Posts Tagged ‘editorial


so rupert, how are things these days?

Steve Benen: While the right doesn’t seem at all pleased with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposed solution to the debt-ceiling crisis, opposition among conservative Republicans is far from unanimous.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, one of the more influential pieces of Republican media real estate, got on board with the McConnell plan this morning. After several hundred words about how much the editorial page doesn’t like President Obama, the WSJ argued ….

… according to the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, a “bipartisan deal” on debt reduction would include the spending cuts Republicans want, entitlement cuts Republicans want, and the existing tax rates Republicans want. Democrats, in this “bipartisan deal,” would get nothing.

President Obama, the editorial board, “won’t go along” with this.

He’s obviously history’s greatest monster for rejecting such a “bipartisan deal”.

Full post here


The Wall Street Journal is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company, a division of Fox News’ owner Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation


‘eight myths to chill an old-school republican soul’

St Louis Dispatch: When Sen. Jon Kyl and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor quit the (no longer) bipartisan deficit-reduction talks last week, it was not exactly a “Profiles in Courage” moment.

Serious deficit reduction can’t be – and shouldn’t be – accomplished without tax increases and broad elimination of tax expenditures, which would have the effect of raising taxes. The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform last year acknowledged that … But tax increases, in whatever guise, fail the current Republican purity laws…

It’s sad to see what has happened to the Party of Lincoln … Today we have the spectacle of smart, patriotic men and women putting their brains and integrity on ice to please a party dominated by anti-intellectual social Darwinists and the plutocrats who finance and mislead them……

Read full column here

Thank you PoliticalJunkessa


‘a feast for connoisseurs of political dysfunction’

NYT Editorial: Monday’s Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire – full of historical error, economic obfuscation, avoidance of hard truths and even outright bigotry – was a feast for connoisseurs of political dysfunction … by evening’s end, they had melted into an indistinguishable mass of privatizing, tax-cutting opponents of Shariah law.

For the moment, the candidates are appealing to a Republican Party whose core is so contorted in fury at Mr. Obama that it barely resembles the one that nominated George W. Bush in 2000. Mr. Bush may have prosecuted the war on terror to excess, but he always reminded the country that it was not at war with Islam. This batch of Republicans has dispensed with such niceties. Herman Cain repeated his earlier statement that he would not be comfortable with a Muslim in his cabinet. Some, he explained, “are trying to kill us.”

None of the other candidates took him to task for this. Mitt Romney, a Mormon who has himself been the subject of religious slurs, at least mentioned the nation’s founding principle of religious tolerance and respect but missed an opportunity to include Muslims. Newt Gingrich tumbled over the historical cliff with the idea, announcing some kind of loyalty oath to serve in his administration, similar to that used in dealing with Nazis and Communists….

….The field was silent on so many things: how to cover those without health insurance, how to improve education while slashing budgets, which popular programs to cut after the onslaught of tax reductions. It is much easier, apparently, to impress Republican voters with the facile argument that President Obama has failed.

But, at some point, those voters are going to want these candidates to start making some distinctions among themselves, and that will require far more truth-telling than was evident on Monday.

More here

Thank you ‘Africa’ ;-)


‘the rejected windfall’

NYT Editorial: After Gov. Rick Scott of Florida thoughtlessly rejected $2.4 billion in federal aid for a high-speed rail line, he claimed last month that he was doing a huge favor for the national Treasury, which he expected would give away the money in tax cuts. That was nonsense, of course; Mr. Scott was really doing a favor for train passengers in the Northeast, Midwest and California, which were given $2 billion of his money on Monday for better service.

Florida voters might want to think about that decision as they sit in traffic jams, burning up $4-a-gallon gasoline. In fact, some of them clearly have thought about it because Mr. Scott now has some of the worst approval ratings of a Florida official in the last decade.

He has joined other newly elected Republican governors so rigidly opposed to the Obama administration that they are willing to harm their states to score points. The result is a crazy quilt of state relationships with Washington, stitched more with ideology than reason.

None of the money in Monday’s announcement will be going to Wisconsin, for example, where Gov. Scott Walker has also decided that his strapped state could do without rail improvements and the construction jobs that go with them. Nor will it go to Ohio, where Gov. John Kasich preferred rejectionism to the improvement of rail service among the state’s largest cities, which could have produced 16,000 jobs.

