President Obama has so far spent most of his time in Texas raising millions of dollars for Democrats from rich donors, regaling audiences with tales of his presidential campaigns, praising administration allies and complaining loudly about Republican opposition.
You see, he's got a solution to the gridlock in Washington, if only congressional Republicans would just rubberstamp everything he proposed before he left town to help Democrats win midterm elections.
“[T]he reason we’re not making progress is because you’ve got a party on the other side that has become so ideologically rigid, so invested in an economic theory that says if folks at the top do well and there are no regulations on banks or insurance companies or credit card companies or polluters, that somehow everybody does well,” Obama said to a group of wealthy Democratic donors (without a trace of irony) at the first of two fundraisers held Wednesday evening.
“You’ve got a party that is so invested in obstruction than compromise and producing on behalf of the American people that truthfully this is not an issue of 'a plague on both your houses'."
The president spoke first at a private Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser at the home of Wendy and Marc Stanley in Dallas. Tickets for the event, which featured a guest appearance by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., ranged from $10,000 per person to $32,400 per couple.
“Democrats are … prepared to do tough things. And we’d love to have a partner on the other side. But we don’t right now,” he said.
“[T]he problem we have right now is, is that there's just a lot of political positioning but there's a big, fat zero when it comes to action on the part of these folks to try to solve the problems that are on the minds of the American people right now,” he added, referring to Republicans and immigration reform -- without mentioning the Republican proposals that have died at the hands of his Democratic ally, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
He also warned his Dallas audience about historically low Democratic turnout in midterm elections, citing gerrymandering as one of the main reasons (although how this applies to Senate races is anybody’s guess).
“So we’ve got one problem, and the problem is cynicism. The problem is Democrats congenitally vote at lower rates during midterms because of gerrymandering … and population distribution,” he said.
“Even though on every issue we enjoy a majority position, the House Republicans don’t have to respond to that — they’re responding to their primary Tea Party voters. Nothing happens, that makes our folks even more cynical, we’re less likely to vote, and you get this vicious spiral where there’s a lot of cynicism and a lot of unhappiness but nothing changes."
Later, at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Austin, Texas, at the “castle” of Robert Rodriguez, a man who is personally responsible for unforgivably awful movies, Obama fondly recalled the time during one of his campaigns when he was able to take a walk in the city “unencumbered.”
“I have wistful memories of that walk,” Obama said.
The president soon turned his attention to his Republican opponents and the upcoming midterms.
“The problem is that Washington isn’t working like it’s supposed to,” Obama said at an event where the cost of admission started at $5,000 per ticket. “What I’ve said to my team is 'get me out of Washington.'"
Like his earlier event in Dallas, the president praised his administration's work on the economy and warned against cynicism.
Cynics didn’t send men to the moon, he said, according to the pool report, adding later that cynics did not liberate slaves.
“We’ve got to guard against cynicism,” Obama said. “Embrace hope.”
The president has another high-dollar fundraiser in Austin and will deliver remarks before returning Thursday evening to Washington.