Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) set a welcoming, bipartisan tone to kick off the new year today, noting that the only ideological ambition his Republican Senate foes harbor is to “make President [Barack] Obama look bad.”
Reid followed that up with a call for cooperation between both political parties – because, of course, only one party (not his) has been guilty of not cooperating.
“We have been able to get a few things done, but we have been unable to get some important things done – because the goal by the Republicans in the Congress — not the Republicans in the country, but the Republicans in the Congress — is to do everything they can to make President Obama look bad,” said Reid in his first Senate floor speech this year.
Of course, it’s no surprise. The recent strategy of Senate Democrats has been one of successfully displacing public opinion about Democrats’ own political recalcitrance onto the GOP, and then digging in to wait for attrition to take its toll. It’s how Democrats won the government shutdown fight, and Reid was singing the same song back then. He used almost identical phrasing in early December during a Nevada television interview. From NBC 3 in Las Vegas:
“I pride myself in being able to work with my Republican colleagues,” Reid said. “But it’s been pretty difficult lately. They’ve done everything they can to make Obama look bad…Legislation is the art of compromise. Consensus building – we don’t have that now. The Tea Party will not allow Republicans to compromise.”
Congressional Republicans have done a fine job of compromising and capitulating without any Tea Party checks on their political temerity. It’s inconceivable that the rank and file GOP Congressman possessed either the media clout or the cultural influence necessary to precipitate a sea change in public opinion about President Obama.
On the other hand, there is at least one person who wields tremendous influence over how the President is perceived in the court of public opinion.
We’ll give you one guess.