Instead, it will go to 15 states that have more farsighted leadership, who understand the important role federal dollars can play in stimulating the economy, moving people quickly from place to place and reducing tailpipe emissions. Some of those states are led by Republicans…

….Refusenik Republicans glorify shopworn principles like smaller government and states’ rights. They will have to defend them to their voters when the public hears the passenger trains whistling from the next state over.

Full editorial here


‘the myth of mr obama’s weakness’

New York Times editorial: President Obama’s display of leadership in directing the killing of Osama bin Laden raises the prospect that American politics can move away from mindless debates over the president’s loyalties and fortitude…

The baseless critique of Mr. Obama as a frightened lamb among the world’s wolves was started in the 2008 campaign when Senators John McCain and Hillary Rodham Clinton derided his ability to manage world affairs….

The myth that he was a naïve hand-wringer persisted, despite his decisions to reduce troops in Iraq, strengthen them in Afghanistan and join a coalition to halt the Qaddafi regime’s bloodshed in Libya. His administration took too long to find its footing on Egypt’s transition and in Libya, but it was not because, as the popular conservative blog RedState  said, he is a “trainee president.”

The blog accused Mr. Obama of basing his foreign policy on an “effete, pampered background” and a delight in consensus, and Republican presidential candidates quickly got the idea … just a few weeks ago, Mitt Romney accused him of being timid, tentative, and apologetic, all qualities stemming from “his fundamental disbelief in American exceptionalism.”

One of the subtexts to this argument is that Mr. Obama is not a true American, a thread soaked in the politics of fear and racial intolerance that runs through so much of the anti-Obama right. Donald Trump’s nativist claim that the president is not a citizen had its foreign-policy equivalent last year in Newt Gingrich’s repellent remark that Mr. Obama exhibits “Kenyan, anticolonial behavior.”

But just as releasing a birth certificate marginalized one falsehood, Mr. Obama’s risky and audacious decision to attack the Bin Laden compound in Pakistan has demolished the notion that he cannot make tough decisions or cares primarily about the nation’s image abroad….

Full editorial here


‘a certificate of embarrassment’

New York Times editorial: With sardonic resignation, President Obama, an eminently rational man, stared directly into political irrationality on Wednesday and released his birth certificate to history. More than halfway through his term, the president felt obliged to prove that he was a legitimate occupant of the Oval Office. It was a profoundly low and debasing moment in American political life.

The disbelief fairly dripped from Mr. Obama as he stood at the West Wing lectern. People are out of work, American soldiers are dying overseas and here were cameras to record him stating that he was born in a Hawaii hospital. It was particularly galling to us that it was in answer to a baseless attack with heavy racial undertones.

…the birther question was never really about citizenship; it was simply a proxy for those who never accepted the president’s legitimacy, for a toxic mix of reasons involving ideology, deep political anger and, most insidious of all, race. It was originally promulgated by fringe figures of the radical right, but mainstream Republican leaders allowed it to simmer to satisfy those who are inflamed by Mr. Obama’s presence in the White House.

…It is inconceivable that this campaign to portray Mr. Obama as the insidious “other” would have been conducted against a white president.

There was a price to the Republican party for keeping the issue alive; inevitably, it was picked up by a cartoon candidate, Donald Trump, who rode birtherism directly to the prime-time promontories of cable TV. The Republican establishment began to wince as it became increasingly tied to Mr. Trump’s flirtations with racial provocation…

Finally, his taunting and the questions of television correspondents obliging Mr. Trump got on the president’s nerves. Mr. Obama was tactically smart to release the certificate and marginalize those who continue to keep the matter alive. It is tragic that American politics is fueled by such poisonous fire. Mr. Trump quickly moved on to a new fixation, questioning Mr. Obama’s academic credentials. Mr. Boehner, and other party leaders, have a new reason to call a halt to the politics of paranoia and intolerance.

Full editorial here

Thank you Bobfr


‘the new republican landscape’

NYT Editorial: Six months after voters sent Republicans in large numbers to Congress and many statehouses, it is possible to see the full landscape of destruction that their policies would cause – much of which has already begun. If it was not clear before, it is obvious now that the party is fully engaged in a project to dismantle the foundations of the New Deal and the Great Society, and to liberate business and the rich from the inconveniences of oversight and taxes.

