So I've gotten into some heated exchanges the last two days on Twitter. Yesterday I was tweeted by one of my tweeps "While u remain skeptical of the motives of everything Obama does we press on making real progress on real problems being solved"
But at a breakfast event hosted by Politico’s Mike Allen this morning in D.C., which ThinkProgress attended, McConnell expressed a vision of cooperation that looks more like capitulation. McConnell said he is willing to work with Obama, as long as the president “is willing to do what I and my members would do anyway”:
MCCONNELL: If the president is willing to do what I and my members would do anyway, we’re not going to say no and –
ALLEN: But that’s not much of a concession. That’s not bargaining, to just give you what you want.
MCCONNELL: Um, I like to think I’m a pretty good negotiator.
This is the guy leading the opposition. When your opponent says he won't work with you in any way, shape or form, and you keep going back licking his boots to try to get him to work with you, do you know what that makes you look like? A weakling. That is how the GOP sees Obama. They see him as week because regardless of what he says in his State of The Union or anywhere else, they know at the end of the day he wants to be liked so much that he'll give them what they want. Then they have two arguments against Obama that work in their favor and not the country's much less his. And one of them they need not make themselves.
For one they'll say he isn't cooperating enough. For them utter and immediate surrender is the only way they'll see him as cooperating but in order to capitulate for them he has to make a show of "negotiating" and thus they'll say he's too unfriendly to business and to them.
Secondly then his base (you know, the people who got him elected?) are going to look at him playing footsies with McConnell and stay home because they don't see anyone fighting for them.
Paul Ryan gave the official Republican response to the SOTU last night and while it was amateurish, selfish and stupid (for example, Ryan seems to think if you require Social Security you're just lazy) it also highlighted the difference between Republicans and Obama. It said to the Republican base, "This is what we believe in, and Obama does not." And it will work for them.
Obama's strategy of "go along to get along" will not work for him. And if all those people who believe that Obama is fighting for them, who will do it when he's no longer in office? You don't get to make good policy unless you win first.