There’s a recurring theme that I’ve been seeing lately from left blogosphere bloggers and commenters with a similar viewpoint. It doesn’t ring true to me but I’ve got an open mind and am willing to listen to the case. Essentially, it goes something like this. President Obama has gone to extraordinary lengths, bent over backwards, to compromise with obstinate Congressional Republicans. The manifest weaknesses of the various pieces of major legislation and the present enthusiasm gap are consequences of this futile effort
As far as I can see this notion relies on a sort of post hoc propter hoc sort of logic. President Obama faces opposition from the Republicans. The legislation are nasty hashes, pleasing no one. Consequently, the legislation is the result of President Obama’s willingness to compromise with Congressional Republicans.
Frankly, I don’t see it. From the early days of his administration in which it was noted that elections have consequences through the rapid passage of the stimulus package and the torturous deliberations over the healthcare reform bill, I think a different dynamics was in operation. In the case of the stimulus package President Obama got exactly what he wanted, something he said repeatedly.
In the case of healthcare reform I think that President Obama left the details of the law to the experts, in this case Congressional Democrats, who had views, drives, and agenda of their own. Si monumentum requiris, circumspice.
I can also think of a couple of other explanations but they’re even less charitable. I must say I also find the idea that what was achieved was what was politically possible fantastical. What was passed was passed with scarcely a Republican vote. This is what was politically possible?
As I say, I have an open mind. Can someone make the case that President Obama has gone to extraordinary lengths to enlist the support of the Congressional Republican leadership to me? Not a few lonely Republican outliers like Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe—pursuit of their votes is clearly a figleaf, an attempt to make something appear to have bipartisan support which in actuality has nothing of the sort. And not Congressional moderates, the Blue Dogs—that’s an intra-party squabble and it doesn’t support the case at all.
Youth wants to know.