Reiterating President Obama’s mantra, “pen and phone,” and “I am going to do whatever it takes with executive orders to govern,” Kai Ryssdal then asked the president if it was just “one guy with a pen in this town,”then “who was running the American economy?”
Well, unfortunately, we have a Congress that’s broken down. And I know that a lot of times people who are watching what’s happening in Washington sort of feel like, “You know, a plague on both their houses. Democrats, Republicans, they’re all the same. None of them care about us.” But the truth is that we have a very specific problem. We have a House of Representatives that is so ideologically driven at this point that they are not able to carry out basic functions of government. So we saw this during the government shutdown. The idea that we would shut down the government based on a notion that we’ve got to drastically cut the basic safety net — despite the fact that the deficit has come down by more than half during my presidency — is not based on common sense, it’s not based on any sound economic theories. It’s based on the ideological predispositions of a handful of folks who are currently calling the shots in the House of Representatives. The same is true, we just recently saw, with immigration reform; we have bipartisan support for immigration reform. We know that the economy would grow faster, that we would end up seeing $1.4 trillion in additional growth in the United States if in fact we passed immigration reform. We know that there are companies across the country, particularly in the high-tech sector, that are begging to have highly skilled immigrants — who we’ve trained, we’ve paid for and are now going back to their home countries to start businesses — stay here in the United States. Despite all that, we still couldn’t get the House of Representatives to act, primarily because of politics, primarily because they’re captive of a small ideological band inside their caucus. And so, I don’t think this is a permanent state of affairs; I think over time the Republican Party will move back to the center, mainly because if they don’t, they’ll never win the presidency again.
The Republicans have no choice at this point; if they want to win the presidency, they have to appeal to the middle — which means cutting the white resentment and Tea Bagging lunatics free, while building up a new base from scratch. The real question is if they’ll listen — and the answer is probably no. The GOTea has become the ouroboros that’s eating itself. No amount of logic or facts will convince them that’s their own tail they’re swallowing.
The president framed it perfectly: it doesn’t matter who they nominate. Unless they move back to the center, the White House will remain a Democrat House.
You can listen to the full interview with Kai Ryssdal below: