The Blame Game

When I first began practicing law, there were still very few women in the profession. One of the very first to have broken the gender barrier was a local divorce lawyer who had become legendary (not in a good way) in the legal community. Whether she’d become embittered by barriers she’d faced, or was just a bit “off,” there were multiple stories of courtroom appearances and client clashes. My favorite arose during her representation of the husband in a nasty divorce, when she explained to the court that the wife’s personality was so unpleasant that it had finally caused her poor husband to stab her.

That old story came to mind because I’ve been reading various pundits’ assignments of blame for Congressional dysfunction. Evidently, it’s all Obama’s fault that members of the legislature are refusing to do much of anything. He hasn’t “played hardball” or “twisted arms,” or maybe he hasn’t “schmoozed” enough…but whatever the tactical deficiency, it’s clearly his fault that the Republicans hate him and refuse to pass any bill–no matter how reasonable or necessary, no matter that the measure was ┬ápreviously part of the GOP’s own agenda–lest it be seen as compromising with the White House.

The fact that current congressional intransigence stems not from philosophical differences but from petty politics, visceral antagonism and more than a little racism has hardly been a well-kept secret. Pat Toomey, the Republican Senator who cosponsored the recently defeated background check bill, confirmed this state of affairs when he admitted that a number of Republicans had voted against the bill purely out of animus toward the President, and unwillingness to give him a “win.”

Whatever Obama’s strengths and weaknesses, we send people to Congress to focus on sound policy and the common good of the American public. A certain amount of political game-playing is inevitable, but when partisanship dictates every action taken, when calculations of political advantage trump all else, the system is broken. Lawmakers may think they are beating Obama–but they are really betraying the American people.

Blaming the President for the childish behavior of the legislative branch is like blaming the wife whose flawed personality “made” her husband stab her.


  1. Too bad the American people cannot admit or do not recognize the blatant fact that they are being betrayed by those they elected to protect them.

  2. Politics is a TEAM sport. The CRAZY team has the ball for now. Sad. The scary black man cannot do anything against the crazy team at this point. We deserve better. So much good within our grasp and the “R” people cannot get past the galling fact that a smart black man beat them. So they will trash the country in an angry fit. Super. Cancer research? No. Feed the hungry? No. Promising Heart Research? No. Got to stick it to the black guy. They must be so proud.

  3. And that crazy team is going to hang on to their control till they replace that black man in the White House with a Republican in 2016. Does this cause fear to anyone but me? John Boehner is running this country with an iron fist and keeping the House under his control; caring not what is happening to the American people who are struggling, suffering and many dying. But they are in charge and gloating that those Bush tax cuts to the wealthy are still in place and to hell with the rest of the country. Maintaining those Bush tax cuts and getting rid of the black man are not their primary goals, they are their ONLY goals.

  4. Very astute, and unfortunately true, summary of the current situation in DC.

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