Barack Gets His Partisan Groove Back
by Charles Lemos, Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:03:12 PM EDT
I'm sure it's only a temporary hiatus from the bipartisan why can't we all just along and split the difference Barack Obama but the President in a rare but welcomed departure from established form chose to assail the GOP for its obstructionism first over the weekend in his weekly address and then again today.
The New York Times provides coverage of today's Rose Garden berating of the GOP:
President Obama called on Congress on Monday to pass an extension of unemployment benefits, and leveled a sharp critique against Republican senators who have stopped passage of a bill that would give some relief to out-of-work Americans.
Under pressure in an election year to reduce the unemployment rate, now at 9.5 percent, Mr. Obama also urged the Senate to approve a package of tax cuts and an expansion of lending to small businesses. “We all have to continue our efforts to do everything in our power to spur growth and hiring,” Mr. Obama said at the White House.
Senate Democrats are expected to bring the unemployment insurance bill back up on Tuesday, after they swear in another Democrat, Carte Goodwin of West Virginia, to be the interim successor to Robert C. Byrd, who died last month. Mr. Goodwin will provide Democrats with the 60th vote they need to close debate and pass the measure.
An estimated 2.1 million Americans have seen their unemployment benefits expire in recent months as they waited for an end to the impasse in the Senate over extending the payments once more to the long-term unemployed. Most Republican lawmakers have balked at extending the benefits without offsetting spending cuts, saying they do not want to add to the budget deficit and the national debt.
Some Republican politicians have also argued that continuing to extend unemployment benefits offers a disincentive for the jobless to find work.
Mr. Obama, appearing before reporters in the Rose Garden flanked by three Americans who have had difficulty finding work, took aim at that argument. “That attitude reflects a lack of faith in the American people,” Mr. Obama said. “They’re not looking for a handout. They desperately want to work.”
Mr. Obama sharply criticized Republicans who have several times in the past month voted against bringing an unemployment extension bill to the Senate floor.
“After years of championing policies that turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, the same people who didn’t have any problem spending hundreds of billions of dollars on tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are now saying we shouldn’t offer relief to middle-class Americans like Jim or Leslie or Denise, who really need help,” Mr. Obama said, referring to the three people who stood with him in the Rose Garden, brought to Washington by the White House to help illustrate the president’s point.
It's not that he doesn't have accomplishments of note, he does, and it's not that he isn't capable of the task, because he is an immensely talented individual and a gifted politician who brought down the House of Clinton but it is almost as if he is going through the motions when it comes to tackling the number one problem in the way that Washington works - the unrelenting politics of obstructionism from an unhinged GOP. There are voices of sanity in the Republican party but they are overshadowed by the radical ideologues that want not just to undo the New Deal but the entire 19th century. I don't know about you but as much I love reading about the Enlightenment I don't want to live in 1789.