“The president brings people together, does the deals, does the trades, knocks the heads together. The president leads. And I don’t see that kind of leadership happening right now,” said Romney.
Yes, but how would knocking a few legislative heads cause the GOP to accept a tax increase? The problem is that there is a deep and substantive divide on fiscal policy between Republicans and Democrats. Invoking “leadership” as a means to close that gap is vague at best.
Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan calls this the “Green Lantern” theory of the presidency, after the fictional superhero.
“In this fantasy world, all legislative obstacles can be overcome through the sheer exertion of presidential will.... If you accept the false premise that the president is all-powerful, it’s totally logical!” Professor Nyhan wrote in his definition of Green Lanternism.
SUBTLETY. Romney also complained to Fox’s Mr. Wallace that Mr. Obama’s response to the sequester crisis has been counterproductive. Obama flew around the country to do public rallies blaming the GOP for economic harm the sequester would allegedly cause, Romney said.
“Now, what does that do?” said Romney. “That causes the Republicans to retrench and then put up a wall and to fight back. It’s a very natural human emotion.”
We’d agree with that – Obama’s pre-sequester public campaign was an attempt to push the GOP towards his position and could well have polarized the issue more than it helped. Presidential public speeches often have that effect. The Republican lawmakers resisting the Democratic position here are doing so due to their own electoral imperatives. Most are from GOP-leaning districts or states and would pay a political price at home if they moved toward Obama.
That said, should legislators base their votes at all on the fact that the president is annoying them?