QUOTE OF THE DAY…. It’s not at all uncommon to hear voters describe their preferred political scenario — well-intentioned officials from both parties who work together, with a sense of common interest, to solve policy problems. It’s idealized and naive, but the idea of a functioning political system is a vision many Americans probably find appealing.
Very few people actually want gridlock and increased partisan strife. It’s odd, then, that this is exactly what Americans are poised to give themselves.
Voters should expect “good old-fashioned gridlock” in Washington if Republicans win control of one or both chambers of Congress, one GOP lawmaker said.
Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), a vice chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, told students at Utah State University on Friday that a GOP-held House might not be able to accomplish too much as long as President Obama’s in the White House.
“The most you can expect is two years of good old-fashioned gridlock,” he said at an event on the campus, according to a report by the university’s paper, the Utah Statesman.
Got that? We’re not only going to see the entire policymaking process grind to a halt, according to a House GOP leader, that’s “the most” we can expect.
It’s tempting to think that, right about now, with a week to go, Republicans would be sending a very different signal to the country. Don’t worry, the GOP might tell voters, we’re serious about working in good faith to get things done. We know people are expecting results, they could say, and we have every intention of finding common ground and delivering.
Except, that’s the opposite of the party’s message in the cycle’s closing days. A Senate Republican leader just finished announcing that everything going forward will be filtered through the GOP’s intention to destroy President Obama politically. A House Republican leader announced last week that GOP lawmakers don’t intend to compromise with anyone.
And here’s another top House Republican declaring in public that “gridlock” is the very best America can do in 2011 and 2012.
I rather doubt this message is reaching the American mainstream, but I can’t help but wonder how voters would respond to it if they heard about it. A huge chunk of the electorate, especially the amorphous group of self-identified “independents,” claims to like the idea of Dems and Republicans cooperating and working together. A growing number of key Republicans are already declaring — in public and on the record — they have no intention of doing anything of the sort.
We know why, of course — the GOP just isn’t serious about governing or problem-solving — but doesn’t this sound like an awful closing message for a party poised to make huge gains?