Once again, somebody looks in a mirror, fails to recognize his reflection, and says it looks like his enemy. Former vice presidential candidate and noted partisan Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) decided yesterday was a good day to start shooting off his mouth, claiming that President Barack Obama is more interested in wrecking the Republican Party than he is in governance. While I have no doubt that the President would like to get his way over Republican objections in matters of policy, this is yet another example of Republican pravda, claiming that your own actions are actually what your opponent is doing. More below the fold.
Even though the Republicans run ever right-ward and ever-further away from the mainstream, even though Barack Obama won re-election as President, Paul Ryan feels it's President Obama's job (and by extension all Democrats) to move to the center, moreso that Republicans:
“When you saw his speech, say, at the inauguration, it leads us to conclude that he’s not looking to moderate, that he’s not looking to move to the middle,” Mr. Ryan said in an interview on the NBC News program “Meet the Press.” “He’s looking to go farther to the left, and he wants to fight us every step of the way politically.”For four years, President Obama moderated his own stated views when it came to policy. For example, when running for office in 2008, Obama said that single-payer was the best health care plan, but when he started negotiating the Affordable Care Act, he took single-payer off the table before Republicans could even demand it. Another example: the Recovery Act--passed through Congress right after he was first sworn in, at the nadir of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression--started with more tax cuts than it should have had just to get GOP support, but Republicans added more tax cuts and removed direct stimulus spending before they'd vote for it.
Time after time, President Obama has taken his agenda, extended his hand by modifying it to mollify Congressional Republicans before even presenting it to them, and had his hand slapped away. Policies that the GOP loved under President George W Bush were suddenly completely unacceptable, far too liberal for the likes of them.
In the meantime, the Republican Party has played politics with our country's future. They have blocked infrastructure projects that are outside their own districts, projects that would repair crumbling roads, bridges, and sewer systems. They have driven hundreds of thousands if not millions of public-sector employees out of work--in the middle of a depression, no less, when we need more people employed to help maintain a safe and functional society. They have pushed our nation to the brink of default with debt ceiling fights, even gone so far as to damage the credit standing of the US Government. Our supposed small-government fiscal conservatives gave away tens of billions of dollars to large insurance companies and drug companies at everybody else's expense, spent hundreds of billions building a an overarching intelligence-industrial complex to monitor everybody's phone-calls and emails at taxpayer expense, and borrowed trillions of dollars to finance two wars with costly occupations at future taxpayer expense. Here's some business advice to the GOP: unless you are expanding, borrowing and spending is not healthy fiscal policy.
Mr. Obama tried being moderate for four years, even more moderate than I thought he was going to be. Every time he reached out across the aisle, Republicans slapped him back. Republicans who said "You must respect the President no matter what" under Bush turned around and called Obama everything from anti-American to communist to unAmerican. It is long past time for Republicans to move from their "my way or the highway" attitude and go back to the negotiating table willing to actually negotiate--even if it does mean moving back toward the center.