund infrastructure repairs, reform the banking system, simplify the tax code, fund unemployment insurance, establish insurance exchanges.
F. Passing restrictive voter ID laws that prevent millions of poor and minority Americans from voting.
G. Running election campaigns based entirely on Obama’s unpopularity, and nothing on what they might do to actually govern.
The invariable truth about mid-term elections is that they almost always favor the party that does not hold the presidency. That’s especially true when a president is unpopular, as Obama certainly is. This election definitely followed that script.
The frustrating thing for me as an American is that the GOP seems to have discovered a formula for ensuring the unpopularity of a president. Refuse to work with him, make it impossible to pass even the most necessary legislation or to deal with the nation’s most pressing issues. Make certain that government simply can’t do its job. Support nothing, do nothing, stand for nothing, offer no solutions, especially when the economy is weak and people are hurting. The president will almost certainly get the blame at the polls if the people are angry and frustrated enough, no matter how much contempt they may have for the folks in Congress who actually created the gridlock. In a two-party system it’s their only other choice.
Obama certainly deserves a large share of the blame for yesterday’s debacle. A great intellect, he was never comfortable with the social part of being president–shmoozing Congressmen, using the bully pulpit, taking his case directly to the people–and as a result, lost control of the narrative. In fact, by his very invisibility he became the narrative.
When he was elected, I hoped he would govern as Ronald Reagan had, using his formidable speaking prowess and personal charisma to galvanize the public and shame Congress into acting, even when it opposed him. Instead, he shrank from the task, never forming alliances with moderate members of the GOP, not to mention his inability to motivate members of his own party. Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush faced unending hostility from the opposing party, but were able to navigate those waters with a combination of personal charm and public appeal.
Yet the hostility toward Clinton and Bush never translated into Congress simply refusing to do its job. Things still got done. Now that the GOP has successfully won an election based on nothing but total and absolute opposition, if and when a Republican wins the presidency, will Democrats follow the same script?
Why not? It works.