Andy Schmookler: Here’s what Hillary Clinton should be asked

hillary clintonMadame Secretary, you have said that as president, you’ll “break the gridlock in Washington.” You have also said that you are good at reaching “across the aisle” to get things done.

But although President Obama also reached across the aisle, the Republicans — rather than work in Congress — rather than work with him — never budged from their determination to obstruct everything he proposed. And it didn’t matter what were the specifics of his proposal, The Republicans chose to obstruct across-the-board in order to make him fail.

Which leads to this question:

What are you going to do if the Republicans don’t respond to your reaching across the aisle but treat you the same way they’ve treated President Obama for the past seven and a half years?

Or, to put it another way:

You’ve shown you are able to confront Donald Trump — calling him out for the reprehensible things he says and does — and come out on top. Will you also be willing and able to confront and defeat the Republicans in Congress if they choose the path of obstructionism?


Something effective should be possible.

After all, obstructionism is an unjustifiable — and one might say un-American — way for a political party to use its power. Putting the quest for partisan advantage ahead of the quest to move the nation forward is not how the system our founders gave us is supposed to work.

Nonetheless, for the past seven years, the Republicans have been able to make obstructionism pay for them politically.

I’d like to hear Hillary tell us how she’ll make sure that they’ll be politically punished for it if they try that with her.

I’d like to hear something like this:

“First, I hope that the voters will elect a Congress whose top priority is to serve the good of the nation. At this point, in view of the Republicans’ record of the past seven and a half years, the surest way to do that is to vote out the Republican obstructionists and give us a Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress.

“But regardless, I hope to work with members from both parties to move this nation forward. But if the Republicans choose once again the path of obstructionism – preventing us from doing the people’s business, just for their own partisan advantage — I’ll call it out so that the American people see that Republican choice for the betrayal of the nation that it is.

Andy Schmookler — who was the Democratic nominee for Congress in Virginia’s 6th District in 2012 — is the author most recently of WHAT WE’RE UP AGAINST: The Destructive Force at Work in Our World– and How We Can Defeat It.

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