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Sunday, November 09, 2014

The Poisoned Well

Republican warnings that they will not cooperate with the President should he use his lawful powers to address real problems like our broken immigration system are in fact admissions that they never meant to cooperate with the President and also that they are uninterested in addressing real problems. This is exactly what even a cursory awareness of the Obama Presidency would lead anybody to expect. Pundits and politicos making noises about President Obama needing to offer "goodwill gestures" in the aftermath of the mid-term elections are in effect proposing that he offer pre-emptive and unilateral concessions of a kind to which the Republicans have never once responded by moderating their demands but always instead by veering rightward in defiance of pragmatism, fairness, and sense. The mid-term election wasn't the end of history, it didn't release some collective amnesia gas, it didn't earn public figures a do over erasing their actual public records: It is too late to pretend Obama would "poison the well" by fulfilling a promise everybody already knew he would fulfill to solve a problem everybody recognizes is a problem but which Congress refuses to address as a problem. Republicans have "poisoned the well" against responsible and reasonable governance with six years of unprecedented obstructionism and outrageous extremism, if we must deploy the phrase the Republican Talking Points prefer and which has, of course, been dutifully and deliriously repeated by media figures everywhere since the mid-terms. If the mid-terms have taught us anything it is that Democrats don't win when they are scared to say clearly that they really do believe what majorities also believe about fairness and security and to act on those beliefs. Let the Republicans defy the President on immigration, let them tear away healthcare coverage for millions who have it for the time, let them impeach a President who won two elections by wide margins and who remains far more popular than anybody in Congress. Let them do their worst. Let us be seen fighting them. Republicans never cooperated with this President and they are not about to start now. By "cooperate" they mean "surrender."

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