Sunday, May 12, 2013

Yes, Republicans are still obstructing, Obama keeps trying to charm them into not doing so

Bob Kuttner in Munich on the Potomac: The Republican Take-No-Prisoners Strategy -- and Obama's Conciliation Huffington Post 05/12/2013 describes the current state of play in Republican obstruction in the Congress. Including their "unprecedented stalling on judicial nominations, notwithstanding the administration's practice of checking with Republicans to see which proposed judges might win their approval -- a courtesy that has added to the delay, and one that Republicans have taken as another sign of weakness."

Obama really seems to be seriously wedding not only to neoliberal corporations-first economic ideology but to the illusion that he will achieve some kind of postpartisan state of cooperation with the Republicans. Here in the real world:

Nominees more to the GOP's ideological liking are rewarded with quick confirmation. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, a friend of Wall Street and of fiscal austerity, sailed through 71-26, with almost half the Republican Senate caucus in support.

Meanwhile, in the next ring of the circus, House Speaker John Boehner is looking forward to the next debt ceiling showdown to see what else he can hold for ransom. According to several authoritative accounts, this time Republicans will not stop with budget cuts, but will also use the debt ceiling to demand changes in the tax code, regulatory rollbacks and pro-industry shifts in energy policy. Details are to be spelled out at a strategy meeting this coming Wednesday.

Obama's term still has more than three and a half years to run and Democrats still have a 55-45 majority in the Senate, but the Republicans are treating him like the lamest of lame ducks. It should be clear by now -- meeting these people halfway only whets their appetite.
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