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RIP post-partisanship

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"I think it's safe to say that President Obama has given up on bipartisanship," says Jonathan Cohn, who just watched Obama give his speech in Cleveland. I can see what he means:

A few weeks ago, the Republican leader of the House came here to Cleveland and offered his party's answer to our economic challenges. Now, it would be one thing if he admitted his party's mistakes during the eight years they were in power, and was offering a credible new approach to solving our country's problems.

But that's not what happened. There were no new policies from Mr. Boehner. There were no new ideas. There was just the same philosophy we already tried for the last decade -- the same philosophy that led to this mess in the first place: cut more taxes for millionaires and cut more rules for corporations. Instead of coming together like past generations did to build a better country for our children and grandchildren, their argument is that we should let insurance companies go back to denying care to folks who are sick, and let credit card companies go back to raising rates without any reason. Instead of setting our sights higher, they're asking us to settle for a status quo of stagnant growth, eroding competitiveness, and a shrinking middle class. [...]

Let me give you a few specific examples of our different approaches. This week, I proposed some additional steps to grow the economy and help businesses spur hiring. One of the keys to job creation is to encourage companies to invest more in the United States. But for years, our tax code has actually given billions of dollars in tax breaks that encourage companies to create jobs and profits in other countries.

I want to change that. Instead of tax loopholes that incentivize investment in overseas jobs, I'm proposing a more generous, permanent extension of the tax credit that goes to companies for all the research and innovation they do right here in America. And I'm proposing that all American businesses should be allowed to write off all the investment they do in 2011. This will help small businesses upgrade their plants and equipment, and will encourage large corporations to get off the sidelines and start putting their profits to work in places like Cleveland and Toledo and Dayton.

To most of you, this is just common sense. But not to Mr. Boehner and his allies. For years, Republicans have fought to keep these corporate loopholes open. In fact, when Mr. Boehner was here in Cleveland he attacked us for closing a few of these loopholes -- and using the money to help states like Ohio keep hundreds of thousands of teachers and cops and firefighters on the job. He dismissed these jobs -- teaching our kids, patrolling our streets, rushing into burning buildings -- as quote "government jobs" -- jobs that I guess he thought just weren't worth saving.

I couldn't disagree more. I think teachers and police officers and firefighters are part of what keep America strong. And I think if we're going to give tax breaks to companies, they should go to companies that create jobs in America -- not those that create jobs overseas. That's one difference between the Republican vision and the Democratic vision. And that's what this election is all about.

Let me give you another example. We want to put more Americans back to work rebuilding America -- our roads, railways, and runways. When the housing sector collapsed and the recession hit, one in every four jobs lost were in the construction industry. That's partly why our economic plan has invested in badly needed infrastructure projects over the last nineteen months -- not just roads and bridges, but high-speed railroads and expanded broadband access. Altogether, these are projects that have led to thousands of good, private sector jobs, especially for those in the trades.

Mr. Boehner and the Republicans in Congress said no to these projects. Fought them tooth and nail. Though I should say that didn't stop a lot of them from showing up at the ribbon-cutting ceremonies and trying to take credit. That's always a sight to see.

Full speech below the fold.

Remarks of President Barack Obama on the Economy – As Prepared for Delivery

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Cleveland, Ohio

As Prepared for Delivery—

Good afternoon, Ohio. It’s good to be back.

In the fall of 2008, one of the last rallies of my presidential campaign was here in the Cleveland area. It was a hopeful time, just two days before the election. We knew that if we pulled it off, we’d have the chance to tackle some big and difficult challenges that had been facing this country for a long time.

We also hoped for a chance to get beyond some of the old political divides – between Democrats and Republicans, Red states and Blue states – that had prevented us from making progress. Because although we are proud to be Democrats, we are prouder to be Americans – and we believed that no single party has a monopoly on wisdom.

That’s not to say that the election didn’t expose deep differences between the parties. I ran for President because for much of the last decade, a very specific governing philosophy had reigned about how America should work:

Cut taxes, especially for millionaires and billionaires. Cut regulations for special interests. Cut trade deals even if they didn’t benefit our workers. Cut back on investments in our people and our future – in education and clean energy; in research and technology. The idea was that if we had blind faith in the market; if we let corporations play by their own rules; if we left everyone else to fend for themselves, America would grow and prosper.

For a time, this idea gave us the illusion of prosperity. We saw financial firms and CEOs take in record profits and record bonuses. We saw a housing boom that led to new homeowners and new jobs in construction. Consumers bought more condos and bigger cars and better televisions.

