Annihilation is something you’d pursue if you were a hyperpartisan liberal with grandiose aspirations of becoming the left-wing Reagan, not the sort of centrist “pragmatist” which the media long assured us that Obama was. Until this past Tuesday, when they stopped. Right around 12:30 p.m. ET.
Anyway, if someone as trustworthy as Jay Carney is giving you a guarantee about Obama’s intentions, you can take that to the bank.
Q John Boehner — Speaker Boehner was quoted saying that “the President’s goal is to annihilate the Republican Party.” What’s the President’s reaction to that?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I haven’t spoken to the President about that, but I know it’s not his goal. His goal is to work together with Congress, with members of both parties to achieve progress on behalf of the American people. You heard him say in the inaugural address that even though we have profound differences and differences that we will not resolve necessarily in the next year or two or three or four, it is imperative that we come together and act on behalf of the American people. And there are things that we can and must do together.
The President believes that a strong two-party system is the foundation of our democracy and looks forward to working with Republicans as well as Democrats to get things done.
Q He wouldn’t object to the annihilation of the Republican Party, would he? (Laughter.)
MR. CARNEY: I think he would object to — he believes that the two-party system is part of the foundation of our democracy, and that it is a healthy aspect of our democracy even if it’s contentious.
Ours is not the only politics in the world that is contentious and appropriately so. What he believes, however, is that we need to have spirited debates but not debates that paralyze us. We need to compromise, not be absolutists, but agree that the call — that the need to act on behalf of the American people should compel us to make reasonable compromise while we stick to our principles. And that’s the approach he’s taken since he entered the White House, and it’s the approach he intends to take in the second term.
The only cliche in Washington more hackneyed than pols paying lip service to the two-party system is a bureaucrat pretending to “accept responsibility” after they screw up. Of course Obama wants to annihilate the GOP. That’s the point of all the Reagan comparisons lately, that O aspires to realign American politics towards the left for the next several decades the way Reagan did towards the right. His agenda has always been geared towards long-term Democratic advantage. ObamaCare was an epochal “achievement” not because it’s going to solve America’s health-care problems but because it puts the country on track to expanding government-run health care down the line, towards single-payer once O-Care proves unworkable. That’s a paradigm shift; conservatism may never quite recover from it. His big ambition in his second term isn’t gun control, which is window dressing for his base, but amnesty for illegal immigrants in hopes of adding millions more votes to the Democratic column. That’ll make the GOP’s demographic challenges even more difficult. It’s no coincidence that liberals are already gaming out how, and when, Texas might eventually turn blue. Even his ridiculous negligence in taking up entitlement reform is partly designed to cripple the GOP. The only way significant changes to Medicare and Social Security can be sold to the public is if the parties partner on it and O puts his personal popularity behind it. By not doing that, he’s essentially daring Republicans to throw themselves on the third rail and go all in on specific cuts and reforms. If they refuse, they’re weakened among conservatives who think they’re unserious and cowardly. If they do it, they’ll find themselves Mediscared into oblivion, potentially worst of all among the seniors whose votes have been keeping the GOP competitive. The weaker and more divided O can make Republicans now, the greater the chance that they (a) lose the House in 2014, clearing the way for Big Things like a carbon tax near the end of O’s term, and (b) reconstitute themselves as a centrist party in the Tory mold that’ll be more open to the left’s agenda once it’s back in power. Even David Brooks, whose Obama fandom famously extends to admiring the crease in The One’s pants, calls the current Democratic strategy “kill the wounded.” Why pretend otherwise, Jay?
Exit quotation via Gallup: