President Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th President of the United States, delivered his inaugural address today. The President, in my biased view, gave a wonderful speech that laid down some markers, mentioning Social Security and Medicare, equal rights for gays, and equal pay for women, as well as global warming. He laid out a vision of an active government working for the common good, and to the chagrin of Republicans had the nerve to lay out a value system based on what he stood for in the campaign. Republicans actually had the nerve to say that the President did not come forward in a spirit of compromise. From Politico:
“The words were code for a progressive agenda. I’m hoping that the president will recognize that compromise should have been the words for today, and they clearly weren’t,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), a frequent Obama critic who has zealously pursued a contempt case against Attorney General Eric Holder.
Imagine Darrell Issa of all people saying that compromise is the word of the day. The President has taken plenty of criticism during his first term from his own party for his willingness to attempt bipartisan compromise. But as he has repeatedly found out he has no partner that can actually deliver substantive compromise. You do not have to be a partisan Democrat to understand that for better or worse the Republican Congressional Leadership, in 2011, made the calculated gamble that compromise would not be a part of their program. They felt that they could hold out for the whole enchilada by beating the President in 2012. It was a calculated risk, and they lost. Since then the Republican House majority, by any standard that I understand, has made asses of themselves. Speaker Boehner could not deliver a cup of coffee, much less a “grand bargain”. His marginalization comes not from Barack Obama but rather from his own caucus. They lost the gamble in 2011, and are in shambles today. The President will plunge forward and work towards realizing the values that he ran on, and won on. That may seem like partisanship to Republicans, but maybe they should have thought about that in 2011.