The comforting fictions of Obama’s farewell address
“When Congress is dysfunctional,” Obama explained, “we should draw our districts to encourage politicians to cater to common sense and not rigid extremes.” For the president, a “dysfunctional” Congress means a Congress unwilling to pass progressive legislation. That is not the definition of dysfunctional, I’m afraid. Nor is it the definition of extreme.
There is nothing in the Constitution instructing legislators to acquiesce to the president. In the near future, the GOP Congress will be passing tons of legislation, and I can assure you neither Obama, nor his many fans in the media, will be celebrating the fact that Congress is finally “getting stuff done” or “doing its job.” Progress will no longer be measured in the number of bills signed.
Nor should it be. After all, if voters were displeased with the way legislators treated Obama’s agenda, they had the ability to replace these obstinate lawmakers with more cooperative ones. They did not. That’s because gridlock was created by a party that fooled itself into believing it could rule unilaterally. Also, after Democrats passed their massive health-care reform law — and I’m certain there were other reasons, as well — Republicans kept expanding their majorities, and not only in Congress.