The New Republic interviewed President Obama earlier this month, discussing his new term in office, gun control, the media’s role in partisan politics, LGBT rights, and the civil war in Syria.
In a discussion of gun control, Obama said he wanted to ensure that the legislative strategy was combined “with a broad-based communications and outreach strategy to get people engaged and involved, so that it’s not Washington over here and the rest of America over there.”
But he took a jab at House Republicans on the matter of gun control, essentially claiming that their opinions aren’t truly representative of the American public. “The House Republican majority is made up mostly of members who are in sharply gerrymandered districts that are very safely Republican and may not feel compelled to pay attention to broad-based public opinion, because what they’re really concerned about is the opinions of their specific Republican constituencies.”
On same-sex marriage, he said that the GOP appeared to be splitting on the issue, with some beginning to embrace progress while others remain “deeply opposed,” a division that “will play itself out over years.”
As far as partisan gridlock is concerned, a seemingly never-ending problem on Capitol Hill today, he pointed to the media as a catalyst. In fact, he specifically claiming that GOP members of Congress are “punished on Fox News and by Rush Limbaugh” for cooperating with Democrats.
He added that he felt “left-leaning media outlets recognize that compromise is not a dirty word.”
“Nobody gets on TV saying, ‘I agree with my colleague from the other party.’ People get on TV for calling each other names and saying the most outlandish things,” he said.
Yet he does not believe that there is an “equivalence” between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to the issue of compromise. While he admitted that lobbying and money was a problem on both sides of the aisle, Democrats are ultimately willing to compromise while “we haven’t seen the same kind of attitude on the other side,” he argued.
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