But while all this was happening, the broader economy was becoming weaker. Job growth between 2000 and 2008 was slower than it had been in any economic expansion since World War II – even slower than it’s been over the past year. The wages and incomes of middle-class families kept falling while the cost of everything from tuition to health care kept rising. Folks were forced to put more debt on their credit cards and borrow against homes that many couldn’t afford in the first place. Meanwhile, a failure to pay for two wars and two tax cuts for the wealthy helped turn a record surplus into a record deficit.

I ran for President because I believed that this kind of economy was unsustainable – for the middle-class and for our nation’s future. I ran because I had a different idea about how America was built – an idea rooted in my own family’s story.

You see, Michelle and I are where we are today because even though our families didn’t have much, they worked tirelessly – without complaint – so that we might have a better life. My grandfather marched off to Europe in World War II and my grandmother worked in factories on the home front. I had a single mom who put herself through school, and would wake before dawn to make sure I got a decent education. Michelle can still remember her father heading out to his job as a city worker long after Multiple Sclerosis had made it impossible for him to walk without crutches.

Yes, our families believed in the American values of self-reliance and individual responsibility, and they instilled those values in their children. But they also believed in a country that rewards responsibility. A country that rewards hard work. A country built upon the promise of opportunity and upward mobility.

They believed in an America that gave my grandfather the chance to go to college because of the GI Bill. An America that gave my grandparents the chance to buy a home because of the Federal Housing Authority. An America that gave their children and grandchildren the chance to fulfill our dreams thanks to college loans and college scholarships.

It was an America where you didn’t buy things you couldn’t afford; where we didn’t just think about today – we thought about tomorrow. An America that took pride in the goods it made, not just in the things it consumed. An America where a rising tide really did lift all boats, from the company CEO to the guy on the assembly line.

That’s the America I believe in. That’s what led me to work in the shadow of a shuttered steel plant on the South Side of Chicago when I was a community organizer. It’s what led me to fight for factory workers at manufacturing plants that were closing across Illinois when I was a Senator. It’s what led me to run for President – because I don’t believe we can have a strong and growing economy without a strong and growing middle-class.

Now, much has happened since that election. The flawed policies and economic weaknesses of the previous decade culminated in the worst recession of our lifetimes. My hope was that the crisis would cause everyone, Democrats and Republicans, to pull together and tackle our problems in a practical way. But as we all know, things didn’t work out that way.

Some Republican leaders figured it was smart politics to sit on the sidelines and let Democrats solve the mess. Others believed on principle that government shouldn’t meddle in the markets, even when the markets were broken. But with the nation losing nearly 800,000 jobs the month I was sworn in, my most urgent task was to stop a financial meltdown and prevent this recession from becoming a second depression.

We’ve done that. The economy is growing again. The financial markets have stabilized. The private sector has created jobs for the last eight months in a row. And there are roughly three million Americans who are working today because of the economic plan we put in place.

But the truth is, progress has been painfully slow. Millions of jobs were lost before our policies even had a chance to take effect – a hole so deep that even though we’ve added jobs again, millions of Americans remain unemployed. Hundreds of thousands of families have lost their homes; millions more can barely pay the bills or make the mortgage. The middle-class is still treading water, while those aspiring to reach the middle class are doing everything they can to keep from drowning.

Meanwhile, some of the very steps that were necessary to save the economy – like temporarily supporting the banks and the auto industry – fed the perception that Washington is still ignoring the middle class in favor of special interests.

And so people are frustrated and angry and anxious about the future. I understand that. I also understand that in a political campaign, the easiest thing for the other side to do is ride this fear and anger all the way to Election Day.

That’s what’s happening right now. A few weeks ago, the Republican leader of the House came here to Cleveland and offered his party’s answer to our economic challenges. Now, it would be one thing if he admitted his party’s mistakes during the eight years they were in power, and was offering a credible new approach to solving our country’s problems.

But that’s not what happened. There were no new policies from Mr. Boehner. There were no new ideas. There was just the same philosophy we already tried for the last decade – the same philosophy that led to this mess in the first place: cut more taxes for millionaires and cut more rules for corporations. Instead of coming together like past generations did to build a better country for our children and grandchildren, their argument is that we should let insurance companies go back to denying care to folks who are sick, and let credit card companies go back to raising rates without any reason. Instead of setting our sights higher, they’re asking us to settle for a status quo of stagnant growth, eroding competitiveness, and a shrinking middle class.

