Is It Spite or Is It Realism?

At the “Law and Courts List-Serve,” an academic who is not a political scientist reinterpreted an oft-quoted remark from the Minority Leader of the U. S. Senate.

“I have been intrigued by Mitch McConnell’s statements that the first priority of the Republicans would be to make Obama a one term president.  At first, I attributed it to mean spirited partisanship.  But maybe McConnell is telling us
something about the American republic in the 21st Century– the presidency is where all the power is.

I think it is pretty clear that the president controls our foreign affairs; the Senate is limted to rear guard actions like nixing the arms control treaty. And, in domestic affairs, it seems to be that the only tlime important legislation is
passed is the first two years of a new presidency where his party controls both houses.    This description would seem to fit the Bush II presdency where he started two wars that still go on and passed a massive tax reduction that Obama can’t seem to terminate.

“It also seems to be the future fate of the Obama presidency. Impressive legislative accomplishments in the first two years, but now it looks like micro legislation and lot of foreign travel for the duration.”

When Rush Limbaugh said in January 2009 that he did not want President Obama to succeed, he probably was ladling  spite.

When Mitch McConnell has said it more recently, perhaps he dispensed more than spite.  Acknowledgement of congressional impotence?

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