It is no secret that President Obama plans to move the country to the left, demanding "collective action" in his Inaugural Address to curb global warming, buttress the middle class, regulate guns and ammunition, defend Medicare and Social Security, and extend gay rights.
The question is whether, behind the scenes, Republican leaders have recognized an opportunity to counter Obama's liberalism with ever-so-slight jogs toward the center "“ if not ideologically, at least pragmatically, to a position the GOP all but abandoned in recent months: political sanity.
I ask because of three important developments:
- The GOP-controlled House passed a bill Wednesday that effectively extends the debt ceiling limit until May 19. It was a major capitulation to Obama, who publicly declared he would not negotiate with the nation's credit held hostage. Rep. Paul Ryan, the party's vice presidential nominee in 2012, cited the "realities of divided government" when he urged his rank and file to effectively eat crow.
- Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, another likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate, is quietly and (so far) effectively lobbying conservative lawmakers and commentators to consider immigration reforms. In the not-to-distant past, Rubio's proposals would have been fatally labeled as stalking horses for amnesty.
- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is expected to tell the Republican National Committee tonight that it's time for the GOP to focus less on political battles in Washington. "A debate about which party can better manage the federal government is a very small and shortsighted debate," he is expected to say, according to the The Washington Post. "If our vision is not bigger than that, we do not deserve to win."