Thursday, April 07, 2011

An unfortunate contrast on the budget negotiations

Unfortunate for the Democrats and the general public, that is.

Here's President Obama from Wednesday evening, sounding tired and resigned to being slapped around by the Republicans:



Here's Republican Congressman Mike Pence, in a Think Progress video they titled "Pence Lets The The Truth Slip On His Uncompromising Stance."



Conventional wisdom holds that Bill Clinton benefitted politically by the Republican House's insistence in 1995 on a government shutdown. In this case, the CW is probably correct.

But Obama and the Democrats can only benefit if they make the Republicans own their actions in shutting down the government. Clinton made the m onw the 1995 shutdown. But Obama can't do that displaying the kind of weakness and pointless pursuit of bipartisanship that he's doing now.

The Republicans are sneering at him for his weakness. Mississippi Governor and unannounced 2012 Presidential candidate Haley Barbour tweeted yesterday, "With a stacked deck, Dems failed to pass a 2010 budget. Now that GOP controls 1/2 of 1/3 of fed gov't, Obama wants to talk 'responsibility.'"

That's how the Republicans roll. They block action - in the last Congress with the help of Blue Dog corporate Dems - and then blame the Democrats for not taking the action they successfully blocked. Ole Haley tweet may be mostly swagger. But it's a glimpse at the Republicans' attitude. And they have a point. Having the Republicans swat the Democratic President around while he pleads meekly for bipartisan harmony hurts the Democrats.

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