Republicans say President Obama should heed the message voters sent him, says William Galston at The New Republic, but perhaps incoming GOP House speaker John Boehner and his colleagues are the ones who should be paying attention. In a new Pew survey, 55 percent of respondents say they want GOP leaders to cooperate with Obama to get things done — even if it means angering conservative voters. Only 38 percent want Republicans to refuse to budge. And, by an even bigger margin, Americans want Obama to try to get along with Republicans, too. That should make it easy, says Galston, for Obama to decide how to play the cards in his hand. Here, an excerpt:
Obama faces a win-win situation. If he extends his hand to the opposition and they spurn it, the independents and swing voters whose views will determine the 2012 election will give him credit for doing what they want while coming down hard on Republican obstructionists. If the Republicans grasp his outstretched hand, then the country might actually make some progress. And by a margin of 49 to 30, the people think that the president — not congressional Republicans — should take the lead.