From an ordinary retiree who watches Fox News all day long to an esteemed member of Congress, these descriptions are the ones you’ll likely hear. All of the above is typical campaign rhetoric, regularly tossed out across the spectrum by partisans seeking to take down their opponents.
However, Republicans don’t seem able to come to grips with the fact that the name-calling portion of the election is over. As popular as it might be to say that both sides in Washington have failed to find compromise to avoid the pain of sequester, that’s just not the case. The president has offered significant cuts, including to Social Security. He’s also suggested means-testing Medicare so as to reduce its expense. In exchange, the president has proposed seeking more tax revenue from the wealthiest Americans, a premise that Republicans say is a non-starter in compromise discussions.
Yet, without compromise the sequester will continue to bear down on the nation, harming many on the margins of society, the military and communities that depend on Defense Department dollars as well as putting the squeeze on the nation’s fragile economy.
The tricky part for Republicans is that it’s difficult to step back from all the angry rhetoric directed at Obama. They’ve painted the president as a monster when in fact he’s merely a politician, one who’s on a winning streak of late. For Republicans, the walk back to an honest position from which they can bargain will require an equally canny politician. We’re hoping he or she emerges.