Commentary Magazine


Reid: Senate Dems Wouldn’t Work With Romney

Remember this story the next time you hear Democrats lament the “philosophy of obstructionism” in the “extremist” Republican-controlled House:

“Mitt Romney’s fantasy that Senate Democrats will work with him to pass his ‘severely conservative’ agenda is laughable,” Reid said in a statement released by his office.

“In fact, Mitt Romney’s tea party agenda has already been rejected in the Senate. In the past few months, we have voted down many of the major policies that Mitt Romney has run on, from the Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it, to the Blunt Amendment to deny women access to contraception, to more tax giveaways for millionaires and billionaires, to a draconian spending plan that would gut critical services for seniors and the most vulnerable Americans.”

Reid added: “Mitt Romney has demonstrated that he lacks the courage to stand up to the tea party, kowtowing to their demands time and again. There is nothing in Mitt Romney’s record to suggest he would act any differently as president. As governor of Massachusetts, he had a terrible relationship with Democrats, cordoning himself off behind a velvet rope instead of reaching out to build relationships. And in the near-decade that Mitt Romney has spent running for president, both his words and his actions have shown that pleasing the far right is more important to him than working across the aisle.”

The funny part is, most of the progressives decrying the “Do-Nothing Congress” would probably agree with Reid. Of course, they’ll fight tooth and nail to save Obamacare if Romney wins the election, and cheer on Democratic obstructionism in the Senate (assuming Democrats actually keep the Senate). This, despite polls showing that majorities still want Obamacare repealed.

But when Republicans block legislation they’re philosophically opposed to, that’s totally different. TPM has a story up this afternoon about Romney’s “closing argument.” The headline reads: “Romney: Elect Me Or House GOP Will Wreck The Economy.” Here’s what Romney said: 

Romney said that Obama “promised to be a post-partisan president, but he became the most partisan” and that his bitter relations with the House GOP could threaten the economy. As his chief example, he pointed to a crisis created entirely by his own party’s choice — Republican lawmakers’ ongoing threat to reject a debt ceiling increase. Economists warn that a failure to pass such a measure would have immediate and catastrophic consequences for the recovery.

“You know that if the President is re-elected, he will still be unable to work with the people in Congress,” Romney said. “He has ignored them, attacked them, blamed them. The debt ceiling will come up again, and shutdown and default will be threatened, chilling the economy.” 

We can argue over who did what right and who did what wrong during the debt-ceiling debate, but some of the most definitive reporting on the issue by Bob Woodward blamed “gaps” in Obama’s leadership for the failure to strike a “grand bargain.” 

So Romney makes a fair point. Obama didn’t have a record of bipartisanship before he took office, and he certainly didn’t build one during the past four years. 

Romney, on the other hand, does have a history of working across the aisle with a Democratic legislature in Massachusetts. Some liberals argue Romney’s record isn’t as good as he claims, since he only compromised with Democrats because they had a veto-proof majority and he had to, otherwise nothing would get done. He had to? Well what’s Obama’s excuse, then?