President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner before Monday's inauguration ceremony. / JONATHAN ERNST AFP/Getty Images
There's an unusual amount of talk in Washington these days about destroying the Republican Party.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, raised the issue in recent days, saying Obama's inaugural speech told him "he knows he can't do any of that as long as the House is controlled by Republicans. So we're expecting over the next 22 months to be the focus of this administration as they attempt to annihilate the Republican Party."
In his speech to the Ripon Society, Boehner added that he believes the Obama administration's goal is "to just shove us into the dustbin of history."
In a political analysis for Slate magazine, John Dickerson wrote that, given Obama's frustrations at getting bipartisanship through a Republican House, the president's "only remaining option is to pulverize" the Republicans by isolating them on a series of issues.
"By exploiting the weaknesses of today's Republican Party, Obama has an opportunity to hasten the demise of the old order by increasing the political cost of having the GOP coalition defined by Second Amendment absolutists, climate science deniers, supporters of 'self-deportation' and the pure no-tax wing," Dickerson wrote.
At the White House, officials said Obama wants to work with the Republicans, not destroy them.
The president wants to cooperate "with members of both parties to achieve progress on behalf of the American people," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
Obama "believes that the two-party system is part of the foundation of our democracy," Carney added, "and that it is a healthy aspect of our democracy even if it's contentious."
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