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President Barack Obama walks along the Colonnade of the White House on his way to the Oval Office, May 3, 2012. (Lawrence Jackson/White House)
(Lawrence Jackson/White House)
NBC/WSJ (PDF). 5/16-20. Adults. MoE 3.1%

Do you believe that it is more important to have––a president who stands up for his convictions, OR a president who seeks common ground?

Stands for convictions 56
Seeks common ground 38

Andrea Mitchell, safely ensconced in her bubble, has a sad.

One other things that's disappointing to say the least in the poll for those of us that like to see things get done, is the question about do you want a president who shows conviction or do you want a president willing to reach compromise and consensus on issues?
President Barack Obama spent the last three years desperately trying to compromise and reach consensus with Republicans on issue after issue.

How much credit did Mitchell give Obama for those efforts? How hard did she beat up on obstructionist Republicans? Zero and not at all, those are the answers. Because when Beltway hacks talk about "compromise and consensus," they're talking about Democrats caving to Republicans.

The irony is that on issue after issue, Obama did very much that! He adopted the Republican insurance mandate idea (straight from the Heritage Foundation and Mitt Romney), pushed for the market-based cap-and-trade system championed by Reagan Administration officials, created the cat food commission and put pretty much everything on the table in a desperate gambit for a bipartisan grand bargain.

How much did that get done, Andrea? Indeed, Obama has accomplished the most when he has surrendered efforts to bring Republicans aboard, whether it's by executive order, or by finding ways around Republican congressional obstructionism like using budget reconciliation to avoid a Senate filibuster when passing his health care law or picking off the odd Republican on a issue-by-issue basis.

The lowest point of Obama's presidency was during the debt ceiling negotiations. His team (and boosters) claimed that independents loved people who compromised! They claimed that Obama would be rewarded for being "the grownup in the room." Yet his groveling at the feet of House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor made him look weak and ineffective, and his poll numbers plummeted as a result.

It's only recently, as he has reasserted himself as a leader in the White House—and yes, as a Democratic partisan—that his numbers have rebounded.

There are differences between the two parties, and they have different approaches. It is okay for them to disagree, and it is okay to air those disagreements. That makes it easier for voters to decide which path to take. In such a world, we wouldn't have Democrats defending a health care law based on bad Republican ideas. We'd be defending a much better Democratic one.

Obama finally seems to have learned his lesson, and we're much better off because of that. And while that may make Andrea Mitchell and zombie David Broder weep, it's clear that a majority of America agrees.


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Originally posted to kos on Thu May 24, 2012 at 11:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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