Step back from angry rhetoric
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Mar 05, 2013 | 2261 views |  0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
President Barack Obama announces in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, March 4, 2013, he will nominate, Gina McCarthy to head the EPA; MIT physics professor Ernest Moniz for Energy Secretary; and Walmart Foundation President Sylvia Mathews Burwell to head the Budget Office. Photo: Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press
President Barack Obama announces in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, March 4, 2013, he will nominate, Gina McCarthy to head the EPA; MIT physics professor Ernest Moniz for Energy Secretary; and Walmart Foundation President Sylvia Mathews Burwell to head the Budget Office. Photo: Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press
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Ask any conservative Republican to assess both the presidency and character of Barack Obama and the responses will be consistent. President Obama is a liberal big-spender intent on wrecking the country. His qualifications to be president are suspect at best. He can’t be trusted. His has dictatorial ambitions.

From an ordinary retiree who watches Fox News all day long to an esteemed member of Congress, these descriptions are the ones you’ll likely hear. All of the above is typical campaign rhetoric, regularly tossed out across the spectrum by partisans seeking to take down their opponents.

However, Republicans don’t seem able to come to grips with the fact that the name-calling portion of the election is over. As popular as it might be to say that both sides in Washington have failed to find compromise to avoid the pain of sequester, that’s just not the case. The president has offered significant cuts, including to Social Security. He’s also suggested means-testing Medicare so as to reduce its expense. In exchange, the president has proposed seeking more tax revenue from the wealthiest Americans, a premise that Republicans say is a non-starter in compromise discussions.

Yet, without compromise the sequester will continue to bear down on the nation, harming many on the margins of society, the military and communities that depend on Defense Department dollars as well as putting the squeeze on the nation’s fragile economy.

The tricky part for Republicans is that it’s difficult to step back from all the angry rhetoric directed at Obama. They’ve painted the president as a monster when in fact he’s merely a politician, one who’s on a winning streak of late. For Republicans, the walk back to an honest position from which they can bargain will require an equally canny politician. We’re hoping he or she emerges.
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