Should Obama have been able to get Congress to work with him?

I just have this one simple question (although I realize is it not a simple question).

People (on the left and the right) are saying that Obama should have been able to find a way to work with Congress in spite of their VOWED DETERMINATION to block him at every turn. First, the Republicans in Congress were committed to making sure he was a one-term president, and when that didn’t work, they promised to block everything he proposed. Which they did. He still got a remarkable amount of his agenda done.

But after last night’s speech, people are saying “he should have found a way to work with them.” I’d like to know what way. Not a rhetorical question. Was there something he should have done, some strategy he should have followed?

Simple. All he had to do was give the Republicans everything they wanted, and stop asking for things they didn’t want, and they would have worked with him no problem.

You know, the Republican definition of ‘compromise’.

He had no way of doing it, not unless he could suddenly become not black, ultimately you have the unpleasant feeling that it was always far less about his policies and simple racism that lay under the republican/tea party agenda.

After that it was just a matter of merely disliking his policies - but it was tainted from day 1 by his colour.

The republicans, like any party, responds to its membership and what it can exploit, the first thing they went for was his birth certificate, then his name - nothing at all racist in that, no sirree.

Except they would move the goal posts even then. Remember Romneycare? He started advocating for their position, so they abandoned it.

And all Congress had to do was give Obama everything he wanted and all would have been hunky-dory.

The fault lies on both sides. Compromise is a word neither Congress nor the President seem to understand.

Yeah when your opposition’s goal is simply to delegitimize and demonize you from even before day 1, and do everything possible to prevent you from having any success regardless of the goal, there really isn’t anything you can do to ‘work with’ them.

You can only make this claim if you have no clue about the history of the Obama presidency. He bent over backwards to the Republicans in congress constantly and still they gave him nothing. He was heavily criticized on it from the left. Its astounding that anyone who was around for the last 8 years can say this, let alone believe it.

I believe that most of the truly great political leaders in our history have been uniters and forgers of compromise. (And FWIW, despite having voted for him twice, I’m not sure I’ll end up thinking of Obama as a great one.)

Having said that, when your political opponents show themselves willing to shut down the entire government rather than compromise, when they pride themselves on intractability to the point of risking being run out of office for a lack thereof (as happened when so many more moderate Republicans lost their seats to Tea Party-approved candidates)…what middle ground is possible?

I really don’t know what else Obama could have done.

Don’t even try to pull that “Both sides are equally guilty” crap. Show us where the President pledged to block anything the GOP tried to do in the last two terms. Show us the hundreds of vetoes of Republican bills he surely tried to stop.

What a load of crap. :dubious:

Not a chance in hell. At the time, I respected the hell out of him for trying, and being reasonable. For the past few years, tho, I see it as one of the things I’m most disappointed about him. Wish he had played hardball in the first 2 years.

Especially now that his attempts at compromise and inclusion are being represented as a shortcoming?! Appalling.

The Repubs have gotten considerable mileage out of their willingness to forego governance in favor of undisguised opposition. Bugs this liberal when the Dems are less ruthless.

Maybe if the Democrats had been in control of Congress at any point during Obama’s Presidency, he might have been able to achieve his agenda. But alas, that was never true, just like the GOP doesn’t control Congress now.


What, pray tell, does this have to do with the OP? Are you in the wrong thread?

And when did the Democrats have a filibuster proof majority? I don’t remember that period, can you enlighten us on the dates of that timeframe?

This doesn’t have jack shit to do with how the current Congress has refused to cooperate with the President, but thanks for playing.

I don’t agree with this.

I’m fairly close to a lot of people that can’t stand the President and his agenda. But I’ve never heard one of them even allude that the reason they don’t’ like him is because he’s black. Hell republicans can’t stand the Clintons. And the last time I checked, they’re both white.

Sure there are racist people out there. But the country twice elected a black guy President. I don’t see how you can argue that a vast majority of the country is racist on one hand, and realize that 70 million people voted for the guy on the other.

Ok. I’m on the same page with y’all.

“Playing hardball” would not have accomplished anything IMHO.

I think his first mistake was being black (dang, what was he thinking?). And his second was being an intellectual, which makes him an “uppity black,” the very worst kind, the kind that doesn’t know his place. And he compounded it by marrying an uppity black woman! Both Harvard graduates! The unmitigated gall!

I could be the greatest player in the history of the NBA if the opposing teams agreed not to try to stop me when I got the ball. Alas, the stubbornly refuse to do so. Similarly, implementing your agenda and blocking your opponents from implementing their agenda is what politicians do. Blaming Republicans for doing their job is pointless.
He could have found a common ground with them early in his presidency on a relatively non-controversial topic to build trust and rapport. George Bush did this when he worked with Ted Kennedy to pass No Child Left Behind.
He could have reached out to McCain to involve him in some type of capacity. FDR did this with Wendell Wilkie.
He could have reached out to them on a personal basis and tried to make them his friends so there would have been more trust like Reagan did with Tip O’Neill.
He could have compromised and included some of his opponent ideas into legislation like Bush 1 did on the deficit reduction plan.
He could have targeted GOP congressmen from moderate and swing districts and tried to get them on board like Reagan did to blue dog democrats for his economic package.
Obama had no real experience in crafting legislation on a national level and was over his head from the moment he was sworn in. He would have been successful if the other side had given up is something that could be said about any failure.

Why can’t it be that they just didn’t agree with what he wanted to do? Why does it have to be a vast right wing conspiracy?

Like any of your friends are going to admit it out loud.

My OP was about Congress, not the “vast majority” of people. Obviously the people who voted for him are okay with him being black. But the visceral, gut-level hatred you find on the far redneck right-- I’m convinced it’s anti-black and anti-intellectual.

So you think that the Republicans’ promise to block him at every turn is not relevant to this discussion?

On Inauguration Night, 2009, top Republicans met and they decided that they would block Obama on everything he wanted to do and give him zero cooperation on every issue. There is nothing that Obama could have done to get Republicans to compromise. Reach out to McCain? Why? That fucker has done nothing but whine like a spoiled little bitch ever since Obama wiped the electoral floor with him.