IF REPUBLICANS FEEL ‘CHASTENED,’ THEY’RE HIDING IT WELL…. The larger column was largely about the fiscal commission, but David Broder made a point today that struck me as hard to believe.
Also over are two years in which Obama and the Democratic Party pretended they could govern the nation on their own and Republicans thought they could score points simply by objecting.
Both sides have been sobered by the midterm elections and have emerged chastened and prepared to talk.
I genuinely wish I could see what Broder sees.
His take on the last two years is itself flawed — Dems didn’t “pretended they could govern the nation on their own”; they tried to reach out to Republicans and found a congressional minority that refused to compromise or even negotiate. Indeed, GOP leaders have conceded, publicly and on the record, that this was a deliberate strategy — even in a time of crisis, Republicans decided it was important to deny Democrats victories for their own partisan purposes. Broder makes it sound as if Dems chose to shut Republicans out. That’s not what happened.
But I’m especially confused by the notion that congressional Republicans have “emerged chastened and prepared to talk” over the last month.
The evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. Consider what we’ve seen in recent weeks:
* The White House told Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) the administration would agree to his demands on the pending arms control treaty, New START. Kyl soon after announced he would block ratification anyway.
* The White House invited GOP leaders over for a presidential chat on possible areas of common ground. They initially balked and said they were too busy.
* The White House announced a pay freeze for civilian federal workers, only to find an op-ed from Republican leaders the next day, vowing not to compromise on any of their priorities.
* The White House set up a working group to try to strike a compromise on the debate over tax policy. Senate Republicans responded by announcing they would hold the entire lame-duck session hostage until they got what they wanted.
* There was bipartisan support for a food-safety bill in the Senate, but exploiting a procedural glitch, Republican leaders intend to kill the legislation anyway.
* Looking ahead to next year, congressional Republicans haven’t budged at all on any issue.
If there’s even a shred of evidence that Republicans “have been sobered by the midterm elections and have emerged chastened and prepared to talk,” I’d love to see it.