The Republican National Committee is out with an excellent new video that highlights what is indisputably Barack Obama’s greatest bipartisan achievement:
Unanimity is nearly impossible in politics, yet Barack Obama managed to inspire it. As Ed reported yesterday, every single member of the House of Representatives voted against the president’s $3.6 trillion budget. Republicans rightly noted that Democrats were clearly afraid to vote for the president’s tired tax-and-spend policies, but Democrats made the bizarre excuse that Republicans had forced a vote on the numbers of the budget and not the policies the president would use to arrive at those numbers. But as Ed pointed out, aren’t budgets all about the numbers?
The RNC video calls attention to something else, though, too: What meaningful bipartisan achievements does Obama have to his name? Adoring documentarian Davis Guggenheim might fault Republicans for Obama’s inability to arrive at bipartisan solutions to the pressing problems that face the country, but, in the end, it’s the president’s job to lead. As Peggy Noonan writes in her column today:
If you jumped into a time machine to the day after the election, in November, 2012, and saw a headline saying “Obama Loses,” do you imagine that would be followed by widespread sadness, pain and a rending of garments? You do not. Even his own supporters will not be that sad. It’s hard to imagine people running around in 2014 saying, “If only Obama were president!” Including Mr. Obama, who is said by all who know him to be deeply competitive, but who doesn’t seem to like his job that much. As a former president he’d be quiet, detached, aloof. He’d make speeches and write a memoir laced with a certain high-toned bitterness. It was the Republicans’ fault. They didn’t want to work with him.
He will likely not see even then that an American president has to make the other side work with him. You think Tip O’Neill liked Ronald Reagan? You think he wanted to give him the gift of compromise? He was a mean, tough partisan who went to work every day to defeat Ronald Reagan. But forced by facts and numbers to deal, he dealt. So did Reagan.
An American president has to make cooperation happen.
If only the president’s remarkable ability to unite Congress against a plan could be inverted …