In an op-ed for The New York Times that was published Thursday, Republican strategist and pollster Frank Luntz said that after winning the Senate majority, Republicans should work with Democrats and President Obama to find “common-sense solutions” to a number of issues. However, Luntz is one of the key figures behind the GOP obstruction that has plagued Washington since Obama was elected President six years ago. The famed Republican wordsmith was one of the organizers behind the infamous inauguration night dinner in 2009.
It was at that dinner, as Obama was celebrating his inauguration as America’s first black president, that Luntz and other influential Republicans gathered and decided that they would cause as much gridlock as possible in order to regain control of the House, Senate and White House. Republicans gained control of the House in 2010 during the Tea Party wave, thanks mostly to their objections over healthcare reform. Despite not winning the Senate or White House in 2012, the GOP continued their obstructionist tactics throughout Obama’s second term. Now that they took the upper chamber, many are now striking a conciliatory tone and claiming they want to work on bipartisan solutions.
In his column, Luntz wrote about how American voters don’t want anymore fighting between parties and that they are searching for compromise and progress.
[S]top blustering and fighting. Americans despair of the pointless posturing, empty promises and bad policies that result. Show that you are more concerned with people than politics. Don’t be afraid to work with your opponents if it means achieving real results. Democrats and Republicans disagree on a lot, but there are also opportunities of real national importance, like national security and passing the trans-Atlantic trade deal.
Aside from a small activist constituency, Americans are not looking for another fight over same-sex marriage or abortion. This isn’t to say that voters want their leaders to co-opt their convictions. People are simply tired of identity politics that pit men against women, black against white, wealthy against poor. More than ever, they want leadership that brings us together.
This isn’t about pride of ownership regarding American progress; this is about progress, period. Americans don’t care about Democratic solutions or Republican solutions. They just want common-sense solutions that make everyday life just a little bit easier. But they can’t get their houses in order until Washington gets its own house in order.
Of course, Luntz, Republicans in Congress and other influential conservative voices were the key perpetrators of gridlock, fighting and obstruction. For the better part of six years, Republicans on Capitol Hill have done their best to stand in the way of any legislative progress in an effort to make POTUS look ineffectual and in over his head. This was all a very concerted effort to eventually wrest control of Congress away from Democrats. Of course, their hope was that Obama would have been a “one-term president,” as McConnell said in the President’s first term. However, they played the long-game well enough to eventually win over the Senate in 2014 as they got Democrats to play right into their hands down the stretch.
Don’t believe the hype. Republicans’ idea of compromise is essentially “Do what we tell you to do!” Right now, other than the voices on Fox News and talk radio, who are still spiking the football and claiming the election is a revolution and mandate of far-right values, Republicans are trying to sound reasonable and open to responsible governance and bipartisan compromise. It is all talk and there will be no action to back it up. Once the new Senators and Representatives make it to Washington in January, and the likes of Ted Cruz feel the power of the majority, all hell will break loose. It will be like a bad reality show.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).