President Barack Obama’s top political aide used an Inauguration Day interview to sketch out a provocative political strategy intended to split the Republican Party in time to impact the 2014 midterm elections.
“The barrier to progress here in many respects, whether it is deficits, measures to help economy, immigration, gun safety legislation … is [that] there are factions here in Congress, Republicans in Congress, who are out of the mainstream,” White House advisor David Plouffe said on CNN’s “State of the Union with Candy Crowley.”
“We need more Republicans in Congress to think like Republicans in the country who are seeking compromise, seeking balance,” he claimed.
Plouffe’s statement likely will strengthen the GOP’s consensus that Obama is seeking confrontation prior to 2014, not bipartisan cooperation to spur the stalled U.S. economy.
That consensus was highlighted at the GOP’s conclave in Williamsburg, Va., where House leaders and members agreed to back away from a looming debt-ceiling clash with Obama. Instead, they rallied behind their leaders and decided to emphasize a cautious strategy that scaled back their goals to ensure they keep their House majority in 2014, according to media reports.
GOP leaders had expected a re-elected Obama would want to focus on the economy, reducing the nation’s high unemployment-rate — roughly 24 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed — and curbing the government’s growing debt.
Instead, since his re-election Obama has picked fights on budgets, guns, immigration and Cabinet nominees; he has spurned compromise and used his White House perch — and allied news media — to claim the GOP is a captive of an extremist minority.
Obama’s likely goal is to recapture the House of Representatives in 2014, both to accelerate government’s growth and to claim public support for expansions of government spending and influence in people’s lives.
An agressive political strategy in dealing with Republicans has already been endorsed by major media figures including CBS “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer and CBS political director John Dickerson.