Jeb Bush whines again:
The second this thing this election is about is about doing things – not talking about them, not pointing a finger, not trying to divide us, but to focus on practical solutions to begin to solve the problems that we have so that we can restore our footing and our greatness so that we have a chance for more people to be successful in life. in order to do that, Washington has to begin to come together. Do you honestly think that this president is capable of bringing people together? (No, crowd yells) His entire strategy is to blame others – starting with my brother, of course. Basically, he blames every possible thing rather than having the humility to be able to reach out and to find common ground.
This may be primarily an attempt, as the former Florida governor made in his speech at the Republican National Convention, to defend brother George. But really, President Obama criticized as not "capable of bringing people together" because "his entire strategy is to blame others?"
During the three presidential debates, Obama assiduously avoided criticizing Republicans or even drawing contrasts between Republicans and Democrats. In the second presidential debate, he uttered the word "Republican" three times. In the most biting criticism (on comprehensive immigration reform), he savaged the GOP by asserting "we can't- we have not seen Republicans serious about this issue at all. And it's time for them to get serious on it."
At another point, Obama charged "And that- don't take my word for it, take the executives at GM and Chrysler, some of whom are Republicans, may even support Governor Romney. But they'll tell you his prescription wasn't going to work." And in brutalizing form, he claimed also "I have sat down with Democrats and Republicans at the beginning of my term. And I said, let's fix this system, including Senators previously who had supported it on the Republican side."
That was crass partisanship compared to the President's behavior in the first debate, when he maintained "And, you know, yes, have we had some fights between me and the Republicans when- when they fought back against us reigning in the excesses of Wall Street? Absolutely, because that was a fight that needed to be had." Otherwise, the President railed against the GOP by declaring "First, we've got to improve our education system and we've made enormous progress drawing on ideas both from Democrats and Republicans that are already starting to show gains in some of the toughest to deal with schools." A bit later, he assailed the GOP when maintaining "And I worked with Democrats and Republicans to cut a trillion dollars out of our discretionary domestic budget."
In the final debate, President Obama summoned his divisive persona and unloaded all his partisan bitterness and rancor, referring to Republican, Republicans, or GOP... well, not at all.
But just as Mitt Romney made a 180 degree turn from partisan right winger to the accommodating centrist which characterized his debate performance, so might Obama merely have been putting on an agreeable face during the debates.
Except not, because statements from the President since those events have made his remarks at the debates seem caustic by comparison. Interviewed recently by the Des Moines Register, Obama explained
It will probably be messy. It won’t be pleasant. But I am absolutely confident that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain that essentially I've been offering to the Republicans for a very long time, which is $2.50 worth of cuts for every dollar in spending, and work to reduce the costs of our health care programs.
It gets worse. Interviewed by independent/centrist talk radio host Michael Smerconish of WPHT Philadelphia (who has interviewed Obama a few other times), the leader of the Free World and Commander in Chief of the Armed Services was asked about his interest in reaching such a deficit reduction deal with the GOP. "I'll wash John Boehner's car, I'll walk Mitch McConnell's dog," the President astonishingly replied.
And now, most photogenically, there is the Obama-Christie love fest, in which Barack Obama effusively praised New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as one who "has put his heart and soul into making sure the people of New Jersey bounce back even stronger than before." Next year, the New Jersey Republican will be facing a Democrat seeking to block his re-election and will find Obama's kind words rather satisfying in campaign ads.
It is a measure of our times and of the reaction to Obama's entreaties that, following its discussions with the candidates, the Des Moines Register (which had endorsed a Democrat for President in the last twelve elections), endorsed Mitt Romney. More telling, it did so by contending "Which candidate could forge the compromises in Congress to achieve these goals? When the question is framed in those terms, Mitt Romney emerges the stronger candidate."
Earlier in this presidential campaign, before Bill Clinton came out swinging for Obama, Republicans delighted (however disingenuously) in unfavorably comparing the incumbent President to the 42nd President. Years beyond the administrations of (Bill) Clinton and Obama, in some far off distant time, there will be a Democratic president unabashedly pursuing liberal/progressive goals by way of an agenda supportive of the lower and middle classes. Then, Republicans will wax nostalgic for that time, beginning in 2009, that the nation had a Democrat whom they will tell us was oh, so laudable.