But its also a perfect example of how his conciliatory rhetoric acts as ruthless strategy...something I've been writing about for a very long time now.
We all know that Senator Marco Rubio was working on a Republican alternative to the DREAM Act as a way to soften the blows they've inflicted on their support in the Latino community. And we also know that what President Obama did was to basically implement Rubio's alternative via directive.
In a world where Republicans were sane, this would result in someone like Rubio congratulating the President and joining him in implementing a policy that he supported. But of course that's not what happened. Rubio is now crying, taking his toys, and going home. And its all big bad Obama's fault!
It comes as no surprise that Obama's directive is celebrated by immigrants and Latinos. And today we find out that it is generally supported by likely voters 2:1 (64% to 30%). Ruh-roh Republicans.
We've watched this happen over and over again over the last 3 1/2 years. Whenever President Obama embraces something Republicans say they support, they become terrified of what it would mean if they actually worked with him to tackle the challenges that face us. And so instead of working with him, they go into obstruction mode and paint themselves into an ever more extremist corner.
You want to know why Republicans keep insisting on jumping off an extremist cliff? There's your perfect example of how/why it keeps happening.
I'll close with 2 quotes that regular readers will have seen here before. The first is from Mark Schmitt.
One way to deal with that kind of bad-faith opposition is to draw the person in, treat them as if they were operating in good faith, and draw them into a conversation about how they actually would solve the problem. If they have nothing, it shows. And that's not a tactic of bipartisan Washington idealists -- it's a hard-nosed tactic of community organizers, who are acutely aware of power and conflict.And the second from Jonathan Chait.
This apparent paradox is one reason Obama's political identity has eluded easy definition. On the one hand, you have a disciple of the radical community organizer Saul Alinsky turned ruthless Chicago politician. On the other hand, there is the conciliatory post-partisan idealist. The mistake here is in thinking of these two notions as opposing poles. In reality it's all the same thing. Obama's defining political trait is the belief that conciliatory rhetoric is a ruthless strategy.