Erza Klein sadly observes that Mitch McConnell's and John Boehner’s strategy worked, when they announced “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” They intentionally obstructed our President's every agenda and brought our nation to our knees, as they obstructed any possible progress to advance their political advantage.
Klein notes that instead of holding these crass political opportunists responsible for holding our nation hostage to their destructive political agenda, the newspapers and columnists who site breaking congressional gridlock as their primary reason for endorsing Mitt Romney, such as the Des Moines Register, the Orlando Sentinel, and David Brook are getting it backwards, and giving their endorsement to such tactics:
In endorsement after endorsement, the basic argument is that President Obama hasn’t been able to persuade House or Senate Republicans to work with him. If Obama is reelected, it’s a safe bet that they’ll continue to refuse to work with him. So vote Romney!
Erza Klein gets the logic right, but doesn't sufficiently call out these Republicans for holding our nation hostage, and calling them out for the equivalent to political terrorists that they have been acting like. They dishonored the last election, and will do it again if we reward them for it. Or, perhaps, the Democrats, or future political parties will learn this lesson, if rewarded, and not punished?
Probably Klein figures people will think he's an extremist if he compares Congress people to terrorists. But, I think, as a nation, we err if we tacitly "bless" the unpatriotic extremism of Mitch McConnel and John Boehner as "moderate," or mainstream, or even go so far as look the other way as the same newspapers who denounce "negotiating with terrorists" as betraying out country suddenly use the same logic to endorse Republican control of Washington.
Something Klein agrees with, using less incendiary, and perhaps, more effective language:
It was, of course, the Republicans who pushed the country to the brink — Obama would’ve signed a clean debt-ceiling increase at any moment, and he ended up making more concessions than any president in history to sign the final debt-ceiling increase — but it’s true that congressional Republicans wouldn’t have done that if a Republican was occupying the White House. So vote Romney.
These endorsements are proving Republicans right. As they show, the Republican strategy to deny the president any cooperation and make his Washington a depressing and dysfunctional place has done Obama enormous political damage. In that way, the endorsements get the situation backwards.
While it’s true that President Romney could expect more cooperation from congressional Republicans, in the long term, a vote against Obama on these grounds is a vote for more of this kind of gridlock. Politicians do what wins them elections. If this strategy wins Republicans the election, they’ll employ it next time they face a Democratic president, too, and congressional Democrats will use it against the next Republicans. Rewarding the minority for doing everything in their power to make the majority fail sets up disastrous incentives for the political system.
So for the same reason we do not negotiate with terrorists we should repudiate this shameful Republican destructiveness, and lack of patriotism, and call them out for holding our country's common good hostage to their crass political ambitions. Unless we hold them responsible, and kick them out of Washington, we will be endorsing this vile political opportunism and enshrining it in our political traditions.