Marin Cogan and Jake Sherman have done the only reporting that really needs to be done on the prospects for major legislation aimed at creating jobs, or doing anything else:
“Obama is on the ropes; why do we appear ready to hand him a win?” said one senior House Republican aide who requested anonymity to discuss the matter freely.
Public policy is not a zero-sum competition between “Republican ideas” and “Democratic ideas,” but electoral competition is a zero-sum battle for office. In a paradigm where the passage of major legislation counts as a “win” for President Obama then anyone who wants to see President Obama go down to defeat, then no major legislation can pass on a bipartisan basis. This is exactly the problem the White House had in trying to overcome GOP filibusters during the 111th Congress and the main problem they face in trying to reach bipartisan accords with the Republican-led House of Representatives in the 112th Congress. This is the fundamental reality of American politics today, but far too few people put it at the center of their accounts of what’s happening.
Today, Obama presented Congress with his jobs legislation. In his remarks, Obama noted, “There are some in Washington who’d rather settle our differences through politics and the elections than try to resolve them now. In fact, Joe [Biden] and I, as we were walking out here, we were looking at one of the Washington newspapers and it was quoting a Republican aide saying, ‘I don’t know why we’d want to cooperate with Obama right now. It’s not good for our politics.’ That was very explicit.”