The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

A Long Two Years

In the aftermath of a catastrophic election for the Democrats, their spokespeople are trying hard to come up with public excuses. Already, extremists in the party are saying:
  • 2/3 of the voters, didn't. 
  • Rich, white people vote in mid-terms, but wait until the 2016 elections—that's when our constituency comes to the polls.
  • Senate Dems shouldn't have deserted Barack Obama.
  • Dems simply were't left enough—they should have embraced immigration amnesty and open borders, among many left wing causes
  • The polls are wrong—Barack Obama is the best president—ever!
Actually, none of this matters. Wading through the wreckage of a weak economy, a ruptured healthcare law, high taxes, a shrinking middle class, multiple, historic executive scandals, a senate Democrat majority leader (Harry Reid) who, at the behest of the White House, refused to bring even one of over 350 House bills to the senate floor (now that's "obstruction), a disastrous foreign policy and a dozen other uncomfortable realities, the electorate has rejected much of what the Dems are about—at least for now. It appears that the electorate wants adults in executive positions, even  in deep blue states like Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland. Wow!

Ron Fournier discusses the president's reaction to all of this:
Shellacked and thumped by an angry electorate, President Obama declared to every American who voted in Tuesday's elections—and to those who've checked out of the political process—"I hear you."

And then he ignored them.

From all appearances Wednesday, the president won't change—not his policies, not his style, not his staff, not nothing. Defiant and begrudging, the president said he would meet with GOP leaders, seek their suggestions for common ground, and maybe grab a drink with Senate Majority Leader-to-Be Mitch McConnell.

Beyond that, meh. "It's probably premature" to consider personnel changes, Obama said when pressed by a reporter for the type of reflection and resetting undertaken by President Clinton after his 1994 midterm trouncing.

Moments earlier, McConnell urged Obama not to take executive action to legalize undocumented immigrants, saying such a momentous policy change by fiat would "be like waving a red flag in front of a bull." The newly reelected Kentucky senator also called it a "poison pill."

Obama shrugged. While willing to consider any immigration legislation passed by the GOP-controlled Congress, "What I'm not going to do," Obama said, "is wait."
Ironically, "waiting"—postponing decisions that truly do matter in a futile effort to gain political advantage— is just about the only thing that Barack Obama does well.

The sad thing is that there are enormous bipartisan opportunities in situations like this, opportunities that Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan seized to get major reforms implemented with the help of the opposition party.

If Barack Obama were a different person, with a different mindset, he could work with Mitch McConnell and John Boehner and get major reforms done: potentially—immigration reform, tax reform, healthcare reform (a major overhaul of the mess that is Obamacare), and energy legislation. Only a left-wing Democrat could get his own Dem caucus to accept the compromises that are necessary to get good legislation that would benefit the country. But Obama is not that person. To this day, he views the GOP as the enemy. At some level, I suspect that he and other extremists in his party would rather see nothing get done, so that alienated Democrat constituencies stay permanently disaffected.

Unfortunately, recent history indicates two things: Barack Obama has no ability to negotiate in good faith, to compromise when reality demands it, or to make good decisions. Worse, he has little interest in adapting his behaviors to realities on the ground. I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's going to be a long two years.