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Obama has finally abandoned the quaint notion that he can reason with congressional Republicans

Paul Begala NAILS IT:

Barack Obama is a remarkably gifted politician. But his cardinal political error has been that at times he seems to lack the imagination to even conceptualize how truly nihilistic, irresponsible, partisan, and, yes, crazy his Republican opponents are. The last Democratic president saw the Republicans shut down the government, squander millions on partisan witch hunts—including taking 140 hours of sworn testimony investigating President Clinton’s Christmas-card list—and drag the country through an impeachment process. Despite that history—and despite that Obama may be dealing with Republicans who are even more ideological and self-destructive than in Clinton’s day—he still expressed a blind faith in their reasonableness. How quaint.

This faith in the reasonableness of others is quintessentially American. We are, after all, a nation born of the Enlightenment. John Locke, the intellectual godfather of the American Revolution, said, “Reason must be our last judge and guide in everything.” But John Locke was a 17th-century English philosopher, not a 21st-century Tea Party nihilist. Obama, sadly, is not dealing with Mr. Locke—nor with Mr. Spock—but rather with zealous partisans who would, it seems, gladly harm the country in order to hurt the president. Highly illogical, perhaps, but real.

Our president, however, is nothing if not smart. And so he has adapted. Instead of sitting with Boehner and Cantor and McConnell, seeking to appeal to the cool light of reason, which failed so miserably in previous budget showdowns, he is barnstorming the country, basking in the warm glow of popular approval. Whereas once he seemed to prefer the prophet Isaiah’s entreaty, “Come now, let us reason together,” now he seems to be channeling the prophet Ezekiel: “I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes.”

Fortunately for our nation, the president seems to have hit upon a strategy that works. Republicans are more divided and more extreme, while Democrats seem more united and more mainstream. By a 3–1 margin in the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, voters say the GOP prefers partisanship to national unity, while a slight plurality views Obama as putting unity before party.

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19 Comments

  1. expdoc

    Begala is just trying to kiss Quentin Tarantino’s butt with the Ezekiel quote.

  2. doc: In his film “Pulp Fiction,” Tarantino’s version of the stuff from Ezekiel does not match any passage from the Bible. He rewrote it for dramatic effect.

    Begala’s version is faithful to the passage in the Good Book.

    Moreover, Tarantino got the idea from the 1976 movie “Karate Kiba.”

    So, who’s to say whose butt Begala was kissing. Was it Tarantino’s? Or was it the butts of the two Japanese guys who wrote “Karate Kiba”? Or was it the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel himself?

    Or is your theory about butt-kissing just another little bit of snarky crap you’re throwing at a pundit associated with the dreaded Obama?

    Yeah, that’s probably it.

    Funny, I would have thought you would more likely find fault with Begala’s reference to congressional Republicans as “nihilistic, irresponsible, partisan, and, yes, crazy.”

  3. Neftali

    He can’t reason because he can’t lead, and lately the tag team of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are currently mopping the floor with Barack Obama.

    John Feehery explains:

    “…the White House has gotten nowhere on its two biggest non-fiscal legislative agenda items, immigration and gun control. On the fiscal issues, the Republicans have succeeded in getting 98 percent of the Bush tax cuts made permanent. On spending, they have been successful in rolling back spending to 2009 levels.

    And what has the president achieved in these first two months of the new year?

    Outside of putting new Cabinet secretaries in place — and not without some controversy — he hasn’t accomplished much.”

    “And for their efforts, Team Obama was roundly mocked. “Saturday Night Live” did a hilarious skit over the weekend that had the president trot out the Village People to show how deep the cuts would hurt. When they are laughing at you, Mr. President, you aren’t winning. ”

    http://thehill.com/opinion/columnists/john-feehery/286101-tag-teaming-obama

  4. Poor Neftali: He’s so confused that he blames Obama for the blatant obstructionism and dishonesty of Boehner and McConnell.

    He probably even believes the stuff that has set Boehner’s pants afire:

    http://blogs.e-rockford.com/applesauce/2013/03/05/politifact-john-boehners-pants-are-on-fire/

  5. expdoc

    When a crazy man accuses others of being crazy, all thoughts of a reasoned argument are lost.

  6. I’m sure the GOP will get their act together when they assemble for the Comic Con conference next week with their star studded cast from the bizarro world.

  7. doc: Reasoned argument? Republicans? You think the lying likes of Boehner and McConnell are capable of reasoned argument?

    You either aren’t paying attention or you’re pathologically incapable of seeing anything that doesn’t comport with your Obamaphobia.

    I think you better leave this stuff alone and go back to your Benghazi crapola.

  8. Mark Washington

    How do you reason with someone who is incapable of compromise?
    He attacks and attacks the Republicans and then lectures them on civility.
    Now that is a great way to sway folks.

    “Obama opposed the sequester. Obama swore to veto attempts to repeal the sequester his party stuck into the Budget Control Act. Democrats bet that in the sequester game of chicken, Republicans would flinch, because they wouldn’t be able to stomach defense cuts. Democrats bet wrong.”

