The Conversation

Obama is Creating a Unified Republican Opposition

A week ago, some Republicans were grousing over the tactics used by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), blaming him for the confrontation that led to the government shutdown over Obamacare. Today, a few are still fanning the flames of GOP infighting--such as Nicole Wallace, who told Gov. Bobby Jindal on MSNBC's Morning Joe that he had a duty to "drown out" Republicans in Congress--but most Republicans are coming together.

The reason: President Barack Obama's persistent, vociferous attacks on Republicans, which contradict and more than cancel out his attempts to convince voters he is willing to talk. In today's press conference at the White House, for example, President Obama again likened Republicans to kidnappers and hostage-takers, and also described them as spoiled children, holding out for "a new Xbox" in mortgage talks with the bank.

It may be that the president thinks he is being unusually fair to Republicans, but these attacks are convincing more and more Republicans--especially those in leadership positions--that they have no choice but to stand firm. They are no longer just rallying (some, reluctantly) to the Tea Party's banner on Obamacare. They are now standing up for the constitutional prerogatives of Congress and for their basic self-respect as a party.

Perhaps that is President Obama's design. Perhaps he wants Republicans to fortify their objections. Maybe he wants a drawn-out shutdown or even a default, believing that the resulting public outrage would crush the opposition once and for all. There is some evidence that he may be winning--at least with Democrats and the media. There is also evidence to the contrary, which he is ignoring. He may be waking a sleeping giant.



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