Die-Hard Republicans Rankled By Obama's 2nd Term
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
In his inaugural address yesterday, President Obama pressed Americans to put aside mindless partisanship. He said we cannot treat name-calling as reasoned debate. At the same time, he strongly defended his political views, voicing support for gay rights and the role of government.
The crowd of supporters out on the National Mall liked it. Republicans watching in Texas had a different view. Here's NPR's Wade Goodwyn.
JASON'S GRANDMOTHER: You want to do it?
WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: Almost 9, Jason Burke is in the kitchen making strawberry cupcakes with his little brother and grandmother, as a warm Monday afternoon fades away.
JASON'S GRANDMOTHER: We're going to put a couple of cupcakes in and...
JASON BURKE: What kind of eggs are they?
JASON'S GRANDMOTHER: Regular.
GOODWYN: But Jason's grandfather, 79-year-old George Burke, is sitting flabbergasted in the living room after watching President Obama's inaugural address.
GEORGE BURKE: That was an absolutely - they're complaining about the Republicans being to the right, and they want to go more to the left? Get serious. I mean, American people are not stupid.
GOODWYN: Burke said he wasn't sure exactly what to expect, but he was not expecting a vigorous defense of liberal ideals.
BURKE: I thought he would go ahead and have a little more of, let's go ahead and work together as a team, and get America back on the right track. However, he doesn't appear to have that kind of agenda. It appears to be, let's go ahead and see if we can go ahead and whip everything our way, and make it a socialist state.
GOODWYN: Down the street, Republican precinct chair Ann Teague is still not sure Obama is constitutionally qualified to take the oath of office.
ANN TEAGUE: We never saw a birth certificate. We never met any of the professors who went to school with our president.
GOODWYN: It is almost impossible for rank-and-file Republicans to think about Obama's second inauguration, and not have it turned into a conversation about how the GOP does better next time. Debora Georgatos is a conservative activist who is trying to attract women back to the Republican Party. She's written a book to that end, entitled "Ladies, Can We Talk?"
DEBORA GEORGATOS: In this election cycle, my sense was that it was the president's - in my view, it's pandering. But through their HHS mandate that free birth control had to be provided to women, I thought it was like a lure to become dependent on government. To me, that was a complete U-turn from what feminists used to always stand for.
GOODWYN: The theory that President Obama won the election by promising federal goodies, is widespread through the GOP; as Obama acknowledged, in his speech. So beginning on day one after the inauguration, the task for Republicans like Georgatos becomes weaning enough voters off the mind-altering federal largess so they can again see the world clearly enough to vote Republican.
GEORGATOS: Recipients of government assistance need to be looked at as victims who've been entrapped by policies the Democrats have created over the last 40 or 50 years, and it has robbed them of the opportunity to be participants in this fabulous American dream.
GOODWYN: For freshman Republican politicians heading to Washington, this is a challenging time. Newly elected Florida congressman Trey Radel believes that impeachment of the president, because of his stand on gun control, should be an option, and he decries unfair, partisan attacks by Capitol Hill Democrats.
REP. TREY RADEL: Every time that the Republicans try and talk about something like immigration reform, Republicans are called racist. If we use a budget to say that we really, truly need to tackle our problems when it comes to saving Medicare and Social Security, the Republicans have been labeled as nothing but people who hate your grandparents.
GOODWYN: It is frustrating to be an out-of-power Republican; and the prospect of four more years of it, is maddening.
Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.