President Barack Obama predicts the Republican party, after being resistant to compromise during his administration, will adopt a more moderate position following the 2016 presidential election.
On May 12, the president had a phone interview with The Daily Targum, the student newspaper of Rutgers University. Obama had promised the publication’s Editor-in-Chief Dan Corey a one-on-one interview ahead of his scheduled commencement address to the university on May 15.
After discussing how to make college more affordable, voter turnout and the Obama administration's attitude toward the press, the discussion turned to the GOP.
Corey pointed out that Republicans in Congress had been resistant to Obama since the start of his presidency. The president has often noted a statement made by Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is now the Senate Majority Leader, as evidence of GOP obstructionism, Politifact notes.
"The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president," McConnell told the National Journal in 2010, two years after Obama had been elected.
McConnell had added after his statement that "if President Obama does a Clintonian backflip, if he’s willing to meet us halfway on some of the biggest issues, it’s not inappropriate for us to do business with him."
Accusations of GOP obstructionism have remained consistent, flaring up once again in February when Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died. Hours after his death, McConnell announced that the Senate would not even hold a hearing for any replacement appointed by Obama, according to The Hill.
Reflecting on his strained working relationship with Republicans, Obama noted that his administration was still able to pass the Affordable Care Act, enact student loan reform, help avoid economic depression with the stimulus package, and the Iran Deal, The Daily Targum reports.
“I’ve always shown myself willing to compromise — principled compromises that would still advance the issues of the American people,” Obama told the newspaper.
“What we’ve seen within the Republican Party has been a refusal even to engage on a whole range of issues ... The challenge has been a Republican Party that has become increasingly ideological and extreme, and I think that’s reflected in the current presidential race."
Obama pointed out that all political parties have gone through periods of strong partisanship throughout U.S. history, and he concluded: “My sense is that there will be a corrective at some point, perhaps after this next presidential election.”