At first it seemed that only a few freshmen and noisy followers of the Tea Party would support the new extremism. But on Friday, nearly unanimous House Republicans showed just how far their mainstream has been dragged to the right. They approved on strict party lines the most regressive social legislation in many decades, embodied in a blueprint by the budget chairman, Paul Ryan. The vote, from which only four Republicans (and all Democrats) dissented, would have been unimaginable just eight years ago to a Republican Party that added a prescription drug benefit to Medicare.

Mr. Ryan called the vote “our generation’s defining moment,” and indeed, nothing could more clearly define the choice that will face voters next year.

His bill would end the guarantee provided by Medicare and Medicaid to the elderly and the poor … People now under 55 would be required to pay at least $6,400 more for health care when they qualified for Medicare … Fully two-thirds of his $4.3 trillion in budget cuts would come from low-income programs…..

Full editorial here


more reaction to that speech

Eleanor Clift (Daily Beast): In his carefully worded deficit speech, the president assured Democrats that his inner liberal is alive and well – slamming Paul Ryan’s budget proposal as “deeply pessimistic,” and vowing that the radical plan is “not going to happen as long as I’m president.”

Obama is a man who rations his emotions, but watching his speech today, and listening to the direction of his reforms, his inner liberal is alive and well.

He would direct less money to the top 1 percent and hold the line for people who have no clout on Capitol Hill. He can’t deliver everything liberals want, but this fight is as much about leadership as it is about the numbers. After a slow start, Obama is suited up and ready for the battle…

…After commending Republican Paul Ryan for coming forward with a plan, he deftly skewered it as “deeply pessimistic” that if enacted would lead to “a fundamentally different America,” one that will leave some 50 million Americans to fend for themselves…

The central issue of our day should be jobs, but Republican messaging and the arrival of the Tea Party has made it the country’s rising debt. Obama enters the debate at an optimal moment when Republicans have put down markers that many Americans find objectionable – from trying to defund Planned Parenthood to privatizing Medicare. A lot of Democrats would like Obama to just say no, but that’s not Obama’s inclination. There is a serious challenge in getting the budget under control. It’s not a crisis, but it is a partisan confrontation about the role of government, and Obama showed in his speech today that he is ready to seize the moment on behalf of his party’s ideals and constituents.

More here

Michael Shear (NYT): In the hours before President Obama’s 44-minute speech on the nation’s mounting debt, liberal groups were whipped up into a frenzy, warning that Mr. Obama was poised to capitulate — once again, in their view — to Republican philosophy on taxes, the deficit and spending cuts.

On Tuesday, one group, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, wrote its members that in the upcoming speech, “President Obama will do what no Republican president has been able to do: put Medicare and Medicaid on the table for potential cuts.”

The e-mail was an indication that there remains deep suspicion of Mr. Obama, at least among what a White House official once called the “professional left.” The group warned that such a speech would add to a politically dangerous softening of Democratic support for the president.

In fact, the address on Wednesday appears to have done exactly the opposite for Mr. Obama. The speech’s several starkly partisan moments and his willingness to draw clear lines in the sand over the issues of taxes and Medicare sparked a significant amount of praise among liberal members of the president’s party.

“Liberals have wanted a full-throated affirmation of why government is a good thing,” wrote Jonathan Bernstein, a political blogger. “Obama delivered, with perhaps his strongest case for a liberal vision of government that he’s given so far during his presidency.”

More here

Jonathan Cohn (New Republic): President Obama’s speech today was about policy and politics. But it was also about principles, as Obama made clear early in his remarks…

…If there is an essence of the liberal vision for America, that passage captures it. It’s the idea that a modern, enlightened society promises economic security to all, notwithstanding illness, accident of birth, or age. The liberal vision is not an imperative to establish equality, as its detractors sometimes claim. But it is expectation that government will guarantee sustenance, peace of mind, and simple dignity – that the pursuit of these goals will bolster, rather than impede, freedom.

In the era of Roosevelt and Truman, Kennedy and Johnson, Democrats talked openly and proudly of this mission. But in the last few years, at least, Democrats have seemed less comfortable with such rhetoric, or at least comfortable with their loftier ideals than Republicans have been with theirs. This contrast has been vivid in fights over the economy, climate change, and health care, with Democrats making sensible, nuanced arguments about growth rates and Republicans making hyperbolic, simplistic claims about “socialism.”

Not on Wednesday. The president can seem like a compulsive mediator, desperately seeking opportunities to forge common understanding among adversaries. It’s an admirable quality and, frequently, an aggravating one. But in the budget speech Obama drew a clear contrast between his vision of America and that of the Republicans….

