After six years of failed attempts to negotiate with those ornery Republicans, President Barack “No Drama” Obama has finally had enough.
In a wind-ranging interview with New York Times op-ed columnist Thomas Friedman entitled “America’s Place in the World,” Obama blasts the Republican Party in some of his harshest language yet — especially when he talks about climate change.
When Friedman asks the president about America’s role on the world stage, Obama replies that he sees our greatest challenges as coming from within:
“And so, the biggest impediment to American leadership is not external. We have the strongest military, we have the most dynamic economy, […] What is gonna be the measure of success in the 21st century is all our stuff. It’s all knowledge, it’s all innovation, it’s all openness, it’s all ability to blend cultures, this is all our thing. […]
In case that doesn’t get the message across, Obama adds:
“The thing that’s going to hold us back is gonna be us. If we make good decisions, then we will continue — not only to be the dominant power but to be a benevolent force around the world.”
In other words, the GOP is forcing our nation into bad decisions that are compromising our success.
When Friedman asks, “Are we making good decisions?” Obama flatly responds:
“Our politics are dysfunctional, and something I said earlier serves as a warning to us, and that is, societies don’t work if political factions take maximalist positions.”
The Random House dictionary (via Dictionary.Com) definition of the word maximalist describes today’s Republican party to a
a person who favors a radical and immediate approach to the achievement of a set of goals or the completion of a program.
In this case, the GOP’s goal is to destroy the government and eliminate social and public services, and they’re well on their way. We’ve known this for years, but Obama finally acknowledges it, telling Friedman:
“That ideological extremism and maximalist position is much more prominent right now in the Republican party than the Democrats.”
Obama reserved his harshest words for the Republicans’ ridiculous and unworkable position on climate change — and managed to work in a dig on the GOP’s opposition to Obamacare:
“And by the way, it generally is fact-based and reason-based. You know, we’re not denying science, we’re not denying climate change, we’re not pretending that somehow having a whole bunch of uninsured people is the American way.”
Okay, so Obama’s not all populist and fiery like Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), but for him, them’s fighting words, and we’re thrilled to hear them. After all, you can work with people if you disagree on what to do about the facts, but not if you disagree on the facts themselves.
Americans are free to reject science, but when their rejection of scientific facts endangers their fellow Americans at puts us at a competitive disadvantage with the rest of the world, someone needs to call them on their B.S. … Someone besides Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye.
Watch Obama blast Republican climate change deniers.
Obama’s interview with Friedman went on for over an hour and covered a broad range of topics, including Israel, Iraq, and China. Click here to visit the New York Times, where you can read the article and watch videos with the entire conversation.
Featured photo: Screen grab via NYT.