President Obama was right to converse with congressional Republicans last Friday in Baltimore. Cynics may label it as political theater, but I suspect the public appreciated the give-and-take.
The president was given a 26-page booklet containing Republican ideas on the economy, jobs, energy and national security. That should put to rest the fiction that Republicans have presented no ideas on these and other subjects. If the president wants to demonstrate he is seeking common ground instead of scorched earth with Republicans, he might embrace at least one Republican idea and prod his party's congressional majority to go along.
"I am not an ideologue," the president claimed, but of course he is. Dictionary.com defines "ideologue" as "a person who zealously advocates an ideology." President Obama is a self-described "progressive." A progressive is a throwback to the early 20th century. Progressives believe in an intellectual hierarchy that gets to decide what is best for the "uninformed" masses. They use government to impose their worldview on others. Progressives generally seek ways around the Constitution and its philosophical foundation, the Declaration of Independence, because they see these documents as impediments to their objectives. Note Speaker Nancy Pelosi's comment to the press about comprehensive health insurance reform: "We will go through the gate. If the gate is closed, we will go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we will pole vault in. If that doesn't work, we will parachute in." Damn the Constitution; damn the people. That's the attitude of progressives.
Progressives use the tax code to enforce their utilitarian view of the world. They believe that if I make more money than others, I "owe" the others. The president illustrated this in response to a question from Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, who proposed across-the-board tax cuts to spur economic growth. The president responded, "What you may consider across-the-board tax cuts could be, for example, greater cuts for people who are making a billion dollars. I may not agree to a tax cut for Warren Buffett."
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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