With Obama striving to pin Congressional Republicans with a “do-nothing” label, it is time for a reality check.
I’ve posted on how Obama simply played politics with the Super Committee failure after doing almost nothing to prevent it. Now he is taking a similar tack with the payroll tax cut extension.
Republicans have made it clear they also want a payroll tax cut extension, but that it must be paid for, and it must not be an excuse to raise already high taxes on high income brackets.
So if Obama wants to extend the payroll tax cut, he would simply scale back a little of his trillions in new spending to pay for it. And a deal would be done tomorrow. But no, he instead demagogues and plays class warfare politics by pushing the very tax hikes Republicans have made clear are unacceptable. As with the Super Committee, it seems Obama really wants failure and inaction for his own political ends.
And this is indeed part of a pattern. Obama rushes to the podium at every opportunity to engage in class warfare as well as to pin a “do-nothing” label on Republicans. But the reality is he himself is pursuing a strategy of do-nothing to further this political strategy of failure.
As part of this do-nothing strategy, he and his administration is making remarkably little effort to contact and negotiate with Congress, especially Republicans. And it is not just conservatives who have pointed this out:
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) had emerged last year as a potentially fertile lobbying target for the administration when she touted her independence after losing the GOP primary to tea party Republican Joe Miller, whom she subsequently defeated as a write-in candidate in the general election. But Murkowski said that after a call congratulating her victory, little of substance has come from her spare dealings.
Murkowski said she did get a call from White House Chief of Staff William Daley asking about her vote on the Commerce secretary nomination. She also visited the Oval Office in February, according to news reports.
"I, too, kind of assumed there would be greater outreach there. But this administration is not known for reaching out on the legislative side," she said. "It's not just my observation. I talk with colleagues on the other side of the aisle who had expected perhaps a little more reach out because of the fact that the president used to serve with us in the Senate and the vice president used to serve with us here in the Senate."
Obama wooed Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) a lot early in his presidency, first to get her vote on the stimulus package and later seeking her vote for health care reform.
But he doesn't call anymore, and his team hasn't reached out much either, she said.
Snowe, who is up for re-election next year, said the Obama White House has the worst relationship with Congress of any of the six presidents with whom she's served.
"It's a dramatic difference. ... I don't expect the president every day to be calling me or somebody else. [But] I think what you do expect is to have a team that can work through the various issues ... and build a consensus," she said.
Snowe added, "I can understand him using the bully pulpit, you know, to enhance his position, but it can't be to the exclusion of ever working with the legislative branch."
Now Murkowski and Snowe are hardly conservative or rabidly anti-Obama. In fact, they greatly vex conservatives such as myself in part because they are most likely among “Republicans” to go along with Obama. They are logically among the first Obama would contact if he wants to get something done. So if they are among those pointing out that Obama makes little effort to work with Congress, that is saying something.
What we have here is a President who doesn’t really want to get anything done before the election, but instead wants inaction so he can use it to engage in political theater.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the Do-nothing Obama.