Republican legislators in the House are akin to arsonists, kidnappers, deadbeats, butchers, lunatics and extortionists, President Barack Obama declared on Tuesday.
They’re also acting like obsessives, out-of-touch hostage-takers, nuclear-armed bombers, and unserious irresponsible extremists, he said, and are determined to deny health-care to Americans.
Obama also told the American public that he’s so fair-minded, calm and reasonable, and so determined to make government work against for citizens, that he’s willing to negotiate with the supposed group of elected blackmailing, kidnapping deadbeats.
“I don’t believe any party has a monopoly on good ideas,” he said generously.
“I’ve shown myself willing to go more than halfway in these conversations,” he announced, presumably referring to the GOP’s caucus of obsessive, unserious deadbeat butchers.
“I will not eliminate any topic of conversation. … I’ve shown myself willing to engage all the parties involved, every leader, on any issue,” he said, by implication, even if they continue to act like lunatic nuclear-armed arsonists.
Obama displayed his willingness to engage with the other side of the aisle — however deranged it may be — with a series of rhetorical olive branches:
If you’re in negotiations around buying somebody’s house, you don’t get to say, “Well, let’s talk about the price I’m going to pay, and if you don’t give me the price, then I’m going to burn down your house.”
Members of Congress — and the House Republicans, in particular — don’t get to demand ransom in exchange for doing their jobs.
The last time that the tea party Republicans flirted with the idea of default two years ago, markets plunged, business and consumer confidence plunged, America’s credit rating was downgraded for the first time. And a decision to actually go through with it, to actually permit default, according to many CEOs and economists, would be — and I’m quoting here — “insane,” “catastrophic,” “chaos.” These are some of the more polite words. Warren Buffett likened default to a nuclear bomb, a weapon too horrible to use. It would disrupt markets. It would undermine the world’s confidence in America as the bedrock of the global economy. And it might permanently increase our borrowing costs — which, of course, ironically would mean that it would be more expensive for us to service what debt we do have, and it would add to our deficits and our debt, not decrease them. There’s nothing fiscally responsible about that.
Obama’s jumbled rhetoric may have been a clumsy effort to simultaneously reassure his progressive supporters that he won’t compromise with the GOP, and also reassure the worried American public that he’s willing to make a reasonable compromise with their elected GOP legislators in the House.
A historical note: In his 2008 election-night election speech, Obama urged his supporters to “resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. … The Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divide that have held back our progress.”