For the last 4 years Republican politicians on Capitol Hill have been incredibly rude and disrespectful to the President of the United States. As the lame duck Congress tries to tango with President Obama over the looming fiscal cliff, Republicans continue to obstruct progress and show little interest in making any concessions for a higher tax rate for wealthy Americans.
During President Obama’s first State of the Union address in 2009, US Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) yelled “You lie” during his speech. The next year Republican Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito mouths “not true” while the President spoke. US Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) vowed to make the president a one-term president, and refused to compromise on any issue. US Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) walked out of a debt ceiling negotiation like a petulant child. And Arizona’s GOP Governor Jan Brewer poked the President in the face during a contentious discussion.
Through this mess our calm and distinguished President still acts civil and cool and unruffled by it all. He never seems to lose his temper, and I really admire him for that. I also think it’s important to remember over the next couple weeks as the “fiscal cliff” nears and Republican political games escalate.
This alleged fiscal emergency is a crisis that Republicans conjured up because they believed they would win the Presidential election in 2012, and that they would be dealing with a weakened President, and they could ram through whatever they wanted to. That scenario didn’t work out for Republicans, and they’re scrambling.
Taking a cue from Doris Kearns Goodwin’s terrific book about Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” President Obama had lunch with his losing opponent Willard Mitt Romney. That’s not only magnanimous of the President, but it promotes a more civil tone in the corridors of power.
Unfortunately Republican lawmakers didn’t pay attention or notice. They were too busy trying to figure out how to screw Americans out of Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid.
The Republicans may control the House, but they are going to be the ones who get screwed if they don’t get their act together. They’d improve their image if they worked with the President, not against him. They need to get to work, otherwise it will be voters who clean House, and that won’t bode well for the GOP.
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