It would be nice if President Obama would tell his side to stop insulting Republicans
To be fair, insults are a two way street in Washington. No one has a monopoly. Nevertheless, President Obama should call on his side to "chill out" and stop insulting the other side.
It all starts with President Obama, who routinely accuses Republicans trying to thwart his spending plans by putting "party ahead of country." Last January, when talking-as Dan Pfeiffer was this week-about GOP insistence on trading spending cuts for agreeing to raise the nation's debt limit-the president said he wouldn't negotiate with those holding "a gun at the head of the American people."
Joe Biden asserts Republicans are holding the country "hostage" with their spending stance, and in a 2011 meeting with congressional Democrats the vice president agreed with the suggestion that Tea Party groups were "terrorists."
Among Democrats on Capitol Hill, it starts at the top, too.
Last week, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid compared Republican conservatives to "Thelma and Louise," adding, "America will know exactly who to blame: Republican fanatics in the House and the Senate."
On the House side, such talk has long been a staple for Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, whose default argument on fiscal or economic policy is to impugn conservatives' patriotism. In 2008, she said it was "very unpatriotic" for Republicans to balk at a big bank bailout. Two years later, she lashed out at those resisting raising the debt ceiling: "Are these people not patriotic?"
Let's stipulate that this type of talk obscures, rather than elucidates, the impasse in Washington. Let's also stipulate, for the moment, that the leaders in both major political parties actually care about the country. So why has the budget process become an ongoing game of chicken?