Monday, September 6, 2010

It’s Their Turn

The lament is familiar: Oh, if only President Obama would move to the center, the Republicans would be thrilled to work with him.

“The only way the president could possibly survive is come back to the middle,” [Sen. Lindsey] Graham said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” […]

Graham accused Obama as running as a centrist but governing “from the left,” acquiescing to the politics and agenda of the House.

First, I can think of a whole raft of items where the Obama administration hasn’t exactly been on the left of anybody, including but not limited to marriage equality and the continuation of some of the Bush policies regarding holding terror suspects indefinitely. The hard-core liberals can provide you with an entire list of disappointments, including healthcare reform without the public option, the instant repeal of DADT, and banking reforms that didn’t cave to Wall Street. But as Steve Benen pointed out yesterday, hearing the GOP whine about not governing from the center is a study in irony.

Lindsey Graham wants Obama to “come back to the middle”? Here’s a silly question for Graham: when might your party “come back to the middle”? When was the last time congressional Republicans offered a centrist compromise on literally any policy dispute? When was the last time Graham’s Senate caucus allowed the Senate to vote up or down on meaningful legislation without a filibuster, a hold, or both? When was the last time the GOP mainstream responded to White House outreach with a single idea where the parties could work together?

So when the GOP gets back to the middle, maybe we can talk about it.