Opinion: Can the GOP take Obama’s hand already?

Bruce Walton is a senior columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

Bruce Walton

Say what you want about President Barack Obama, but you have to admit he is a very patient man. I find his calm demeanor almost inhuman in the way you never see him outraged or say or act extremely harsh to opponents. I didn’t think anyone would have enough patience with the people he works with, but apparently he does.

During the scramble to the debt-ceiling deadline, Obama was making a real effort to meet the Republicans halfway. And even before the scramble, we learned the Republicans and Democrats had made a deal earlier in the spring about what they would do about the debt crisis, and the Republicans, led by John Boehner, changed the deal to get rid of (or delay) The Affordable Care Act. To go back on a deal set months ago is one thing, but to then blame the other side for not cooperating with them is childish. The damage has been done, and many people agree this was the fault of Republicans.

After all this, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin wrote a post on Facebook: “Many Republicans searching for something to say in defense of the disastrous shutdown strategy will say President Obama just doesn’t try hard enough to communicate with Republicans. But in a ‘negotiation’ meeting with the president, one GOP House Leader told the president: ‘I cannot even stand to look at you.’ ” Durbin then added, “What are the chances of an honest conversation with someone who has just said something so disrespectful?”

I couldn’t agree more with Durbin that this is beyond productive for either side. This isn’t being a sore loser, this is being immature and stupid. You could have sworn Obama said something surly about their mothers by how Republicans just blindly oppose our president sometimes. Even when Republicans are losing, they seem to keep digging themselves in a bigger hole.

The GOP used to be the party of self-reliance, of American principles and defending and rewarding those who give nothing but hard work. I might not agree with them, but I respect their point of view, and I could understand in part why they defended their side of an issue, and in turn, they could understand mine.

Now the GOP is the “I hate Obama Fan Club” and the party of “No.” Their entire grassroots movement, perhaps organized for a new direction for the party, was tainted by the Tea Party and their bitterness for the Obama administration.

This is not a Democrat’s endorsement of the condemnation of the Republicans; this is a columnist’s unbiased opinion about both sides, disappointed in the decisions and remarks of a hate-driven society within a political subgroup where the concerns and thoughts of the reasonable are drowned out by the accusations and proclamations of the irrational.

Let us remember what these people say when an olive branch is extended to them. Let us remember what we do when we approach them in a calm and responsible manner. Let us remember what they did to the other side, spitting in Obama’s face when he looks right into their eyes and says he wants to work this out. Say what you want about Obama, but he’s making an effort the other side can’t seem to reciprocate.