…Obama has laid out a credible plan for reducing deficits and, more important, he has described a vision of America he wants to defend. For today, at least, that seems like enough.

Full article here

Jonathan Chait (New Republic): Obama’s Speech: The Umpire Strikes Back….. The President expressed moral outrage in a way I’ve never heard him do before, and in a way I didn’t think he was capable of. After his spokesmen have feebly pawed at Ryan’s plan for lacking “balance,” it was jolting to hear Obama lambaste Ryan with language like this:

“I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry, with a shrinking benefit to pay for rising costs. I will not tell families with children who have disabilities that they have to fend for themselves.”

This attack, by the way, is completely fair. Moreover, Obama made the crucial step of attacking Republicans for doing these things while cutting taxes for the rich. It’s impossible to overstate just how commanding a position Obama holds here with regard to public opinion. People overwhelmingly favor higher taxes on the rich. They even more overwhelmingly oppose cutting Medicare. The Republican plan to impose deep Medicare cuts in order to free up room to cut taxes for the rich is ridiculously, off-the-charts unpopular. If Republicans want to take this position, Obama has to make them pay dearly.

The most important line in Obama speech was his explanation that Republicans forced him to extend upper-bracket tax cuts, but “I refuse to renew them again”. That’s the line in the sand I’ve been looking for.

More here

Boston Globe Editorial: President Obama … gave a cogent explanation for how mounting government debt will drive up interest rates for businesses and consumers and hinder the nation’s ability to protect its interests abroad. And he noted the public’s complicity in the problem, stating that “most Americans tend to dislike government spending in the abstract, but they like the stuff it buys”. When two-thirds of the federal budget goes to Social Security, health care, and national defense, there’s no use in pretending, as the Tea Party does, that cutting waste and abuse alone will get government spending under control.

Obama made a strong case that part of the fix should include raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. While the incomes of 90 percent of Americans have declined in recent years, he noted, those of the wealthiest 1 percent have skyrocketed. And not, one might add, because the bottom 90 percent are lazier than the top 1 percent. The sacrifice should begin with those who’ve benefited disproportionately from changes in the economy.

On the spending side, Obama made it clear he opposed House Republican budget guru Paul Ryan’s plan to cut Medicare’s costs by turning it into a voucher program, and offered instead the much fuzzier idea of using a commission to reduce the cost of health care itself. While Ryan’s plan has the advantage of clarity, applying it without also overhauling a woefully inefficient health system necessarily means that many senior citizens would go without care they need.

…While most Americans are understandably concerned about reducing the federal deficit, the country’s economic future depends on its quality of education and infrastructure, as well. With diligence and good will, Congress can find the right balance. Obama deserves credit for challenging both parties to do so.

More here


‘it’s not really about spending’

NYT Editorial: If the federal government shuts down at midnight on Friday – which seems likely unless negotiations take a sudden turn toward rationality – it will not be because of disagreements over spending. It will be because Republicans are refusing to budge on these ideological demands:

• No federal financing for Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions. Instead, state administration of federal family planning funds, which means that Republican governors and legislatures will not spend them.

• No local financing for abortion services in the District of Columbia.

• No foreign aid to countries that might use the money for abortion or family planning. And no aid to the United Nations Population Fund, which supports family-planning services.

• No regulation of greenhouse gases by the Environmental Protection Agency.

• No funds for health care reform or the new consumer protection bureau established in the wake of the financial collapse.

Abortion. Environmental protection. Health care. Nothing to do with jobs or the economy; instead, all the hoary greatest hits of the Republican Party, only this time it has the power to wreak national havoc: furloughing 800,000 federal workers, suspending paychecks for soldiers and punishing millions of Americans who will have to wait for tax refunds, Social Security applications, small-business loans, and even most city services in Washington. The damage to a brittle economy will be substantial.

Democrats have already gone much too far in giving in to the House demands for spending cuts. The $33 billion that they have agreed to cut will pull an enormous amount of money from the economy at exactly the wrong time, and will damage dozens of vital programs.

But it turns out that all those excessive cuts they volunteered were worth far less to the Republicans than the policy riders that are the real holdup to a deal. After President Obama appeared on television late Wednesday night to urge the two sides to keep talking, negotiators say, the issue of the spending cuts barely even came up. All the talk was about the abortion demands and the other issues.

