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Is Bipartisanship Overrated?

By Ben Pershing
Thirteen hours from now, President Obama will stand before a joint session of Congress in the House chamber and -- we're making an educated guess here -- speak of the importance of bipartisanship. He will say that the monumental challenges of our time demand that the two parties work together. He will tell Republicans he wants to hear their ideas too, and that the political ways of the past will no longer suffice in dealing with a potentially frightening future.

Obama sounded similar themes Monday during his Fiscal Accountability Summit, calling on Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike (oddly, as though they were reporters) and asking for their views. And he has emphasized bipartisanship since the day he was sworn in, sometimes to his own detriment, as Obama's words were used against him throughout the economic stimulus debate. But new polling released in the prelude to Obama's joint address suggests that maybe he needn't worry so much about bringing people together. Maybe bipartisanship is overrated.

In the new New York Times/CBS News poll, respondents were asked which of two options should be the "higher priority" for Obama -- "working in a bipartisan way" with Republicans, or "sticking to the policies he campaigned on." Fifty-six percent chose the latter option, while 39 percent chose the former. But the results were flipped when people were asked what the congressional GOP should do; 79 percent said they should work with Obama and his fellow Democrats, while just 17 percent said they should stick to Republican policies. The poll's message: Despite all of Obama's rhetoric, it's a lot more important for Republicans to be bipartisan than it is for Obama. Perhaps because he won the election and they lost.

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Posted at 8:20 AM ET on Feb 24, 2009  | Category:  The Rundown
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It takes two to tango, and the Republicans have stated pretty clearly that they'd rather have the whole dance hall burn down than be seen stepping out on the floor with a Democrat.

Democrats have to be just bipartisan enough to clearly and repeatedly demonstrate to the public that Republicans have absolutely no interest in being bipartisan. Once the Republicans have firmly implanted themselves in the public mind as churlish hecklers causing trouble from the back bleachers, no one is going to much care about "bipartisan" anymore.

Posted by: nodebris | February 24, 2009 11:25 AM

The elections results, and the polls show,
that the people want our elected officals to work together, and step away from the normal party lines, to help solve all of
our pressing problems today.
In the speechs tonight, they should put away their idealistic beliefs and to consentrate on the tasks at hand. I believe
that Obama is trying to do just that. But
the republicans, with their bragging about
"goose eggs" and being terrorist to Obama
and the total rejection of the stimulus
plan by most of the G.O.P. goverors is
basically trying to set their selfs up for
the 2010 election. They are hoping that the stimulus plan has not helped us out
enough, by the 2010 elections, so they can
say, i told you so, and you should have voted for us. So the republican party is
going to be agaist everything, but lower taxes for the rich, and not vote for any-thing. They are so worried about regaining
seats back in both houses, that they have
decided, to not work at solving the problems we face today. Can you remember
any idea the republicans have had, but lowering taxes for the rich?

Posted by: StevG | February 24, 2009 11:11 AM

Bipartisanship could work when each of the parties and a liberal and conservative wing.

Once upon a time there were liberal Republicans (Rocky, Javits), moderate Republicans (Dirksen) and conservative republicans (Barry G.) There were liberal Dems, (Hubert H.) and "conservative" segregationist Dems (Wallace, Thurmond).

Bipartisanship hasn't really worked since the GOP drove their liberal/moderates out and the Dems drove out their segregationists. Each group mostly wound up in the other party.

Bipartisanship reached its zenith when the Civil Rights bill was filibustered by segregationist Dems and conservative republicans. The cloture vote and eventual passage of the bill for Lyndon Johnson was lead by Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois and the moderate/liberal wing of the GOP and liberal Dems.....opposed by Southern Dems and......Barry G.

....and that is how we got to where we are today.

Posted by: toritto | February 24, 2009 10:13 AM

There can be no fiscal responsibility when American bread-earners are unjustly "targeted" and destroyed by "multi-agency action programs of personal destruction."


ATTENTION: DHS SEC. NAPOLITANO, ATTY. GEN. ERIC HOLDER / DHS/DOJ EXEC. STAFF (please forward)

RE: BUSH JUSTICE DEPARTMENT APPROVAL OF RADIATION WEAPONS USE ON U.S. CITIZENS...

...BY ONGOING 'EXTRAJUDICIAL PUNISHMENT NETWORK'

... coordinated multi-agency action "programs of personal destruction" manned by security/intel/revenue agents, local police nationwide, citizen vigilantes fronted by government-funded community policing and anti-terrorism programs.

IT IS DAY 36 OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.

DOMESTIC TORTURE VIA RADIATION WEAPONRY CONTINUES.

FEDERALLY ENABLED COMMUNITY GANG STALKING (DOMESTIC TERRORISM) CONTINUES.

WHAT DO GATES, BRENNAN, BLAIR, MUELLER AND SULLIVAN HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS?

WHAT HAVE THEY TOLD OBAMA, BIDEN, NAPOLITANO, PANETTA, HOLDER, GEITHNER?

TEAM OBAMA AND CONGRESS: STOP THE AMERICAN GENOCIDE.

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-targets-terrorizes-u-s-citizens

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/domestic-torture-radiation-weaponry-americas-horrific-shame

OR (IF LINKS ARE CORRUPTED/DISABLED):

http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | February 24, 2009 9:44 AM

When one of the parties is determined to act like a weirdo fringe party, like the Republicans are now, then yes, bipartisanship is overrated.

Posted by: danconley | February 24, 2009 9:24 AM

I've always thought bipartisanship was overrated. It's a nice talking point, but it isn't reality. And it certainly isn't reality when one of the parties is continually stuck in their own little world, where tax cuts are the panacea for everything from failing banks to male pattern baldness.

Posted by: edwardaggie98 | February 24, 2009 9:13 AM

How long will it take before Republicans realize that the public trusts Obama and really doesn't have any regrets about handing the GOP a landslide loss last November?

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | February 24, 2009 8:23 AM

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