Remember way back when Barack Obama lamented the partisan divide and wished that Republicans and Democrats could work together on compromise? That was so long ago … around seven weeks ago, actually, when Obama wanted House Republicans to bend on spending cuts and limiting the national debt. He mentioned “compromise” six times in his speech on July 25th, as a few choice quotes demonstrate:
Either way, I’ve told leaders of both parties that they must come up with a fair compromise in the next few days that can pass both houses of Congress -– and a compromise that I can sign. I’m confident we can reach this compromise. Despite our disagreements, Republican leaders and I have found common ground before. …
They’re fed up with a town where compromise has become a dirty word. …
America, after all, has always been a grand experiment in compromise.
Now, however, compromise is old and busted. New hotness — ultimatums:
Obama’s top political adviser David Axelrod said Tuesday that the administration was unwilling to break up the president’s $447 billion jobs plan if Republicans were only receptive to passing certain elements.
“We’re not in a negotiation to break up the package. It’s not an a la carte menu. It’s a strategy to get this country moving,” Axelrod said Tuesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Say, if America really has been a grand experiment in compromise, then isn’t Axelrod getting a little … un-American? Sauce for the gander, after all, considering Obama laid on the Americans-are-all-about-compromise schtick onto Republicans with a jumbo ladle in that July speech.
Obviously, Axelrod thinks that Obama can score with independents by looking tough and refusing to negotiate with Republicans, but that’s a very dangerous strategy. If the GOP starts breaking up the package into individual elements that Obama himself proposed, it’s hard to call that a do-nothing Congress. If the Democrat-controlled Senate refuses to take up the House bills, John Boehner can rightfully point to Democratic obstructionism as the real culprit. It’s also rather doubtful that Obama would veto bills with elements that he proposed in the AJA if they pass the Senate, either. Axelrod is setting Obama up for another backtrack, and another point of weakness in dealing with Boehner.