GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

January 29, 2013

Letters:


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — 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.

But it’s clear Obama has finally realized it’s difficult to compromise with extremists who see compromise as a weakness, and whose only real agenda all along was to destroy him politically.

Obama is likely to be much more assertive in his second term.

He has the GOP on the defensive and a majority of the American people behind him — and the GOP establishment knows it. The Reagan Coalition is fractured, if not completely broken. The Obama Coalition is just taking shape.

It was 32 years ago that, on another cold January day, Ronald Reagan stood on the steps of the Capitol and told the American people that government was the source of the nation’s problems, not the solution. On Jan. 21 of this year, Barack Obama stood on those same Capitol steps and reminded us that government is not the sole solution to our nation’s problems but that it has key a role to play, in a collaborative effort with the private sector and ordinary Americans, in bringing those solutions about.

Given the overwhelmingly positive response to Obama’s speech — not to mention his margin of victory in November and current poll numbers, it’s fair to say most Americans agree.

MICHAEL COOK

Gloucester and

Vieques, Puerto Rico