September 8, 2011 1 Comment
Really nice summary by Marc Ambinder in his column about the president’s speech (as you may have guessed, I didn’t watch myself. Dinner at Bojangles followed by more Mrs. Frisby):
“Voters do give the president credit for being reasonable,” says Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster. “They would just rather be giving him credit for making the economy better.”
That’s hard to do when the president and the speaker of the House do not like or trust each other. And it’s especially difficult when the opposition Republican Party has based its organizing philosophy around a determination to completely discredit government at every turn. Getting things done—anything—means that government is doing something. And that’s bad. So the worst thing that can happen is for anything associated with the president to pass cleanly, or even at all. If you’re a Republican member of Congress, there is no real incentive to compromise.
The GOP has created a political feedback loop that is calculated to destroy President Obama’s credibility as a change agent. They’ve figured out that when government is gridlocked and sclerotic, even silly and absurd, no one in Washington comes out smelling like a rose. No one seems reasonable, because nothing gets done. The reasonable man just looks weak. [emphasis mine]
That pretty much hits all the key points. And that last one sure strikes me as sadly true. Now, if only Obama would realize that’s the case and stop trying so damn hard to just be the most reasonable man in the room.