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Obama to coming GOP majority: If you don't cooperate with me, I'll try, try again

One other really interesting moment in Obama's chat with liberal bloggers yesterday. He was asked directly the question that many of us have asked: Is there any point at which he is willing to give up on the idea that bipartisan cooperation is a realistic goal?

His answer is worth quoting in full:

I'm a pretty stubborn guy when it comes to, on the one hand, trying to get cooperation. I don't give up just because I didn't get cooperation on this issue; I'll try the next issue. If the Republicans don't agree with me on fiscal policy, maybe they'll agree with me on infrastructure. If they don't agree with me on infrastructure, I'll try to see if they agree with me on education.

So I'm just going to keep on trying to see where they want to move the country forward.

In that sense, there's not a breaking point for me. There are some core principles that I think are important for not just me to stick with but for the country to stick with. So if the Republicans say we need to cut our investments in education, at a time when we know that our success as a nation is largely going to depend on how well trained our workforce is, I'm going to say no. And there are going to be areas where, after working very hard, we just can't find compromise and I'm going to be standing my ground, then essentially we debate it before the American people.

But I don't go into the next two years assuming that there's just going to be gridlock. We're going to keep on working to make sure that we can get as much done as possible because folks are hurting out there. What they're looking for is help on jobs, help on keeping their homes, help on sending their kids to college. And if I can find ways for us to work with Republicans to advance those issues, then that's going to be my priority.

If Republicans win back one or both houses of Congress, the one silver lining could be that Obama may be able to use GOP opposition to his policies as a foil more effectively than in the past. Republicans could previously oppose Obama's agenda with abandon, and when Dems shrieked about GOP obstructionism, Republicans could rightly respond: "Stop whining, you guys run the place." The Dem Congressional majorities, in a sense, acted as a bit of a buffer, making it easier for Republicans to oppose legislation without bearing the brunt of the blame for Congressional dysfunction.

But if Republicans are in the majority in at least one chamber, it sets the stage for more direct confrontations between them and the President, in which Obama will try to use the bully pulpit to pin the blame for gridlock squarely on the GOP. The new New York Times poll finds that 72 percent think Obama will work Republicans to get things done, versus only 46 percent who think that about the GOP, meaning Obama may head into next year with a bit of the moral high ground. Judging by the above quotes, he intends to milk it for all he can.

By Greg Sargent  | October 28, 2010; 1:24 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, House GOPers, Senate Republicans  
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Comments

On the one hand, it's so nice to have an adult in charge. On the other hand, why does he have to be so grown-up about trying to give the R's a chance to participate when they clearly have no intent?

Posted by: cao091402 | October 28, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

This is silly. Bipartisan cooperation is an oxymoron. Republicans want the White House back, that is all they want. They will do nothing that makes Obama appear effective, nothing that helps him appear to be a legitimate President.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 28, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

New Poll: Bush beats Obama http://politics.usnews.com/topics/subjects/2012-presidential-election

Despite voters feelings toward Obama personally, 56 percent say he does not deserve to be re-elected, while 38 percent say he does deserve to be re-elected president... 43 percent say that Barack Obama has been a better president than George W. Bush, while 48 percent say Bush was a better president than Obama has been.

/progress

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | October 28, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Obama's main flaw has been his conciliatory approach, especially when it came to the health care debate. Being black has made it difficult in not being able to knock heads together like LBJ, without appearing as the "angry black man" to many of the older Hillary voters. So in this sense he is compromised. If he was VP and Biden the Prez I doubt there would have ever been a Tea Party movement started by the GOP, since so much of it, despite their denials, is based on white tribalism.

Posted by: filmnoia | October 28, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Like I said, before, those 72% have not heard Obama say to the new Republican Congress that "they can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back" of the bus!!!

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 28, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Shorter Obama to GOP:

"Keep hitting me honey, it's for my own good."

Posted by: Bullsmith1 | October 28, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Shades of Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler.

Obama needs "to turn the Nimitz into the wind."

Posted by: dozas | October 28, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

It's quotes like the above that make me despair of the President ever enacting any meaningful reform with regard to the environment or jobs.

The media is still going to spin it against Obama and Republicans still want to see him fail. Nothing changes except the Rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Posted by: Alex3 | October 28, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"those 72% have not heard Obama say to the new Republican Congress that "they can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back" of the bus!!!"

