“In the end [gun control legislation] didn’t pass because we’re so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it” – Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Yesterday, President Barack Obama held a news conference to mark the first 100 days of his second term. Obama fielded a wide array of questions, everything from the Boston Bombing to Guantanamo Bay was discussed, but it was an answer the President gave on Congress that has garnered the most attention.
When asked about why his legislative agenda has paused Obama said: “You seem to suggest that somehow these folks over there have no responsibilities, and that my job is to somehow get them to behave. That’s their job. . . . I cannot force Republicans to embrace those common-sense solutions.”
Obama is right; it is not his job to make sure Congress behaves responsibly, but that statement had pundits once again calling President Obama weak, ineffectual, and a lame duck President.
Dana Milbank of the Washington Post said of Obama: “Open-mindedness is nice. But lively leadership is the way to resuscitate a moribund presidency.”
Maureen Dowd of the New York Times wrote: “Actually, it is his job to get them to behave. The job of the former community organizer and self-styled uniter is to somehow get this dunderheaded Congress, which is mind-bendingly awful, to do the stuff he wants them to do. It’s called leadership.”
Joe Scarborough once again devoted a large part of his morning show discussing the lack of leadership President Obama has displayed on the issue of gun legislation. Scarborough added, “We are at a strange point where the President’s not even six months into his second term and he already looks like a lame duck to many people that are top analysts.”
Political analysts continue to ask why President Obama doesn’t channel his inner Lyndon Johnson and apply his political will on his adversaries. The answer is quite easy, President Obama isn’t Lyndon Johnson and this isn’t 1965. The opposition President Johnson faced was not a based on a blind hate to him. President Johnson faced a loyal opposition willing to work with him, nothing like the radicals that have taken over today’s Republican Party.
President Obama inherited a country with an economy in free fall; American auto industry was in ruin, two wars, Defense of Marriage Act, unregulated financial industry, and millions of uninsured Americans. Since Obama has taken office he has stabilized the U.S. economy, saved the auto industry, ended the wars In Iraq and Afghanistan, embraced gay marriage, refused to enforce DOMA, ended Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, issued the order to kill Osama bin Laden, signed financial reform and health care reform into law, all while facing an unprecedented level of obstruction from Congressional Republicans. If that’s not leadership, I do not know what is.
Republican Senator Pat Toomey recently stated: “There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it.” Passing background checks wasn’t about President Obama, it was about doing the right thing and passing legislation 90% of Americans support, but Congressional Republicans would rather hurt this country if it mean hurting President Obama. President Obama can’t get anything done not because of a lack of leadership; it is because the Republican Party has decided to put their disdain for Obama before doing what is right for America.