Democrats in the White House and the Senate say they will not give in to this policy extortion, and we hope they do not weaken. These issues have no place in a stopgap spending bill a few minutes from midnight.

….The lack of seriousness in the House is reflected in the taunting bill it passed on Thursday to keep the government open for another week at an absurdly high cost of $12 billion in cuts and the ban on District of Columbia abortion financing. The Senate and the White House said it was a nonstarter. Many of the same House members who earlier had said they would refuse to approve another short-term spending bill voted for this one, clearly hoping they could use its inevitable failure in the Senate to blame the Democrats for the shutdown. What could be more cynical?

The public is not going to be fooled once it sees what the Republicans, pushed by Tea Party members, were really holding out for. There are a few hours left to stop this dangerous game, and for the Republicans to start doing their job, which, if they’ve forgotten, is to serve the American people.

Full editorial here



Clay Bennett

St Louis Post-Dispatch: …  Paul Ryan’s plan offers a big bouquet to wealthy Americans, cutting their tax rates from 35 percent to 25 percent; eliminating the estate tax and taxes on capital gains and dividends. The richest 1 percent, who already take in nearly a quarter of American income and control almost 40 percent of all forms of wealth, would see their taxes cut in half. The average tax cut for millionaires would be about $500,000 a year.

The burden of the Ryan plan would be born by the shrinking middle class, which would lose its single biggest tax break, the deduction for home mortgages; and the elderly, who would see their Medicare health coverage effectively eliminated. Medicare for those already age 55 or older would be left alone (for political reasons) but younger Americans, as they become eligible, would get vouchers to purchase care on insurance exchanges …He would turn Medicaid, which pays for medical care for the poor, into a block grant program, letting states spend it as they wish.

Mr. Ryan’s bill is a potpourri of crackpot Republican ideas – a “business consumption tax” that is effectively a value-added (sales) tax that falls most heavily on the poor and middle class; the discredited trickle-down nonsense of Reaganomics;  “flat” (or at least flat-ish) tax rates and the shredding of the social services safety net. Defense spending would not be cut. Spending on veterans’ health care would be.

….Clearly spending must be cut. But it must be done fairly, in combination with new revenue generated from those who can afford it, and without imposing heavier burdens on those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

…House GOP negotiators are held hostage by 87 freshmen zealots; the White House is holding out for short-term fixes in the probably vain hope that adults will gather and talk seriously about the long term.

The government may have to grind to a halt before that can happen. That, and public outrage over the Ryan plan, may play right into Mr. Obama’s hands.

Full article here


There’s another great post here on Ryan’s plan by PM Carpenter (Thank you Ladyhawke)


‘born-again doves’

Sacramento Bee editorial: It didn’t take until Monday for the Monday morning quarterbacks to start criticizing President Barack Obama’s decision to join U.S. allies in a campaign to stop Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi from killing his own people.

Born-again doves such as George Will, Donald Rumsfeld and Newt Gingrich ganged up on the president for the bombing Saturday of Gadhafi’s air defenses and implementation of a no-fly zone over Libya.

….Gingrich says that, if he were president, he “would not have intervened,” even though on March 7 he criticized the president for his restraint on Gadhafi. “This is a moment to get rid of him,” Gingrich said then. “Do it. Get it over with.”

….Obama did act, and part of the delay involved assembling an international coalition to carry out the mission. And what is the mission? At least part of it – the major part – is to prevent Gadhafi from engaging in a further bloodbath. The allies have been largely successful in that goal, a fact that detractors such as Will, Rumsfeld and Gingrich should at least acknowledge.

Americans should also recognize that, unlike the intervention that Rumsfeld helped orchestrate in Iraq, this one wasn’t grounded in false pretenses of “weapons of mass destruction,” etc.

President Obama has been clear that allies and U.S. forces are carrying out a humanitarian mission, not a chess move in an attempt to reshape the Arab world. And though the international coalition seems divided on responsibilities and the endgame, it is far more broad and cohesive than the one the Bush administration assembled in its reckless invasion of Iraq…..

Full article here

The Syracuse Post Standard: Wonder why the United States has just one president and one secretary of state? Imagine trying to set U.S. foreign policy with 535 members of Congress in charge.

House Speaker John Boehner this week sent a huffy note to the president complaining that Congress wasn’t sufficiently consulted in the decision to help implement the United Nations resolution calling for measures to protect civilians from a vengeful Col. Moammar Gadhafi in Libya….

