, Gloucester, MA

Letters/My View

January 29, 2013


To the editor:

Throughout his first term, President Obama sought to compromise with Republicans in ways that occasionally angered the more liberal elements of the Democratic party.

Some liberals even quipped he was more of a “compromiser in chief” than a “commander in chief.” But he no doubt made compromises because he believed that coming up with joint, bipartisan solutions to the nation’s problems was the most intelligent and constructive approach to take because doing so would bring people together and they would have a mutual stake in the outcomes.

There was just one problem with the president’s approach. A majority of Republicans had no desire to reach any compromises with President Obama. In fact, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said shortly after Obama’s first inaugural, the only thing many, if not most, Republicans had on their agenda was to make sure Obama was a one-term president. It was a strategy right out of Dick Cheney’s playbook where you sway public opinion by telling the same lie so much, people come to believe it.

For a while, the strategy seemed to be effective, but then something happened.

The GOP overreached, not just in relation to the economy but on a host of other issues as well.

Instead of being able lay the blame for the slow recovery at the president’s feet, the GOP and Mitt Romney found themselves on the defensive for being too closely associated with the extreme right wing of the party, something that may be OK in the primaries, but a real hinderance in the general election.

Judging from what we heard in President Obama’s second inaugural address, it’s a safe bet the days of being too willing to compromise are over. Compromises will still be needed, they always are.

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