Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Obama, Meet The Press in September: 'Elections Matter... Votes Matter'

    Even before President Obama declared that all his "policies are on the ballot" in Tuesday's midterm elections, he told Chuck Todd in September's Meet the Press appearance that "if democrats hold the Senate," Republicans should get the message that "their strategy of just obstructing and saying no... is an agenda that the American people reject." The president said that "people want to get stuff done," and a defeat of Republicans would "[give] us room, hopefully, to find some compromises."
    Here's the exchange between Todd and Obama regarding the midterms:
CHUCK TODD: ... A lot not accomplished here... immigration, overhauling the tax system, raising the minimum raise. You brought up these issues yourself. That was with a Democratic Senate. So that's why you look at this. And you sit there and say, "How do things change?" And do you think your presidency is in bigger trouble than if you have a Republican Senate? 
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, here's the issue. I think elections matter. I think votes matter. And given the fact that the punditry overwhelmingly felt that this was going... to be a good year for Senate Republicans, because the seats that were up were in states that were tilting or significantly with-- with significant Republican majorities. If we-- if democrats hold the Senate, I think that should get Republicans to once again-- 
CHUCK TODD: You think that sends a national message? 
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think what it does is-- is to-- to send a message to Republicans that people want to get stuff done. Their-- their strategy of just obstructing and saying no to every piece of legislation that might help middle class families, that might create ladders of opportunity, that that is an agenda that the American people reject. 
And that then gives us room, hopefully, to find some compromises. I've-- I've said this before, Chuck. You know, if you asked me back in August what I want for my birthday, I'd say, "Give me a loyal opposition that has some common sense and is willing to work on some basic issues that didn't used to be partisan issues." 
It didn't use to be that building roads, bridges, improving our airports, improving our water systems, reducing traffic, those didn't used to be partisan issues. They have become partisan issues, because you've got a small portion of the Republican party that is fixated simply on dismantling government or making sure that we don't get anything done around here. And that's why elections matter.
    As the president said to Todd, "I think elections matter. I think votes matter." If the president was sincere, his attitude at Wednesday's scheduled press appearance should be rather conciliatory. But given that the New York Times reported that an anonymous presidential aide said Tuesday night that President Obama "doesn’t feel repudiated" by the elections results, conciliation does not seem likely.

Note: A version of this post first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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