Just over a year ago, President Obama debated House Republicans at their retreat in Baltimore, Md. The session lasted about an hour and a half, and covered several issues — particularly the health care bill, which was at the time imperiled by Republican Sen. Scott Brown’s special election victory in Massachusetts.
About halfway through, Obama scolded Republicans for characterizing the legislation — which was inspired by Republican policy ideas — as a “Bolshevik plot.” That was politics, but, he warned, overblown rhetoric like that would make it difficult for the two parties to come to an agreement on anything.
“[W]e’ve got to close the gap a little bit between the rhetoric and the reality,” Obama said. “[I]f the way these issues are being presented by the Republicans is that this is some wild-eyed plot to impose huge government in every aspect of our lives, what happens is you guys then don’t have a lot of room to negotiate with me.”
I mean, the fact of the matter is, is that many of you, if you voted with the administration on something, are politically vulnerable in your own base, in your own party. You’ve given yourselves very little room to work in a bipartisan fashion because what you’ve been telling your constituents is, this guy is doing all kinds of crazy stuff that’s going to destroy America.
I wonder if John Boehner remembers that moment, and what he thinks of it now.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.