In the middle of a light-hearted discussion on Monday afternoon about the 'lame duck' session of Congress, MSNBC's The Cycle co-host Touré got a little heated.
Taking out his pent-up frustration on the Republicans who have prevented the Obama Administration from fixing what ails the country, and blaming the congressional gridlock and prolonged economic instability on them alone. [ video below the page break, MP3 audio available here ]
...For almost 4 years the GOP strategy of obstruction has been to keep anything from happening. Anything that Obama wants, anything that he's interested in, we must stop that. We must keep it from happening with the expressed purpose of destroying faith in government...
Continuing, Toure suggested that this strategy of obstruction has been solely for political gain -- no matter what happens to their constituents as a result of stubbornness.
In doing so, you get these single digit approval numbers for all of Congress so that they will support the anti-government party, and perpetuate the pain that Americans feel in this recession so they can throw out Obama. It is not a bipartisan problem, it is an asymmetrical problem.
Finally concluding, Touré wondered why this hackneyed liberal conspiracy theory hasn't become more of a scandal.
...it is shocking to me that this isn't more of a national scandal. That one party has said we will put party ahead of country and inflict pain on America, so that we can have electoral success.
An infamous quote by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has perpetuated this left-wing way of thinking for two years now. "My number one priority is making sure President Obama’s a one-term president," he said back in October of 2010. While there certainly has been some push back, it's not fair to hold one party accountable for its partisanship.
A compromise can only be reached if two opposing sides are willing to meet in the middle. The looming fiscal cliff should remind us all of the debt ceiling crisis that lowered our credit rating last year. In the end, there was so no resolution -- only more 'bought' time. Tenured Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward detailed in his new book how inflexible both sides were back then.
Throughout his re-election campaign, the president and his loyal surrogates have repeatedly listed off his achievements. Despite all the resistance, Democratic lawmakers have found ways to pass controversial legislation. Don't Ask, Don't Tell was repealed, a massive stimulus package was approved, multiple bailouts were handed out, and the Affordable Health Care Act somehow became the law of the land without a single vote from across the aisle.
Obama has issued an abundance of executive orders, and even invoked executive privilege a time or two. Does that sound like a president who has been rendered powerless? Hardly, but checks and balances were meant to at least limit it.