Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Mass., argued against allegations from President George W. Bush’s former chief strategist Matthew Dowd that President Barack Obama caused the poisonous tone in Congress that led to the shutdown.
Edwards told a roundtable panel that playing the blame game doesn't make Obama guilty of causing the shutdown. She reminded panelists that it wasn't “just a small group” of Repbulicans particpating in brinkmanship.
“What really is sad,” Edwards said, “is that 62 percent of the Republican caucus … 144 members of the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives actually voted against reopening government and paying our bills.”
“It isn’t just a small group that’s being driven. It’s a larger group that’s being driven,” she added. “And I think that should concern all Americans.”
“It’s really easy to cast this off on the president” Edwards said, but “in my view as a progressive Democrat, has bent over backwards to try to accommodate the Republican Party and try to construct support.”
Matthew Dowd, Bush’s former chief strategist and now an analyst for ABC, argued that the “real problem” was that “we need to redefine winning differently.”
He claimed the attitude is always “us versus them.”
“We just define everything as a battle, everything as a civil war,” said Dowd. “The president, I think, has tried to balance this tension, but I think he constantly falls into — I think he wants to bring the country together and be accommodating and do all that. He ran on that just like Bush ran on that. The end result of Bush’s didn’t turn out well, the end result of President Obama’s didn’t turn out well. But I think President Obama lapses back into this sort of dualistic thing that, ‘Okay, I wasn’t able to do it, I’m going to point fingers.’ And you watched his speech last week. And his speech last week was a perfect microcosm of it.”
“Let’s change the tone but maybe not?” said ABC host Martha Raddatz laughed.
“Let’s change the tone but they’re at fault!” Dowd agreed. “Whenever you say ‘they’re at fault,’ you can’t fix it.”
“Come on,” Edwards argued. “It is really important here, we don’t want to do a rewrite of this. And in order not to do a rewrite, you have to actually understand who was at fault and there was real fault here. We had a majority of Republicans and Democrats who wanted to keep the government open.”