Is Boehner’s second-guessing really saying it was a mistake to commit the United States to the U.N.-sanctioned effort to prevent Gadhafi from his avowedly “merciless” campaign to subdue his own citizens? That the administration acted too precipitously in joining its allies to prevent more bloodletting?

…it’s pretty clear that if the U.N. and allied nations had not acted, Gadhafi would be back in control, with blood flowing in ever-greater quantities. What message would that have sent to democracy advocates in Tunisia and Egypt, not to mention Syria, Iran, Yemen, Bahrain and elsewhere?

There’s no question that this is a messy operation. Libya’s rebels appear nowhere close to organizing a coherent democratic alternative to Gadhafi’s police state — hardly surprising, considering his relentless mission to crush any opposition. Efforts by the Obama administration to hand off major responsibilities for the operation may bring results as soon as this weekend….

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton notes that the protection of civilians in Benghazi already is a sign the U.N.-backed effort is succeeding — though she added Gadhafi’s defiance poses a continuing challenge. Meeting that challenge will require dexterous diplomacy in coming days. But it’s worth the effort.


‘smartly played’

President Barack Obama speaks at the La Moneda Cultural Center in Santiago, March 21

USA Today: …. A week ago, virtually no one thought it possible that the Security Council would authorize a no-fly zone over Libya, much less a resolution permitting ” all necessary measures” to protect civilians.

President Obama insisted on this for good reason. It provides a legal basis for the intervention and neuters any claim — useful to Gadhafi and other miscreants — that this is an exercise in American imperialism. It is akin to successful military actions such as the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the mid-1990s peace engineered in Bosnia, and distinctly unlike the 2003 Iraq invasion.

America’s interests are further helped by Obama’s eagerness to reduce the U.S. military profile in favor of others. He demanded that the Arab League not just endorse a no-fly zone but also participate in enforcing one. Several nations agreed.

Obama’s plan to step back within days after the initial attacks and cede substantial leadership to Europeans and Arabs is particularly wise. Both have much more at stake in Libya than the U.S. does. There’s no reason other than hubris that the United States should bear their burden instead.

Against those facts, complaints that Obama moved too slowly look bombastic. Lacking adequate groundwork, he should not have moved at all, and even so, the course of events is disturbingly uncertain.

Military intervention should always be a last resort, and if ultimately necessary, it should be aimed at a clear, attainable goal and fought with total commitment.

Whether the Libyan attack meets that standard remains to be seen. It is a high-stakes gamble, but at least one that appears smartly played at the outset.

Full article here


“with all disrespect, mr president”

New York Times: There was supposed to be a bipartisan summit at the White House on Thursday, but only the Democrats showed up. The Republican leadership of the House and Senate somehow couldn’t find any time in their schedules to meet with the president of the United States. If this is what cooperation and mutual respect is going to look like over the next two years, then settle in for more trench warfare and far less progress.

It has been more than two weeks since President Obama issued a postelection invitation for Congressional leaders to join him for dinner on Nov. 18 to discuss “how we can move the American people’s agenda forward.” Republicans left him hanging, refusing to commit to a date even as the office of Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, said he was encouraged that the president wanted to discuss areas of agreement.

On Wednesday, the Republicans, led by Mr. McConnell, said they just didn’t have the time. They had discovered there was so much to do — new members to welcome and lots of other unspecified details. Besides, they said, the president should have asked for a mutually agreeable date instead of just inviting them. So the meeting was pushed back until Nov. 30.

As the Republicans know, that means less time to work out important compromises in the remaining lame-duck session on crucial issues like taxes, the nuclear arms treaty with Russia and extending unemployment insurance. So far, in fact, there has been zero interest in actual compromise on any of those issues, despite extended hands from the White House. On Thursday, House Republicans blocked a bill that would extend long-term unemployment insurance past the holidays.

Beyond the practical implications of this rudeness, there is an increasingly obvious lack of respect for the president and the presidency, with Republicans interpreting their electoral victory as a mandate to act with hubris. Steny Hoyer, the outgoing House majority leader, noted Thursday that he couldn’t remember a single instance when Democrats did not change their schedule to accommodate a request to meet with President George W. Bush. Mr. McConnell has already made it clear that defeating Mr. Obama is more important than negotiating on legislation. Apparently, that also goes for snubbing Mr. Obama.







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