Like I said before, Obama didn't say this, Jake did.

Posted by: lmsinca | October 28, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

If Republican wins majorities in either, or both houses, they will not be able to work with President Obama to get anything done, because their new majorities will have been gained through the victories of Tea Party candidates.

You sawhow The Tea Party went after any Republican, including Scot Brown, when they showed the slightest inclination to work with President Obama on any issue.

John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are not going to risk riling up The Tea Party crowd, so President Obama can forget about getting any cooperation from Republicans. Even if they wanted to; Bohner and McConnell could not do so, because have sold their souls to the Totalitarians.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 28, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

How do even begin to negotiate if the other side is acting completely in bad faith and lying about everything you do? You can't. There's no room for negotiation at that point. It's over.

All there's left to do is to watch the unfolding disaster. Nothing will happen from this government. Republicans will assure that and Obama is willing to play along.

Posted by: Alex3 | October 28, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"knock heads"? filmnoia is still bitter Obama never came through with free rides to the local Whole Foods on the handlebars of his bike.

WEEEE!

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | October 28, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Obama did, indeed, say exactly what I quoted:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101025/ap_on_el_pr/us_obama

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 28, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

How do even begin to negotiate if the other side is acting completely in bad faith and lying about everything you do? You can't. There's no room for negotiation at that point. It's over.

All there's left to do is to watch the unfolding disaster. Nothing will happen from this government. Republicans will assure that and Obama is willing to play along.

Posted by: Alex3 | October 28, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Under the bus is where Republicans would like to see Obama, I don't think he understands that.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 28, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

All ye need to know about Joke is that he compared Lauren Valle to Sirhan-Sirhan.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | October 28, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Democrats are now the party of no and obstruction. That's what O said.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 28, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

@KaddafiDelendaEst: The link that you provide doesn't contain the survey results that you claim. Did you just invent them or did you link to the wrong page?

Posted by: QuiteAlarmed | October 28, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

The President knows, the Gop Does Not intend to help America, only to profit from creating a Bigger neo con corporatist America govt that abuses its powers over the people as it also controls Democracy with Corporatism and Markets Freedom and Values with Fear Hate Racism and disguising it with religion and patriotism.

Posted by: Bush4Democratsnow | October 28, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Democrats are now the party of no and obstruction. That's what O said.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 28, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"Now that progress has been made, he said, "we can't have special interests sitting shotgun. We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don't mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.""

Jake, I know he said what you quoted but you continue to add "of the bus" to give it a racial connotation. You're just making stuff up again.

Posted by: lmsinca | October 28, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

"because their new majorities will have been gained through the victories of Tea Party candidates. "

Liam may prove to be correct. However, since the Tea Party is a contruct of the GOP, and since the authoritarian personality seems to take directions well, I predict that any so-called Tea Partiers that get in Congress will fall in line with their GOP masters. For them, being white is right.

Posted by: filmnoia | October 28, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Interesting result from that CBS/Times poll:

"This year, are you more willing than in past years to take a chance on voting for someone who has little previous political experience, or are you not more willing to take a chance this year?

Willing to take chance 57
Not more willing 38"

Posted by: sbj3 | October 28, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

"Like I said, before, those 72% have not heard Obama say to the new Republican Congress that "they can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back" of the bus!!!

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 28, 2010 1:39 PM"

Jake, if the Republicans take Congress, will the Democrats even be allowed on the bus?

Posted by: wiccan | October 28, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

If it ever wasn't, the TP is now just the R base.

Republicans do this expertly. From time to time, they will recruit and bring along the libertarians (those, "I'm a fiscal conservative, but not a social conservative" types) and disaffected Democrats, then purge them, just kick them to the curb. It is a Republican parlor game.

DeMint's "values voter" base is not going to let go of the deal with the Republican Party's corporate rulers.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 28, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

[Errata: Linky repair]

New Poll: Bush beats Obama
http://politics.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2010/10/27/poll-most-want-obama-fired-in-2012

Despite voters feelings toward Obama personally, 56 percent say he does not deserve to be re-elected, while 38 percent say he does deserve to be re-elected president... 43 percent say that Barack Obama has been a better president than George W. Bush, while 48 percent say Bush was a better president than Obama has been.

