Re "Obama's call to arms," Opinion, Jan. 22
Doyle McManus is disappointed that President Obama offered no olive branches to the Republicans in his inaugural address, as he had done in his first one. A lot of good that did Obama.
Has McManus forgotten that Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) once declared that his biggest priority was to make Obama a one-term president? Republicans did everything possible to make that happen. I am amazed that Obama got as much done as he did in his first term.
If Obama seems more determined now, I can understand why. He has to make the most of the time he has left before he becomes a lame duck. Those who oppose Obama might reflect on his election victory: To the Republicans' amazement, a majority of voters supported him. We want equality, fairness and a good life for all Americans, no matter our differences.
McManus makes a good point — that Obama's triumphal take-no-prisoners inaugural speech may not be found to have been wise in retrospect.
In politics and in life, the seemingly inevitable future tends to dissolve into an unanticipated present. It is also a sociological adage that a disunited group will often find unity and strength only when faced with an existential challenge. The richly deserved Republican humiliation will not last.
Obama should have been more Machiavellian, hiding his politically murderous intent behind an olive branch. Instead, he may have given the Republicans a kick in the pants.
Obama made matters worse for himself and, more important, for the country. It may be very difficult later for him to switch back to a "uniter" mode.
With respect to attempts at bipartisanship, McManus suggests that Obama offer (again) "an outstretched hand." A reminder: He did that last time, and it was bitten.
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