DOWD: To me, this is a perfect example of what’s gone wrong in Washington. I think Samantha Power is very competent and very qualified. I think Ambassador Rice is very competent and very qualified. But just because you can appoint somebody doesn’t mean you should appoint somebody. And to me, this is basically at a time when everybody says we need to lower the bitterness, and lower the vitriol and bring Washington and figure out a way to get all of this screaming and yelling, he basically sticks a stick in the eye of many Republicans and says, oh by the way, the people that you’ve been castigating, the people that you don’t trust I’m going to put in these two key positions.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He puts her in a White House position, not a Senate confirmable position. That would have been the more in your face move.
DOWD: No, this is even more in your face, George I think. It says we’re not even going to let you approve this. We’re going to put them now in charge of an agency as we’ve learned in the last few days..
KRUGMAN: You can also view this alternatively view this as saying I will not be bullied. You guys tore this person up for no good reason, and I’m going to show that that doesn’t actually work.
DOWD: I actually strength comes from trying to actually reach over to the other side of aisle, and trying to get something done.
KRUGMAN: Boy has this guy reached. He’s reached, and reached, and reached, and had all the fingers ripped off of hand at this point in his life.
Dowd was using the standard Republican talking point that Obama hasn’t reached across the aisle to Republicans. After four plus years of Republicans rejecting their own ideas when presented to them by this president, it is clear that what Republicans really mean when they say reach across the aisle is, “do exactly what I want.” Krugman was correct. Obama spent years reaching out to Republicans, only to be rejected each time.
The president eventually realized that Republicans were trying to run out the clock on his presidency by saying no, so he is working around them by doing things like naming Susan Rice to a White House position. Sure, Obama was sending a political message by appointing Rice. What Republicans fail to acknowledge is that they forced Obama to behave this way by refusing to work with him on anything.
Krugman’s statement was something that is rarely heard in the mainstream media. It was an actual acknowledgement of the real dynamic in Washington. The dysfunction in Washington was caused and is being perpetuated by the Republican Party.
President Obama has done his best, but reaching out to the other side will get you nothing if they refuse to say yes. This fact is often overlooked by a mainstream media that has happily swallowed the Republican narrative of a broken Washington hook, line, and sinker.