Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants President Barack Obama to be “more firm” and stop avoiding “confrontation” with Republicans.
“He is a person who doesn’t like confrontation. He’s a peacemaker,” Reid said in an interview with Las Vegas television station KSNV.
Oh really? And yet a month and a half ago, we heard about a very different Obama, also from Politico:
President Barack Obama battled with Senate Republicans in a tense closed-door meeting Tuesday, facing tough criticism from his GOP adversaries — including John McCain — on issues ranging from health care to border security.
Senators and other sources inside the meeting described the gathering as “testy” and “direct” — and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) accused Obama of acting two-faced by asking for GOP support on regulatory reform only to push forward with a bill supported mainly by Democrats. Others felt that the meeting may have made already tense relations between the two parties even worse.
I wrote about this Obama-GOP showdown at the time, in a piece called “We are all but props in the Land of Oprecious.”
From my post:
Politico’s reporting gets even more comical:
In one of the most heated exchanges of the lunch, Corker accused Obama of acting “duplicitous” in his calls for bipartisanship, saying that he was trying to cut a deal on regulatory reform only to see the rug pulled out from underneath him. At one point, Corker said Obama was using lunch with Republicans as a “prop.”
Poor witto GOP. They always carp so much about others playing the victim, it is hard to feel sorry for them. On the other hand, Oprecious is the titular star of his own comedy-drama, and we are all just his lowly props. I wouldn’t blame anyone for tearing up that script.
Apparently, Harry Reid really enjoys this script, though.
He certainly doesn’t mind perpetuating the myth that Obama is “too nice.” Here’s more from the Politico write-up on his recent interview with KSNV:
“Sometimes I think you have to be a little more forceful. And sometimes I don’t think he is enough with the Republicans,” said the Nevada Democrat, whose allegiance with the White House is hurting his reelection prospects.
“On a few occasions, I think he should have been more firm with those on the other side of the aisle,” he said.
Reid pointed at the long battle for health care reform as the key example of when he would have liked to see the president act more forcefully.
“I think much of that early on scrimmaging was done in the Senate itself. And the White House didn’t come in until later,” Reid said.
“Now, we came up with a great product, and I’m sure he can look back and say I was right,” he added, “but boy for me down in the trenches, I know it was a time when I wanted a few folks in the White House behind me.”
Good luck to Harry on pitching that “great product.” According to the latest polling from CBS, the American public hasn’t bought what the Dems are selling so far:
More Americans disapprove than approve of the health care bill that was signed into law in March. 36% support the law, down seven points from last month, and similar to the level it was in late March. Most Republicans and independents disapprove of the law, while Democrats approve.
From the breakdown of the polling: 49% disapprove of Harry and Barack’s Excellent Product, while only 36% approve.
Americans continue to see little personal benefit from the health care reform legislation. By more than two to one, Americans think it will hurt rather than help them, and 48% expect the reform to have no effect on them personally.
As for the narrative that Obama is so utterly meek and conflict-averse that he can’t bother to be the leader of his party, this excuse was well past its expiration date the day Obama said this:
Since when is telling one’s supporters to “get in people’s faces” the hallmark of a “peacemaker” ?
Senator Reid is putting on quite an act playing the poor hapless Harry trying to steer the dear, sweet, well-intentioned Oprecious to be the best Oprecious he can be. But, the facts are the facts. Obama didn’t fight for healthcare policy proposals that actually put people before profit. He only came in with his fighting gloves at the end of the healthcare battle, when the bill was whittled down to an insurance industry giveaway.
For whatever reason, Harry seems hellbent on being an Obama prop. Harry is lucky his opponent seems just as hellbent on saving him his seat.
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