    Gosh all those Janitors being furloughed, oh that was a lie.
    People who don’t exist in departments that don’t exist will lose their jobs
    The list goes on and on.
    What a con.

    http://redalertpolitics.com/2013/02/28/top-ten-sequester-lies/

  9. LoveThyNeighbor

    Hi,

    I don’t know why these Tea Party constitutional experts always bring up the president on budgetary matters on taxes. The last time I checked.. I could be wrong…. but it has always been Congress and not the Executive Branch. Furthermore, the Ways and Means Committee (i.e. tax committee) resides with the House GOP, basically it’s Congress the handles the purse strings so there’s no need to give the illusion that the it’s the President’s budget. It’s true they approve it, but the real action begins with the House (i.e. Boehnor/Cantor).

    1. By the way, the mythological actor turner President, Ronald Reagan, unintentionally (or intentally) kept Roe vs Wade the law of the land by picking Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court. So much for Faux News fallacies..and Karl Rove passing on the myth/actor Reagan.

    http://prochoice.org/policy/get_informed_active/recent_positions/nominations/oconnor.html

    2. Reagan increased the size of government, and “W” brought us the Homeland Security Dept and Soldiers of Fortune private companies that take tax payers money to fight for oil industry.

    WashingtonPost: “Reagan famously declared at his 1981 inauguration that “in the present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” This rhetorical flourish didn’t stop the 40th president from increasing the federal government’s size by every possible measure during his eight years in office. ”

    3. Contrary to Fox News and GOP Party of No, their lobbyist made a ton of money which is contrary to the claim the 1ST TERM President Obama would have the Dow lower than the 6500 that he inherited. The 401K recovered from 2008.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/dayton/news/2013/03/05/dow-jones-streaks-past-all-time-high.html

    The nose dive economy or pulled out of the GOP Administration led crash of 2008, and we’re above the “ground effect”.

    As Gov/Actor Arnold said, Hasta La Vista

    P.S. Did you know Gov. Brown of California has pulled CA out of a ditch too..

  10. expdoc

    PS-Do you know how Gov. Brown pulled CA out of the ditch?

    Do you know that California curbed spending and increased income taxes to the highest level in the country?

    Do you know that the boost in revenue from income tax that CA saw early this year is now acknowledged to be an accounting error and not likely to persist?

    I would watch out for that ditch if I was a Californian.

  11. Do you know that the boost in revenue from income tax that CA saw early this year is now acknowledged to be an accounting error and not likely to persist?

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    Source?

  12. Condolences to the Obama family in the death of barak’s twin brother Hugo . One good thing,
    now obama is the world’s most Prolific Liar and Scumbag.

  13. Clever comment, Karl. Barack’s twin brother. That’s pretty good.

    Oh, and calling the president of the United States a “scumbag.” Pure class, Karl.

    Keep up the good work.

  14. expdoc

    http://articles.latimes.com/2013/feb/18/local/la-me-state-budget-20130219

    SACRAMENTO — The surge of revenue that showed up unexpectedly in state coffers last month may well be offset by a revenue dip in coming months, according to Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration.

    The surprise money has been the source of much speculation in the Capitol. Unanticipated tax receipts filled state coffers with more than $5 billion beyond initial projections for January — more tax dollars than are allocated to the entire state university system in a year.

    The revenue bump was historic. But the question for budget experts was whether lawmakers could begin allocating the windfall toward government programs and tax breaks — or whether the money amounted to an accounting anomaly.

    Brown’s budget office now advises in an official cash report that it is probably the latter. Lawmakers need not do much reading between the lines to understand that the governor does not see the revenue boost as an occasion to pack the budget with extra spending.

    The report says the extra money was “likely the result of major tax law changes at the federal and state level having a significant impact in the timing of revenue receipts.”

    That is: Taxpayers were paying a share of their bill early, getting income off their books in the hope of limiting exposure to the tax hikes that recently kicked in.

    The administration was expecting that money to arrive in April. Now, officials are saying it won’t, and that just as January’s receipts soared, they’ll be offset by a spring plunge

  15. Oh, you are a real class act Pat… covering for an ignorant ” jackass” that fits the Dnc mascot to a T.

    Since there is no denial on your part , I guess from your comment, you agree with me that obama is the most Prolific Liar in the World…Thanks for agreeing with my point Pat…
    We are correct.

  16. Thanks.

  17. Karl: Get over yourself. I’ve never agreed with anything you’ve ever said.

    Your comments remind me of something Dorothy Parker once said about the stuff Lillian Hellman wrote: “Every word is a lie, including ‘the’ and ‘and.’”

    If you don’t know who Dorothy Parker or Lillian Hellman were, ask one of your attendants there at the home to look it up for you.

  18. Sorry Pat.. very poor comeback by you . There are no do-overs , strike 4’s , or trophies for all you losers………

    Deflecting and redirecting your garbage is your trait ,as well as that of obama and the dnc, all over again. Sick Of IT…………..

    Game- Set- Match. You Lose as usual.
    Gotta go.. Bye- Bye

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