/progress

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | October 28, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

wiccan:

I don't know (I'm not running for office).

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 28, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Joe Miller has driven over himself, and is now Political Road Kill.

From; Politicalwire.com

"
Miller Plummets in Alaska
A new Hays Research poll in Alaska shows Scott McAdams (D) surging ahead of Joe Miller (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 29% to 23%, allowing the unnamed write-in candidate -- most of which are presumably for Sen. Lisa Murkowski -- to lead the contest with 34%, with undecided voters still at 13%.

"With a 68% disapproval rating, and Miller's trend line looking like the flight of the Hindenberg even before the latest scandal hit the news, the chances of him actually pulling it off and winning this election are slim."

Meanwhile, the Anchorage Daily News reports Murkowski got a big win when the Alaska Supreme Court ruled yesterday that voters can look at a list of certified write-in candidates when they go to the polls."

Posted by: Liam-still | October 28, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I have no problem with Pres. Obama seeking cooperation from the GOP, as long as he moves on as soon as they give him the proverbial finger. He should then let the American people know that he made the effort to reach out, but the GOP is refusing to deal. Let's face it, the GOP's overriding goal here is Pres. Obama's destruction, so they will not cooperate with him on anything for the next two years, instead, seeking to undermine him in any way possible.

Posted by: bienefes | October 28, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I have no problem with Pres. Obama seeking cooperation from the GOP, as long as he moves on as soon as they give him the proverbial finger. He should then let the American people know that he made the effort to reach out, but the GOP is refusing to deal. Let's face it, the GOP's overriding goal here is Pres. Obama's destruction, so they will not cooperate with him on anything for the next two years, instead, seeking to undermine him in any way possible.

Posted by: bienefes | October 28, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

bienefes:

The GOP would cooperate on repealing Obamacare and extending ALL of the Bush tax cuts ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 28, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

@KadafiDelendaEst: Thanks for correcting the link. That's a survey of "likely voters" which was conducted specifically to support a book extolling the Tea Party written in part by Scott Rasmussen.

Needless to say, I am skeptical that these results accurately reflect the opinions of Americans as a whole or tell us anything meaningful about the likely outcome of the 2012 Presidential election.

Posted by: QuiteAlarmed | October 28, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

The GOP would cooperate on repealing Obamacare and extending ALL of the Bush tax cuts ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 28, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Sooo... what you're saying is not at all then.

Glad we're in total agreement. Have fun when that backfires horribly

Posted by: holyhandgrenaid | October 28, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

wiccan:

I don't know (I'm not running for office).

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 28, 2010 2:23 PM


Your not running for office hasn't prevented you from giving your political opinions before, why now?

Posted by: wiccan | October 28, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

All, check out this brutal new ad Dems are runnning in KY with footage of the stomping incident:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/10/dems_to_air_ad_of_kentucky_sto.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | October 28, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Liam may prove to be correct. However, since the Tea Party is a contruct of the GOP, and since the authoritarian personality seems to take directions well, I predict that any so-called Tea Partiers that get in Congress will fall in line with their GOP masters. For them, being white is right.

Posted by: filmnoia | October 28, 2010 2:10 PM |
................

That is why none of them will break ranks to work with President Obama. A poll of Tea Party members showed that more than 98% of them voted for McCain/Palin, so McConnell and Bohner will be allowed to repay their Secret Campaign benefactors, but will not be allowed to work with President Obama.

Mitch already let the cat out of the bag, when he said that their number one priority would be making sure that President Obama was not reelected.

That leaves no wiggle room for compromise with The President, because it might help him get reelected. It is etched in stone, and Republicans are already planning to try and have it mounted in all Court Houses through out the land.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 28, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

"I don't think he understands that."

Really? You really believe that you have a better understanding of his political situation vis a vis Republicans than Obama does?

I'm not sure 1) why you think Obama would say anything other than what was the obviously politic answer for a president posed with that question or 2) why you (or anyone) thinks Obama is wholly sincere in his every utterance. Are you really so naive as to think that Obama is the first politician in the history of the world who doesn't engage in politics?

