Whenever President Obama discusses “bipartisanship,” is sounds good. Until you hear his idea of what “bipartisanship” means to him.
Recently, he’s extended his “country as car” metaphor, saying that Republicans are welcome back in the car — as long as they remember their place and sit in the back and shut up.
For a more specific example, let’s look at how being “bipartisan” worked for one Republican — more specifically, the one Republican who broke ranks in the House of Representatives and voted for ObamaCare, freshman Joseph Cao of Louisiana.
Cao, who succeeded Democrat William Jefferson
Clinton after “Cold Cash” was convicted of corruption and sent to prison, succumbed to Obama’s charms and provided the fig leaf the Democrats needed to say that ObamaCare was truly “bipartisan” — they actually got one Republican in the House to cross party lines and vote for it!
Just what sort of reward or consideration for his lending his support for ObamaCare? How did Obama repay Cao’s efforts?
Well, he could have discouraged local Democrats from running against Cao. While it’s sometimes improper for presidents to get too involved in local politics, Obama is also the leader of the Democratic Party. He could have said “give this guy a break — he did us a solid.” But he didn’t do that.
He could have stayed out of that decision, but declined to lend his endorsement to Cao’s opponent. He could have said that he doesn’t have anything against the Democrat, but he wouldn’t put his influence behind the efforts to unseat Cao. But he didn’t do that.
He could have endorsed Cao’s opponent, but not made a big deal out of it. He could have put Cedric Richmond’s name on the list of candidates he endorsed, but left it there — he wasn’t obligated to put in campaign appearances for Richmond and personally asked the people of Louisiana’s 2nd District to toss out Cao.
But he did that anyway.
No, to Obama, Cao’s history of backing him is irrelevant. All that matters is that Cao is a Republican, and seen as a particularly vulnerable one. So everything else goes out the window, and Cao has to go.
Winston Churchill once said that “an appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile – hoping it will eat him last.” They don’t have crocodiles in Louisiana, but they do have their cousins, the alligators.
One would think that a Louisianan would know about such things, but it appears that Cao doesn’t.
Personally, I’m not concerned whether or not Cao wins re-election. If he does, he will have done so despite President Obama’s efforts, and — hopefully — have learned that “bipartisanship” with Obama is a strictly one-way street. If he loses, then he will serve as a “poster child” of how little Obama values actual “bipartisanship” and rewards those who do cross party lines to lend him support.
One weak Congressman, from one small district. One lone House seat, that in the big picture doesn’t really mean a hell of a lot.
But as a symbol of how Obama treats the man who holds it — it could be the single most important seats on Capitol Hill.