Politico has a new piece insinuating that there are four GOP senators who are frustrated that they haven’t had a phone call from the White House so they can work together.
Rob Portman of Ohio said this:
I view this as a time to turn the page and take a fresh approach from both the White House and the congressional perspective and try to work together on these difficult political issues that have to be addressed. Doing it at the level of our leadership and the president hasn’t worked.
Speaking of immigration reform, Portman said:
I think that’s what’s happened the last four years and we haven’t seen anything to address a problem that’s widely acknowledged. They’ve been using it as a political football and it’s past the campaign now. If they’re sincere about working with Republicans and Democrats, they’ll work with us. If not, then we go back into our camps and the political advantage that the president has seen in this issue might continue for some time, but probably not forever.
From Lamar Alexander of Tennessee the quote was this:
The area where the country needs the president to work with us is on out-of-control entitlement spending. The Medicare trustees say that Medicare won’t have enough money to pay all the hospital bills for seniors in 12 years. The country absolutely has to fix this problem and fixing it absolutely requires presidential leadership.
When Politico spoke of Mark Kirk of Illinois, it was framed that Kirk was never close to Obama but he joined Tom Coburn of Oklahoma (the fourth senator) to join Democrats in pushing for universal background checks for gun purchases, something that Obama has championed.
John McCain, always eager to cross the aisle to curry favor with the media, complained on “Meet the Press” that Obama has had “no communications with Republicans on the issue.”
But Obama spokeswoman Jamie Smith gleefully denied there was a problem: “The White House and the entire Obama administration are in regular contact with members of Congress and their staffs, and the president has been very clear he is happy to work with anyone who wants build the middle class and address the challenges facing our nation — together.”
One Senate GOP aide lamented Obama’s standoffish approach:
Often the White House, when it is asked who it can work with amongst Republicans on the Hill, they simply pull names out of a hat and throw those names out to reporters to suggest that they have build relationships on the Hill. Rather than giving a big speech, if he wants a result and a result is what matters, then he ought to be trying to support those in Congress who have to get it through this place.
One GOP senator said, “I don’t take it personally. I just don’t think its part of their M.O. to try to bring Congress in at the outset as you start working on issues like immigration. It tends to be more political — the White House puts out what they consider to be a framework or principles.”
Does it ever occur to these Washington Republicans who are part of the gravy train that it is their job to resist and not be used as lackeys?