Posted by: ScottC3 | October 28, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Obama's like Diogenes walking around with a lantern looking for the last honest reasonable Republican. In Illnois he was able to work with Kirk Dillard and others on criminal justice reform. In the US Senate he worked with Lugar on foreign policy and nuclear non-proliferation as well as Coburn on budget and transparency reform.

If the Republican teabaggers take the house and Orange John then the opportunity Broder like cooperation is nill.

Posted by: MerrillFrank | October 28, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"If the Republican teabaggers take the house and Orange John then the opportunity Broder like cooperation is nill."

Agreed.

I understand that compromise is how our government is supposed to work, but the government isn't working anymore. All the incentives are there to NOT work together. You can make more money pushing partisan issues than you can with substantive issues.

The FoxNews cast of Presidential candidates can't afford to compromise or they won't get that Discovery Channel TV special. I don't see one of them truly interested in public service.

Face it. In this system the only folks getting what they want from government are going to be mega-corporations that already run this country.

Posted by: Alex3 | October 28, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

ScottC3, please calm down, take a deep breath, then another. Feel better?

Now...keep breathing...it turns out, many people can tell when other people are making mistakes even though the person making the mistake thinks they are doing just fine.

Can you think of times when you have been able to see someone messing up one opportunity after another and you just can't understand why they don't "get it"?

Now lets say, Obama is insincere or playing politics or whatever you think is right and I am wrong. That is ok too. See, this is a political blog, a place where people waste (hopefully paid)time making predictions and pronouncements. Sometimes we learn from each other in the process, other times, not so much.

But there is no point is getting angry at, hectoring, nor lecturing one another when there is nothing but opinion involved, on points to which there is no factual recourse, unless that makes you happy. Thank you for caring, sincerely, S2.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 28, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

holyhandgrenaid:

As you can see (assuming you even read it), bienefes claimed that the GOP "will not cooperate with him on ANYthing for the next two years, instead, seeking to undermine him in ANY way possible." (Emphasis Added). I simply provided two examples where I am sure the GOP would co-operate, therefore proving bienefes wrong.

wiccan:

I am not a mind reader.

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 28, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2 That was a clever...and I concede accurate takedown of the attitude that sometimes exhibits itself on this blog...although I would posit not nearly as much as on other blogs...which is one reason I like this blog.

But it begs the question...are you REALLY a shrink?

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 28, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Wow, this thread is an amazing blend of whining and denial.

The whining about "corporate money buying an election" is also denial about America rejecting Obama's leftist agenda.

So the liberals here are getting a twofer. This makes commenting so much more productive for them. With a simple posting they can whine and express denial within a few short sentences. Isn't that special?

and Mr Sargent demonstrates the value of selective memory. While issuing dire predictions about a potential republican refusal to compromise with Obama, he ignores how Obama et al treated the Republican minority just two short years ago.

Phrases such as " of course we wrote the bill" and "I won, I will trump you" don't appear anywhere in Mr Sargent's biased examination of DC future politics. I wonder why.

it boils down to this: The left had no need to compromise with their political opposition and passed whatever they pleased. Now they face the public with their record. Rather than showing the courage of their convictions they are now demanding something they in turn refused to provide.

That the liberals here are now demanding "bi partisanship" when their own paragons of co operation basically shunned it when they had the majority is nothing more that demogoguery.

Americans simply don't buy this crap anymore.
another thing that Mr Sargent doesn't touch on: the expectations of the electorate. Do we really think that an angry and energized electorate will throw out one set of bums only to send another group of bums to DC to compromise with the people who made the mess we are in?

Really?

If the Democrats and liberals really believe that what they've passed is the best thing for America then they should stop whining about bi partisanship and stand by their record. If they are unwilling to do that, then the whining I'm seeing here is just denial and moral cowardice.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 28, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Yes and even as I get annoyed by other peoples' résumé monikers...its a boring story. If anyone knows an easy way to change names (w/o proxy server gymnastics), I'd like to. Maybe that 37thandSolarEnergy guy can help, he changes names every few shifts.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 28, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

"But there is no point is getting angry at, hectoring, nor lecturing one another when there is nothing but opinion involved, on points to which there is no factual recourse, unless that makes you happy. Thank you for caring, sincerely, S2."

Pitch perfect.

Hope to see you post around here more. We could use the levity.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | October 28, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"That the liberals here are now demanding "bi partisanship...."

