Matt HealeyFriday,22 February 2013

The Snap:

Since I have been back in the US, I have been paying more attention to politics. It seems to me that the GOP has an optics problem. There are a bunch of issues facing the Congress and we are hearing the same thing on all of them from the GOP: “No!”

The Download:

The three biggest issues facing the Congress right now are the deficit, immigration reform, and gun violence. Let’s look at them one at a time.

Deficit. The sequester is coming. Despite my position on grand bargains being dead and that incremental steps are actual progress, the public still is looking for some type of deal. The problem is that in the media war and the 24 hour noose cycle, it feels like the President has the upper hand. Obama wants to keep revenue on the table, specifically the Buffett rule and use that to replace some of the spending cuts. The Buffett rule is, according to this poll, quite popular. The GOP response as articulated by Bohner is that any bill that has revenue in it will not pass the House (of which he is the Speaker). This feels like a “No!” To me.

Immigration Reform. Recently the Obama fall back position on immigration reform was leaked. I don’t know if it was deliberately leaked or not, and if it was deliberately leaked, who leaked it. The broad strokes of the plan was an 8-year pathway to citizenship. Like most things, the details are not available. However, there are enough details for Marco Rubio to describe the entire proposal as dead on arrival in Congress. Once again, this sounds like a “No!” to me.

Gun Violence: Newtown was different. It was different from all of the other mass shootings. The reason was the targets. Kids are off limits. Because it was different, you can expect serious discussion on the role of legislation in reducing gun violence. No one would expect the GOP to embrace all gun restrictions. However, one could expect that they could approach the subject and realize that some restrictions could be a good idea. That is not the approach the party took. We have had several GOP sheriffs come out and announce that they intend to not enforce any federal laws they don’t like. Once again we have what can be spun in the media as a “No!”

I am sure that Fox “News” has a different version that points all of the blame at Obama. But it seems to me that what we have is a situation where the optics are that the GOP is against anything that the opposition proposes, and will not even consider a compromise. If they want to improve the public’s perception of the party, then they need to at least appear to have an interest in working across the aisle.

Hat Tips:

Statista, FDL, Boston Herald, Image Credit: Flickr

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