If President Obama is re-elected will Congressional Republicans seek common cause with him in his second term? That’s what Chicago Mayor and former Obama Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel says will happen:
The year after Clinton won a second term, Emanuel boasted, he and the GOP balanced the budget, reached agreement on health care coverage for children, and cut other deals.
So what’s that got to do with what Obama might do in a second term, given the prevailing gridlock in Washington.
“Elections…have consequences,” the mayor said. “If the president wins reelection, I think the Republicans will finally, after four years of trying to beat him, will try to work with him. The American people will have delivered their verdict.”
This post hoc propter hoc analysis has a number of problems with it. First, today’s Congressional Republicans are very much different than those of 16 years ago. They are much more ideological, they are much more activist, and the party, always more united than the Democrats, is even more united now.
Second, a growing economy produces different political dynamics than today’s stagnant one does.
That fatuous response ignores one very important fact: there is not just one election. Each of the 535 members of Congress won their own elections. Their constituents have delivered their verdicts, too. If President Obama wins re-election it will be because the voters believed he was a better choice than Mitt Romney not because they thought he was the best of all possible choices. They will have made other choices, too, in electing their Congressional representatives, senators, governors, and so on. The branches of government are co-equal. Congress is not subordinate to the presidency. If anything it’s the other way around.
Since Rahm Emanuel is not an idiot, why would he predict something that is so obviously not going to happen? I think he’s preparing the political battlespace for the next four years and for 2016 (when I expect him to throw his hat in the ring for the presidency).
If President Obama is re-elected, the squabbles between the Congressional Democrats and the Congressional Republicans and between the president and the Congressional Republicans will continue in full vigor. Clearly, Democrats are preparing to campaign against intransigent, obstructionist Republicans. I think that this is the strongest argument for electing Mitt Romney. If you liked the 112th Congress (that would be all 12% of you, voters), you’ll love the 113th!