Who's to Blame — Obama, GOP or Shortage of Martinis?

Friday, 04 Oct 2013 04:27 PM

By Christopher Ruddy

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As we wind our way through the crisis over defunding Obamacare and the debt-ceiling resolution, I have to say I am a bit exasperated by all the media coverage.
Blame the Republicans — that’s the spin.
As I sit here channeling my inner Hemingway through stream of consciousness, I recall in 2009 how with majorities in the House and Senate, President Obama and the Democrats threw away decades of bipartisanship in Congress to push through the largest stimulus package in history, now estimated at $830 billion.

Urgent: Should GOP Stick to Its Guns on Obamacare? Vote Here.
At the time, Republicans were very open to a stimulus bill to help deal with the economic meltdown that began in late 2007. They had supported one just a few years earlier, working with Democrats and President George W. Bush.
In fact, there were two stimulus bills supported by both Democrats and Republicans during the Bush years.
But when Obama and the Democrats did not involve Republicans at all in the discussions, the negotiations, and the final 2009 legislation, they tremendously undermined the legislative process.
We saw this power grab again in 2010 when Harry Reid and the Democrats pushed through Obama's sweeping healthcare law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Every Republican in Congress voted against the bill, with the exception of one senator. Once again, a blatant disregard by the Democrats for the political process.
Yet today when Republicans object to funding bills in Congress or raising the debt ceiling (which Sen. Obama opposed), they are somehow extremists, radicals, and traitors to the country.
Go figure.
At a certain point I want to keep blaming Obama and the Democrats, but then I remember the Republicans have controlled the House since 2010. The first two years went well, holding the line on Obama's plans and setting up the tee for a GOP victory in 2012.
Well, we missed the ball last year.
Since then, the GOP has become the party of "no" — without offering a positive and vigorous alternative to Obamacare and Obama's other liberal policies.
There has been simply no communication effort to either the Republican base or the public at large.
It's a major Republican failing. And now, perhaps out of frustration, by veering off into unwinnable demands for defunding Obamacare, we're losing track of our main mission: winning over the American people.
So far Obama seems like the winner here, but he isn't.
Chris Matthews has a new book out, "Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked." I haven't read it yet, but I know the storyline because I lived during those years, as most of you did.
The story goes like this: A very conservative President Ronald Reagan has to grapple with a very liberal Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill.
They should have hated each other. Politics was their only common denominator. But both men had a certain degree of greatness, saw past their partisan interests for the good of the country, and time and again pushed through legislation that helped all Americans.
They compromised.
The media myth is that the Republicans don't want compromise. And it's a fact the media ignore that Obama simply hates to compromise.
With the media on his side, Obama scores points with the public.
But here's where he loses, and, sadly, so does the country.
We just saw a very dramatic event take place in Syria with the use of chemical weapons. It is now pretty clear the Bashar Assad regime gravely violated international law and the president's own "red line" in using these horrific weapons.
The president was stymied in retaliating or punishing Syria. He wanted to, but he clearly didn't have the support of either party in Congress — Republicans or Democrats.
Compare this to 1999, when after a heated fight over impeachment, President Bill Clinton still had the confidence of Republicans in Congress to engage in NATO military action against Yugoslavia.
Clinton was a compromiser and a uniter. He actually kept very good relations with Congress.
It appears there will be more crises ahead, both foreign and domestic, and President Obama will need the goodwill of all Americans.
Remember — he is supposed to be the president of the United States, not the president of the Democratic Party.
But I doubt he will get significant GOP support in any major initiative, because he still doesn't understand the position he holds.

Urgent: Should GOP Stick to Its Guns on Obamacare? Vote Here.

Or does he? Again, my stream of consciousness weighed in.
Back to Hemingway for a moment. I recently heard the story told again that during World War II he worked as a war correspondent. He led a contingent of OSS officers into Paris during its liberation.
He immediately guided his cohorts to the grand Ritz Hotel. A startled maître d' greeted them, wondering what their military mission was, and offered to help.
Hemingway looked at him and said bluntly: "My men and I immediately need 39 dry martinis from the bar."
So here's my inner consciousness streaming — Washington hasn't been liberated yet, but boy, they could use those dry martinis.
Christopher Ruddy is CEO and editor of Newsmax Media Inc. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.

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