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Invigorated by a recent win, America’s President hopes to address a variety of policies. Climate change, gay rights, gun control, and immigration reform are all issues on which Obama hopes to make ground. But it is no secret that American politics is trapped in an era of dysfunction. The fiscal cliff negotiations were painful, and the debt ceiling is an issue that will require more cooperation during an era of polarisation. To get legislation passed, Obama plans to play hardball, but fierce rhetoric does little to bridge gaps. Here, Biden will extend a hand of friendship. Thus Biden and Obama have proverbially handcuffed the GOP to the interrogation room table to begin the classic good cop bad cop routine.
The scene is set. A harsh light shines in the face of of our personified republican party. He sits in the interrogation room, resolute in his decision to not cooperate with the democrats.
Officer Obama storms through the door and slams the case file on the table. “I beat you republican fuck-ups!” he screams into the face of the suspect. “The American people are on my side, and unless you give me exactly what I want, you will never again win a presidency!” Herein lies the leverage. Obama’s advisors have argued that his first term blunder was trying to reason with republicans. This suggests that a second term goal should be to pick fights that split moderate republicans from the entrenched tea-partyers. To persuade the moderates that cooperation is in their own interest, Obama must head outside congress. He can get voters, business leaders and pressure groups to push the republicans into cooperating. Public opinion, after all, is mostly on Obama’s side. After intimidating the suspect, Obama leaves the room. The GOP remains, alone, with nothing to do but contemplate the lecture and wipe the bad cop’s spittle from his brow.
Officer Biden enters, unlocks the suspect’s handcuff and places a warm coffee on the table. “Drink,” he says. “My friend can be a little aggressive at times, but I’m sure we can, as reasonable people, come to a reasonable agreement.” It was Biden who brokered a budget compromise in the final hours of fiscal cliff negotiations with republican Mitch McConnell, after talks had broken down between Obama and Boehner. It will be Biden who plays it cool while Obama beats the war drums. Obama’s inaugural speech ended with a call to the people to demand that politicians address a progressive agenda. After applying this pressure, and letting the GOP stew briefly, Biden is there to hash out the details. Meanwhile, Obama forcefully reminds the GOP that it is in their interest to make concessions.
by Dylan F