First we have to thank Sen. Pat Toomey for his remarkable candor.
Toomey said a bipartisan proposal to expand background checks for gun sales failed in part due to his fellow Republicans’ desire to prevent President Barack Obama from winning a victory on a major policy initiative.
“In the end it didn’t pass because we’re so politicized,” said Toomey, who crafted a proposal with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to extend background checks to firearms purchased at gun shows and online. Toomey said the measure failed to win the 60 votes it needed to win passage due to Republican politics.
“There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it,” Toomey added.
Toomey clearly suggested his fellow Republicans were not motivated by policy positions but by a desire to deprive Obama of a legislative victory.
Obama appeared to allude to a similar view when speaking at a news conference about the parts of his agenda that have stalled in Congress.
“Their base thinks that compromise with me is somehow betrayal. They’re worried about primaries,” Obama said. “And I understand all that. And we’re going to try to do everything we can to create a permission structure for them to be able to do what’s going to be best for the country. But it’s going to take some time.”
Both Toomey and Obama are understating the problem. This is about more than background checks or appealing to the base. Republicans in Congress have been motivated by politics and not policy since the president first took office.
Senate Minority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in an interview with the National Journal on Oct. 23, 2010 that: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
Most of the polls show that the majority of American voters side with the president on universal background checks and other issues.
The president must expose the Republicans obstructionist policies and devise a strategy to unify Democrats, reach out to those Republicans willing to work with him on common sense solutions and encourage voters to hold lawmakers accountable for choosing politics over policy and principle.
(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune)