Delicate sensibilities and two-way streets

DELICATE SENSIBILITIES AND TWO-WAY STREETS…. President Obama hosted a town-hall meeting in Wisconsin yesterday, and appeared to be in campaign mode. Apparently annoyed by 18 months of Republican nonsense, the president even chided the opposition party a bit.

“Before I was even inaugurated, there were leaders on the other side of the aisle who got together and they made the calculation that ‘if Obama fails, then we win,'” the president said. “That was the basic theory. They figured if we just keep on saying no to everything and nothing gets done, then somehow people will forget who got us into this mess in the first place and we’ll get more votes in November.” He proceeded to highlight recent history, and the ways in which Republicans have managed to be wrong about practically everything.

“[W]e’ve tried the other side’s theories,” he added. “We know what their ideas are. We know where they led us. So now we’ve got a choice. We can return to what we know did not work, or we build a stronger future. We can go backwards, or we can go forward. And I don’t know about you, but I want to move forward in this country.”

Roll Call reports today that presidential remarks like these hurt Republicans’ feelings.

President Barack Obama has been pleading with Capitol Hill Republicans to work in a bipartisan way on key measures such as climate change legislation and immigration reform, but many of his most likely GOP allies say the president has lost all credibility since he bashes them every time he hits the campaign trail. […]

House Republicans whom the White House has previously looked to for bipartisan help say comments like these are the reason Obama’s vows to work together fall on deaf ears on the Hill.

“A day doesn’t go by where we don’t hear one thing and see another. The outstretched hand by the left with the clenched clock across the face by the right…. It just seems to be their method of doing things,” Budget ranking member Paul Ryan said. […]

“This administration’s got a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde approach to governing. One day they want Republican support, the next they are out blasting us,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said.

Take a moment to consider exactly what congressional Republicans are saying here. They can root for his failure; they can oppose every proposal; they can stoke the fires of hate and paranoia; they can engage in truly scandalous legislative obstruction on a scale unseen in American history; they can even lie uncontrollably throughout key policy debates.

But if Obama hits the campaign trail and has some unkind words for the party that’s desperate to destroy his presidency, then Republicans believe it’s his fault there isn’t more bipartisan cooperation.

This is painfully silly. The White House has made repeated good-faith efforts to work constructively with Republicans, and they’re not interested. It’s hard to blame Obama for calling the GOP out once in a while.