Lindsey Graham apparently thinks that President Obama hasn't reached out to Republicans quite enough and that him "governing from the left" is the source of his woes and those of Democrats this midterm election. Former C&L contributor Steve Benen broke down this nonsense much better than I am capable of over at his blog at the Washington Monthly.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) thinks he knows exactly what would improve President Obama's political fortunes. Take a wild guess what he suggests.
"The only way the president could possibly survive is come back to the middle," Graham said on NBC's "Meet the Press." [...]
Graham accused Obama as running as a centrist but governing "from the left," acquiescing to the politics and agenda of the House.
The South Carolinian added that the White House's agenda has been the "most liberal agenda of modern times."
To prove his point, Graham noted that the administration has prepared to try terrorists in criminal courts on American soil. Of course, the Bush/Cheney administration did the exact same thing, without complaint from Republicans like Graham, but it's "tone-deaf" liberalism now because, well, Graham says so. He added that the president is "certainly tone deaf on the economy," though he didn't say why.
It's an absolute, guaranteed, mortal lock that if Republicans make huge gains in the midterms, as seems likely, Graham's rhetoric will be the accepted conventional wisdom, if it isn't already. Pundits, politicians, and the establishment in general will simply accept as fact that Dems would have fared far better if only they hadn't governed "from the left." Obama, we'll hear, has no choice but to go "to the middle."
And every time this nonsense is repeated, an angel will lose its wings. [...]
The conventional wisdom will be that liberalism did Democrats in, despite all evidence to the contrary, and despite the fact that liberals were right, especially about the economy. And we'll be reminded again as to why the accepted political truths are often neither conventional nor wise.
The sorry fact here is that as Steve acknowledges, I think this is already the Villagers' conventional wisdom. I expect as he does for it to get worse if the Republicans get back either the House or the Senate.
Transcript via NBC below the fold.
GREGORY: Is there room for compromise on tax cuts? Say, if the president were to extend all the tax cuts for a period of a couple of years, would that be able to attract Republican support?
GRAHAM: It might. There's certainly some room to compromise on the death tax. In January it goes back to 55 percent, at the end of this year it's at 0. So maybe you could find a way to compromise on the death tax to have something below 55 percent, a $5 or $6 million exemption for American families out there that would prevent devastation to small business and family farms. But if the--the idea of increasing taxes now, David, makes no sense to most people. And the agenda the president and his Democratic colleagues has offered the country has increased the deficit, increased the role of the federal government. And he ran as a centrist, and most Americans would say, "Well, I never believed he would do all this." And everything has been so partisan. There was a bipartisan bill on health care, Wyden-Bennett, that was rejected. Senator McCain had a $450 billion stimulus bill. But we didn't go down any of these compromise roses--roads, just big government, more spending. And the Democrats don't have a whole lot to talk about going into November other than more debt and more government.
GREGORY: Well, let's talk about November and let's talk about the political landscape. Do you think there is irrational exuberance among Republicans who think they're going to take over the House and perhaps even the Senate? Or do you think the Democratic control is indeed in jeopardy?
GRAHAM: I think if we voted tomorrow we would do very well. But the truth of the matter is that most of this is a rejection of a Democratic agenda that did not meet the expectations that President Obama created about a new way of doing business. The healthcare bill not only is a monstrosity in terms of growing the government and cutting out the private sector, the way it was passed was sleazy. Every old Washington trick was used to pass the healthcare bill. But, from a Republican point of view, we need to bring checks and balances, tell the American people if we get back in control, we're going to check this Obama agenda that has no limits and we're going to bring about balance by controlling spending, relooking at the healthcare bill, and trying to be more fiscally responsible. But a lot of this has to do without people saying--with people saying no to the Democrats, not saying yes to the Republicans.
GREGORY: Well, so what happens then in the fall? Do you think Republican control--or rather, Democratic control is in jeopardy?
GRAHAM: Yes. I think if the election were held tomorrow, it would be. There's a couple of months to go, and at the end of the day, I don't know what their agenda's going to be between now and November. But what they've done in the past no one seems to like. The healthcare bill is not being talked about by any Democrat. The stimulus bill has been an absolute flop. So I don't know what they do between now and November other than run against us.
GREGORY: Right. Isn't part of the issue, though--you talk about the ways of Washington. Do you think anybody's going to look at Washington and absolve Republicans for opposing just about everything the president proposed?
GRAHAM: I'm glad we--well, there was a better way. There was a bipartisan approach to health care that was rejected. There was a $450 billion stimulus package that cut taxes, helped the unemployed, and did infrastructure projects. They've rejected this approach. They've gone hard to the left, and now they have nothing to show for their efforts but bigger government and more debt. There was a better way; they chose not to go that way. Now they own this agenda that I think has been the most liberal agenda in modern times. And, at the end of the day, the public is not in the left ditch, they're not in the right ditch, they're in the right center of the road. And the only way the president can possibly survive is come back to the middle. He's tone deaf. Putting KSM on trial in New York City made no sense. Interjecting himself into the mosque debate made no sense. He's tone deaf on terrorism issues, and he's certainly tone deaf on the economy.