The Republicans are extremists who are incapable of acting in good faith. President Obama is naive to believe in bipartisanship and his efforts to negotiate with them will always fail.I'd be a rich woman if I had a dollar for every time I've read something like that.
I have to wonder if those folks are paying attention to the news lately.
For example, have they noticed that Republican Senator Pat Toomey has sponsored a bill with blue dog Democrat Joe Manchin on background checks for gun purchases? Or that 16 Republican Senators voted to forego the filibuster that McConnell and Paul had planned for the bill? Or that we're now seeing some Republicans (other than Toomey) say they'll vote for it this week?
And then there's immigration reform. The bill being negotiated in the Senate - which includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers - is not only supported by McCain and Graham. Tea party darling Marco Rubio is on every Sunday news show today trying to sell it.
President Obama early on laid out his priorities for his second term. They include immigration reform, gun violence reform, dealing with climate change and addressing the federal budget in a way that strengthens the economy.
What we see right now - at least in the Senate - is that a few Republicans are willing to negotiate on the first two of those priorities. In other words, a common sense caucus is beginning to develop.
I believe that the President's offer to include chained CPI in a budget deal was meant to see if he can build on that momentum to develop a common sense caucus on a budget deal. It was a pre-emptive strike to reach out to some of them before the lunatics start working on blowing up the economy with yet another debt ceiling crisis next month.
Yes, we're a long way from all of this working out. But since the 2012 election, the dynamics have changed. President Obama is no longer dealing with a party united behind their leaders - McConnell and Boehner. When instead, he and other Democrats can work with individual members to form coalitions on issues, the possibilities open up. In other words, the fever is breaking.
UPDATE: I want to make sure that everyone sees this comment from Bill.
A few not-so-random Sun Tzu lines, cribbed from Wikiquote:
"Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him."
"Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them."
"if double [the enemy's strength], be able to divide them; if equal, engage them."
The most important STRATEGIC goal at this point is to divide the GOP. Divide the Senate caucus, and more importantly, divide the House GOP. In the House, notice that what the President is doing is putting division between sovereign (Boehner) and subject (his caucus). The situation was ripe, but the President is exploiting it more effectively now, after the election, than before.
The most important thing we can do is sow division in the GOP. That will pay strategic dividends that far outweigh the cost of the tactical retreat which is compromise on chained CPI.