Ramesh Ponnuru, a conservative writer for the National Review, is cracking jokes! Or making threats:
The Republicans aren’t going to change. Judging from the interview, neither will the president. He said that after the election he would tell Republicans “you no longer need to be focused on trying to beat me; what you need to be focused on and what you should have been focused on from the start is how do we advance the American economy.” He would reiterate that he has always been open to compromise. And he would “look at how we can work around Congress,” if needed.
In other words, after winning he will lecture Republicans about how their positions are insincere and adopted purely for political reasons; he will insist that his existing positions are already a compromise with them; and he will try to govern unilaterally. These tactics seem unlikely to produce the desired results. Obama has, after all, adopted all of them, and they haven’t worked.
If the public renders a split verdict -- returning Obama to the presidency and giving Republicans more power in Congress -- both parties will insist that it’s the other that needs to “listen to the American people.” The choice before those people is looking more and more like one between Romney and a unified Republican government, or Obama and four more years that look a lot like the last two.
Or as Atrios puts it:
Yes there really is no other choice but to surrender to perpetual Republican one party rule.
This is one example of the kind of political writing I love to detest. Here a guy goes on a rant about the Republicans going even more extreme if they are not allowed to govern unilaterally! They will pee in the punch bowl nonstop, he swears, throw temper tantrums on the floor and otherwise act discourteously. Better the people surrender right away so that all those crappy safety nets can be pulled down. After all, you know they will be shredded apart eventually, so why not now? And if you don't like it, well, you get another year of gridlock.
Hmmm. To stay in gridlock or to careen off the cliff? To stay in gridlock or to careen off the cliff? Hard choices.
In any case, Ponnuru fails to point out that there's an alternative way out of that dreaded gridlock. It's to give Democrats the majority in both the House and the Senate and then to re-elect Obama.