About the time House and Senate members were taking their oaths of office, and in the case of Senate members smiling for the camera alongside Vice President Joe Biden as he came up with additional material for an eventual book of goofy sayings, the White House was quickly issuing a series of announcements on bills Obama promises to veto when they reach his desk.
Interestingly, there wasn’t a mention of anything he’s willing to support.
Given that, expect Obama to issue a veto when Congress sends him Keystone XL Pipeline legislation at the end of the week. He also apparently won’t abide any effort to restore the forty hour work week under the Affordable Care Act despite the fact that there is bipartisan support for both these measures.
A therapist might advise that this is no way to begin healing a broken relationship.
The White House contends that it is the Republicans who are starting out on the wrong foot. According to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, Republicans are only offering to send the president legislation they know he opposes. Evidently, it is up to Republican leadership to read Obama’s mind and offer legislation they know he’ll like.
The fact is both above-described bills pledged by Republicans enjoy bipartisan support. In fact, West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin is one of the sponsors of the Keystone XL Pipeline legislation in the Senate. He is already publicly expressing displeasure over the White House stance.
Clearly, the Obama administration’s Keystone position is borne out of a desire to appease the Democrat base. At this point, there is no other rational way to explain it. So instead of beginning this new venture in co-government with Republicans on a positive foot, the administration instead is starting off with the sort of eagerness to join hands one would expect if every Republican member of Congress carried the Ebola virus.
While I imagine there will ultimately be one or two things Republicans and the Obama administration can wholeheartedly agree upon (well . . . one at least), I suspect this parade of vetoes and veto threats will continue.
Is this a bad thing for Republicans?
Republicans have an obligation to put forward legislation the public expects after electing them. Obama may argue his opposition is based on positions for which the public elected him as well. Fine. Both sides can act accordingly and citizens will ultimately decide how they feel about things.
In the meantime, Republicans are wise to carry out their agenda while carefully articulating why they believe as they do. Above all, they need to make crystal clear why they’re passing given legislation. This is their best opportunity to clearly articulate the difference between Republican and Democrat positions on a host of issues.
Also, it’s likely Obama will eventually come around to support those acts for which his opposition is strictly political or at least reasonably compromise when the disagreement is less contentious.
He certainly can’t veto everything forever.
It’s kind of like a kid defying his parents’ wishes by holding his breath.
Eventually, he should come around or risk his own complete political demise.