Dan Pfeiffer was one of the President’s early advisors. He has departed the White House and conducted an exit interview with New York magazine.
On the leftward tilt of the Obama Administration, Pfeiffer actually echoes what many conservatives from Rush Limbaugh to myself have been saying. Essentially, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell incentivized it. Now, Pfeiffer blames the GOP obstruction, but there’s more to it than that. As Pfeiffer candidly notes
“I’ve always believed that the fundamental, driving strategic ethos of the Republican House leadership has been, What do we do to get through the next caucus or conference without getting yelled at? We should never assume they have a long game. We used to spend a lot of time thinking that maybe Boehner is saying this to get himself some more room. And it’s like, no, that’s not actually the case. Usually he’s just saying it because he just said it or it’s the easiest thing to solve his immediate problem.”
Republicans in Washington spend an inordinate amount of time planting stories in the press heralding themselves as strategic geniuses.
But time and again they get outmaneuvered by both conservatives and Democrats. The GOP Leadership in Washington is playing at perhaps the the worst strategy since Tiberius Sempronius Longus attacked Hannibal in the Battle of the Trebia.
And it is the worst strategy because it is really just tactics. McConnell and Boehner live to fight another day. So they do not stand on principle. They do not fully engage. They get trapped repeatedly in mistakes everyone else sees coming. They simply have no vision.
In essence, as Dan Pfeiffer said, the Republican leaders “have no long game.” Instead of setting out to win, they set out to not get beaten too badly. That is not leadership. That is cowardice premised on a lack of ideas. Boehner and McConnell have no ideas, no principles, and no clue how the hell to combat Barack Obama.
Instead, they now spend their time lining up clever ways to give congressional approval to Barack Obama’s liberal advance by plotting their retreat before Obama even makes a move.
It is time for John Boehner and Mitch McConnell to be replaced. It is time to advance on offense instead of staying on defense.