Notes From Norm: Hearing Only What He Wants You to Hear
Facing a gaggle of reporters in the aftermath of one of the most profound elections since World War II, with Republicans firmly in control of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, President Barack Obama had an opportunity to set the stage for a new era of bipartisan cooperation.
With Republican leaders making it clear that they heard the voices of the American people and that one of the key messages was that government needs to find a way to work together to get things done the setting was perfect for the President to deliver a message of cooperation.
Instead, like a rejected suitor, the President chose to puff out his chest and proclaim that he wasn’t rebuffed by the American people. They were just angry at Washington. In reality, they actually like him and his policies.
For Barack Obama, elections do not have consequences.
The President, during nearly an 1 ½ press conference to address the results of this year’s election, was asked repeatedly what he felt he needed to do to respect the wishes of voters who handed him and his party an historic rejection.
He was asked multiple times what was the take-away for him from the election. What did he need to do to be responsive to the wishes of the electorate? What might he do better to create a healthy environment where the White House and Congress can find ways to work together to get things done.
The President assured the assembled media that he heard what Americans said at the polls.
But, he also made it clear that he didn’t care for what he heard and little of what was said is going to change his behavior for the remaining two years of his Presidency.
Barely masking his disdain for his Republican opponents that now control Congress he exclaimed his willingness to look at ideas they might have. And, if they matched his agenda he would be willing to discuss them.
He wouldn’t present to them any ideas of his own to discuss and debate and consider in a way that might get us closer to a functioning government.
But, he did make it clear that he intends to act unilaterally anywhere and everywhere he can.
The American people spoke on Election Day.
For nearly ever Democrat who was defeated, as well as those that barely survived Election Day, they understood that the results were a repudiation of the President and their party.
For nearly every Republican who was elected, they have said they understand Americans want government to get to work to address issues that are important to the future of the country.
This should allow the President to be ready to work with Congress to get the Keystone pipeline project moving forward. Repeal the medical device tax that is costing America thousands of jobs. Reforming the tax code and repatriating trillions of dollars that are currently overseas, instead of in America, being re-invested in our economy and creating jobs.
And, working together to develop comprehensive immigration reform.
Mitch McConnell said that he believes there are areas of cooperation where Congress should be able to pass legislation and bring it to the President. Something Harry Reid refused to do.
McConnell also warned that the President insistence on unilateral action on immigration would be like waving a “red flag in front of a bull”.
While McConnell and Boehner are extending olive branches of cooperation to the President, the President extended a single middle finger straight up into the air and directly at the results of the Tuesday Election.
Reporters pressed the President. Asking him if taking such unilateral action was akin to immediately creating conflict, instead of cooperation, with the new Republican Majority in Congress.
While the President said he would prefer that Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform, he wasn’t going to wait for the new Congress to act.
In his response, and his tone, the President made it clear he cared little about cooperation.
Or the results of the 2014 mid-term elections.
One could have seen the President’s dismissal of the results of the elections coming the day before the election.
Rather than acknowledging the fears, anger and anxiety of the American people he said that outcome of the election would simply be the result of the construct of an electoral map that he claims would be the worst since Eisenhower.
That his party suffered the worst drubbing on an electoral map since World War II is not lost on the President.
But the conclusion he wishes to draw is that people are mad “at Washington”.
The President knows better. He doesn’t care.
What he cares about is his agenda and his view of how the world ought to be.
Which is exactly what the American people rejected on Tuesday.