Part of my law practice is political, as we’ve discussed before. And like most lawyers, the litmus test for hiring my office is monetary capacity, not a political litmus test. So every now and then I look at my list of political clients and notice a weird trend. What I was noticing this month is that there actually is a lot of bipartisanship in Washington, and a lot of that bipartisanship these days consists of frustration with Obama and Obama’s apparent inability to admit error. Here’s a couple of examples.
The opinion that the NSA surveillance operation revealed by Snowden might be unconstitutional was written by a conservative judge appointed by George W. Bush. There seems to be some consensus amongst Republicans and Democrats that the NSA has gone too far. Democrats refer to civil liberties, and Republicans to excessive federal power, but the outcome is the same. In Washington, there seems to be a bipartisan opinion that the NSA programs need to be scaled back, that maybe Snowden wasn’t the villain he seemed to be, and maybe, maybe, when a surveillance program is too extreme even for a W appointee that the parties could work together to find a good balance. Instead, Obama seems wedded to fighting for a cause that is making vulnerable Democrats look nervous and makes those same Democrats wonder why Obama can’t ease back on the war on terror.
TPP. This trade pact, and its fast track status, seems to invoke universal hatred in both the Congress and the Senate. For Democrats, TPP seems to roll back environmental laws and labor laws, threatens the remaining manufacturing jobs and seems to give whopping enforcement power to private corporations. Republicans don’t like the one world government problem, and the failure of currency reform in the TPP. For the past three days, all I’ve been hearing from both parties is confusion as to why Obama seems tone deaf to both sides of the aisle. Why is he pushing this when he is clearly ahead of the country and no one is following him?
Iran and Israel–Both Democrats and Republicans are fascinated by Obama’s recklessness with this. Why are Kerry and Obama so gung ho on something that both parties want the breaks applied on?
And then there is Obamacare. Enough said.
Lastly, I hear this from both parties–Obama needs to shuffle his cabinet and find some new people. Both parties have started to wonder if Washington gridlock is caused by a permanent echo chamber in the White House, and that the climate is only subject to improvement if some new blood is brought in to break the logjam. Weirdly, a number of democrats have told me that Obama’s people have been leaning on Bryer and Ginsberg to retire so that Obama can appoint some justices. Really? If true, that represents a true disconnect between the White House and reality.
What I’m mostly hearing from Democrats now is that Obama seems to have become tone-deaf to his own party. And the Republicans seem to be rubbing their hands with glee. For all the talk of divided government, its starting to seem that the division is less between Congress and the Senate, than it is between the Legislature and the Executive. Maybe its about legacy, maybe its not.