I, for one, don't want bi-partisanship in the next two years, especially with a GOP House. The Senate will still be Dem, and still be as feckless as before.
Obama will probably play nice/nice with Boehner and Company, but won't sign on to their agenda. That's because other than Obama's personal destruction, the GOP doesn't have an agenda to cure the economic ills other than the same crap that they pulled for 8 years. Obama will remain above the fray and let the Anthony Weiners of Congress tear the GOP a new one. This way BO will be able to run against a do nothing House in 2012.

Posted by: filmnoia | October 28, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Further proof that many here are, as Eric Hoffer explains, true believers.

True believers believe, among other things, that their dogma explains everything in the universe. there can be no truth for them outside that body of thought.

therefore it is easy to see how filmnonia reached the incorrect conclusion that the liberal's political opposition has no plan for curing America's econommic ills.

Filmonia has to believe that liberalism has all the answers and no other answers exist.

It is either blind adherence to dogma or it could be abyssal ignorance of others.

take your pick.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 28, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Progressives. Spend the weekend working to turn out the vote. We have the numbers now on our side among registered voters. All you have to do is work to get them out on election day.


Democrats catch Republicans in Generic Registered voters poll.

So it now is all about getting out the vote.


http://maristpoll.marist.edu/1028-turnout-key-for-midterm-elections/

"According to this McClatchy-Marist Poll, 47% of registered voters nationwide report they are more likely to vote for a Democrat in their district while 41% say they are more likely to support a Republican. Six percent do not plan to vote for either party’s candidate, and 6% are undecided.

When looking at likely voters nationally, neither party has the competitive edge. Among this group of voters, 46% say they are more likely to vote for a Democrat while 46% report they are more likely to support a Republican candidate. Four percent will not vote for either party’s candidate, and the same proportion — 4% — are undecided."

Posted by: Liam-still | October 28, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

"Filmonia has to believe that liberalism has all the answers and no other answers exist."

Frankly, you are probably more a true believer than I am. I'm no liberal, probably more of a "left out." I don't believe that in this climate anyone has the answers.
All I know is that at least one party gives lip service in trying to address the issues of 98% of the country, whereas your side is content with the rich getting richer and destroying the middle class, which was a mission that began circa 1980. We are all headed for the abyss anyway, but at least I'll be going there with the "good" guys who put up a fight.

Posted by: filmnoia | October 28, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

"ScottC3, please calm down, take a deep breath, then another."

I'm perfetctly calm. Do you always interpret questions asked of you as a sign of excitement?

"Can you think of times when you have been able to see someone messing up one opportunity after another and you just can't understand why they don't "get it"?"

Sure. I guess this your way of saying "Yes, I really do think I have a better understanding of his political situation vis a vis Republicans than Obama does."?

"But there is no point is getting angry at, hectoring, nor lecturing one another..."

I agree. What makes you think I was angry at, hectoring, or lecturing anyone? (BTW, if there is no point in lecturing anyone, doesn't it feel a bit odd to be lecturing me on the topic?)

ruk:

"That was a clever...and I concede accurate takedown of the attitude ..."

You have a pretty low threshold level for "clever", it seems.

Posted by: ScottC3 | October 28, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

You are the very man to keep the bar low, when it comes to saying anything "clever". You keep bumping your forehead on low thresholds.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 28, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Notice how Obama said that if the republicans are willing to compromise he'd accept that but regarding himself he's always standing his ground. In other words it's a one way street and Obama is always right.

Posted by: isaia1 | October 28, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

"Elections have consequence. I won, so I get to decide." George W. Bush.

President Obama ran and won as A Democrat, so he also gets to decide, and he did not win for to implement aRepublican agenda. If the voters wanted that, they would have elected McCain.

Right Wingers think they get what they want, when Republicans are in the White House, and also When Democrats are in the White House. They do not, so they can tell their moronic tales of woe, walking.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 28, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I worry that House Republicans, egged on by Palin, will feel that they have to demonstrate their zealotry by doing something stupid like shutting down the government, precipitating a debt crisis by not extending the debt ceiling, interfering with the Federal Reserve, etc. A fragile economy might not be able to take such monkeybusiness, but it will further discredit the GOP and make Obama look good.

Posted by: rhallnj | October 29, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

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