Grumpy Bear Obama Not Headed for Hibernation

There are times when I feel like ripping a page from Chris Christie’s blunt playbook and shouting at dissenters, “Sit down and shut up!”  That’s what I wanted to do to the incessant parade of talking heads, prognosticators, reporters, anchors, panelists, and otherwise political pundits who bombarded the airwaves with their commentary on election night – and have not stopped opinionating since.

Mind you, I was as riveted to the TV set on that momentous occasion as any other political animal.  And I appreciated the professional coverage and spot-on projections delivered by Fox News and likely other networks. But now that the favorable results are in, I would dearly have liked a bit more time in which to savor them – okay, to gloat!  I needed a couple of days, even just hours, to revel in the euphoria of a spectacular party performance.

But the celebrating seemed to have been over almost before it had begun.  Democrats, but not Republicans, have always managed to wallow in their electoral successes.  Instead, we are already getting post-election advice complete with caveats from all sides, including our own.  Winners are made to feel like a kid who brings home As on his report card, only to be confronted by stern parents demanding, “Why didn’t you get an A-plus?”

First, there’s the lingering dispute over what term accurately described the win.  We’re still contending with the irrelevant speculation about whether it was or wasn’t a “wave,” let alone a tsunami.  Then we have to decide on the real reason why Republicans won.  Was it about preferring our candidates, or rejecting Obama?  Do the voters like us, or do they just dislike us less than Obama?  Through it all, judicious commentators scratch their egg-heads in an attempt to compare this with previous wins.  And, curiously enough, some Democrats act as though Republicans had made a passable pass, instead of a touchdown.  As if they had stolen a few bases, rather than blasting a victory clear out of the ball park.

I doubt , for example, that the vice president has even a smidgen of egg on his face for having predicted that the Democrats would hold the Senate, allowing Harry Reid to continue tossing House bills into his circular file, thus saving President Obama the trouble and criticism of vetoing them.  Joe Biden has committed so many gaffes in his tenure in office that he is beyond belief, let alone apology.

When Democrats win elections, they celebrate in style – even to the extent of erecting Grecian columns!  They crow that their party has prevailed, because its policies and politicians are best loved by the electorate.  But when Republicans are the victors, that’s another matter.  That’s when political history books are lugged out and dusted off in an attempt to demonstrate that certain election outcomes are “traditionally” expected.  So rather than being extraordinary, Democrats insist that the 2014 midterm results lack real significance.  After all, the out-of-office party always wins seats in an off-year election.  The minority turnout is always far less when there are no presidential candidates on the ballot, etc.  As a result, there is always an anticipated major turnoff of voter interest.  In fact, Democrats did their best to downplay the 2014 midterms, characterizing them as a Seinfeld episode – i.e., all about nothing.

We have come to expect this from Democrats, who are notoriously sore losers and smug winners.  But now we find that our elation is also being tempered by pontificating from those in our own party, who warn us not to rest long on our laurels.  It’s like the euphoria of being accepted to an elite college.  Don’t get too excited, because matriculation is just the start of a lengthy and arduous journey.

Basically, President Obama’s reaction to the election results was cavalier and uncompromising, giving only lip service to cooperating with Congress.  He made clear in his long-winded, repetitive, and uninspiring press conference that the mandate for reform lies on the shoulders of the legislative body, and that he will not change his basic policies; he will continue to rise every morning determined to “make sure” (a favorite phrase) that he is doing all he can for the “folks.”  Bless him, he thinks about what is best for us all the time, especially when he is on the golf course or at an A-list fundraising fête.

The president touched on the possibility of cooperating with Senate leader Mitch McConnell, et al., but he refuses to concede that his popularity is at al all-time low with the majority of Americans.  (Well, that’s how it is with all presidents in their sixth year, right?)  Whatever the reason, Obama acted surprisingly tetchy before the press corps.  It was as if Emperor Hirohito of Japan had demanded the victorious Allied emissaries in WWII to draw up a surrender agreement that conformed to his wishes, or else.  (And rebuild Japan, while we’re at it!)

Nor will Obama hesitate to use his “pen” to sign into law by executive privilege – “legally,” as he stressed – whatever he chooses, should Congress fail by the end of the year to send to his desk bills to his liking, particularly relating to immigration reform.  Perhaps he is as confused about when the new congressional term begins as he was about how many states are in the union or whether Hawaii is a part of Asia.

The president, severely excluded from his favorite activity of emoting on the campaign trail, sounds as grumpy as a bear.  He snapped at White House reporters, delivering enough sarcastic salvos to make them pray his press conferences remain few and far between.  And he made it clear that he does not intend to add humble pie to his diet.  Or serve cotton candy and popcorn when the new congressional leaders come to call.  Unfortunately, he has been unable to muster that kind of grit when dealing with our mutual enemies far beyond Pennsylvania Avenue.