It’s good in high summer to see the President relaxing and having what we hope is a little fun with the opposition.
At long last he seems to understand that he can get nothing out of the Republican house that will in any way embellish his resume. Nor will the House do anything to work with the Senate to bring common sense and good governance back into fashion.
On the day that the US lost to Belgium in the World Cup, the President seemed in very high spirits indeed, cheering on a nearly impossible dream for soccer fans, and….taking shots at the goal so masterfully guarded by John Boehner and Mitch McConnell.
The only difficulty we foresee is that those two old-timers still have business to transact ahead for the goodness and welfare of the United States of America. And since this is so, is mocking them continually a likely road to wearing them down, to persuading them to be involved and even perhaps friendly towards saving the US one embarrassing moment after another?
Here are just two items on which Congress must vote one way or another to salvage or savage the county.
We have a transportation bill due to expire at the end of the month. Projects will be shut down unless Congress appropriates new funds, and thousands of people with jobs will be furloughed.
Mr. Boehner has already spoken. There will be no legislative action in his house for the rest of the year. This includes whether to grant the President war powers to continue propping up Iraq or not.
Clearly none of this is serious or timely in the minds of our lawmakers. We can continue to run on empty for as long as we need to.
Still, Mr. Obama has adopted a “let’s make fun” attitude towards his opposition. Let’s embarrass them. Let’s make inaction, which they do brilliantly, something political and definitely Republican. Let’s show the nation that what we’ve been saying for years is true, that the Republicans cannot run the country any more than they can run their own caucus.
After all, it’s true.
And yet, and yet…should there be some Republicans out there, sworn into high office, intent on actually doing their jobs and trying with all their hearts to pull the country together for good and healthy purposes, is being the butt of a national tirade of ridicule likely to make them more cooperative or less? When the President says he would welcome a law suit by Mr.Boehner just for the chance of being able to speak with his Republican opponents, isn’t that – apart from being amusing – a challenge?
Doesn’t the President, by making fun, cement stubbornness and noncooperation in the Republican house?
In a very serious way isn’t the President guaranteeing gridlock between now and the end of his administration?
It’s one thing to stand apart and laugh at the contortions of the Republicans as they sort themselves out between consensus builders and Tea Partiers. It’s something else again to laugh and then turn around to complain that the Republicans are unwilling to work with the Democrats on anything.
If one wanted Republican assistance on climate change, would the best way to get it be to make fun of their off-the-wall-resistance?
If one wanted to raise the minimum wage nationally, would one best be advised to ridicule the one per cent rather than to flatter it?
If one wanted to make significant changes to Obamacare, for the benefit of the nation, wouldn’t it make more sense to solicit Republican aid and ideas than to minimize them?
If one were in a no-win position in the Middle East, wouldn’t it make sense to at least pretend to listen to John McCain and his pals than to excoriate them for being wrong in the past?
And finally, if a man has run for public office with the promise of unifying his nation, shouldn’t he actually be out there trying to do exactly that despite the years of abuse and racism he’s endured?
Ted Cruz has almost nothing to do with this column. But his name did get your attention, didn’t it?