Cleveland – that is not the America I know. That is not the America we believe in. A lot has changed since I came here in those final days of the last election, but what hasn’t is the choice facing this country. It’s still fear versus hope; the past versus the future. It’s still a choice between sliding backward and moving forward. That’s what this election is about. That’s the choice you’ll face in November.

I have a different vision for the future. I’ve never believed that government has all the answers to our problems. I’ve never believed that government’s role is to create jobs or prosperity. I believe it’s the drive and ingenuity of our entrepreneurs, the skill and dedication of our workers, that has made us the wealthiest nation on Earth. I believe it’s the private sector that must be the main engine of our recovery.

I believe government should be lean, it should be efficient, and it should leave people free to make the choices they think are best for themselves and their families, so long as those choices don’t hurt others.

But in the words of the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, I also believe that government should do for the people what they cannot do better for themselves.

That means making long-term investments in this country’s future that individuals and corporations cannot make on their own: investments in education and clean energy; in basic research, technology, and infrastructure

That means making sure corporations live up to their responsibilities to treat consumers fairly and play by the same rules as everyone else; to look out for their workers and create jobs here at home.

And that means providing a hand up for middle-class families – so that if they work hard and meet their responsibilities, they can afford to raise their children, send them to college, see a doctor when they get sick, and retire with dignity and respect.

That’s what we Democrats believe in – a vibrant free market, but one that works for everybody. That’s our vision for a stronger economy and a growing middle-class. And that’s the difference between what we and the Republicans in Congress are offering the American people right now.

Let me give you a few specific examples of our different approaches. This week, I proposed some additional steps to grow the economy and help businesses spur hiring. One of the keys to job creation is to encourage companies to invest more in the United States. But for years, our tax code has actually given billions of dollars in tax breaks that encourage companies to create jobs and profits in other countries.

I want to change that. Instead of tax loopholes that incentivize investment in overseas jobs, I’m proposing a more generous, permanent extension of the tax credit that goes to companies for all the research and innovation they do right here in America. And I’m proposing that all American businesses should be allowed to write off all the investment they do in 2011. This will help small businesses upgrade their plants and equipment, and will encourage large corporations to get off the sidelines and start putting their profits to work in places like Cleveland and Toledo and Dayton.

To most of you, this is just common sense. But not to Mr. Boehner and his allies. For years, Republicans have fought to keep these corporate loopholes open. In fact, when Mr. Boehner was here in Cleveland he attacked us for closing a few of these loopholes – and using the money to help states like Ohio keep hundreds of thousands of teachers and cops and firefighters on the job. He dismissed these jobs – teaching our kids, patrolling our streets, rushing into burning buildings – as quote “government jobs” – jobs that I guess he thought just weren’t worth saving.

I couldn’t disagree more. I think teachers and police officers and firefighters are part of what keep America strong. And I think if we’re going to give tax breaks to companies, they should go to companies that create jobs in America – not those that create jobs overseas. That’s one difference between the Republican vision and the Democratic vision. And that’s what this election is all about.

Let me give you another example. We want to put more Americans back to work rebuilding America – our roads, railways, and runways. When the housing sector collapsed and the recession hit, one in every four jobs lost were in the construction industry. That’s partly why our economic plan has invested in badly needed infrastructure projects over the last nineteen months – not just roads and bridges, but high-speed railroads and expanded broadband access. Altogether, these are projects that have led to thousands of good, private sector jobs, especially for those in the trades.

Mr. Boehner and the Republicans in Congress said no to these projects. Fought them tooth and nail. Though I should say that didn’t stop a lot of them from showing up at the ribbon-cutting ceremonies and trying to take credit. That’s always a sight to see.

Now, there are still thousands of miles of roads, railways, and runways left to repair and improve. And engineers, economists, governors and mayors of every political stripe believe that if we want to compete, we need to rebuild this vital infrastructure. There’s no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains or the most modern airports – we want to put people to work building them right here in America. So this week, I’ve proposed a six year infrastructure plan that would start putting Americans to work right away. But despite the fact that this has traditionally been an issue with bipartisan support, Mr. Boehner has so far said no to infrastructure. That’s bad for America – and that too is what this election is about.

I’ll give you one final example of the differences between us and the Republicans, and that’s on the issue of tax cuts. Under the tax plan passed by the last administration, taxes are scheduled to go up substantially next year. Now, I believe we ought to make the tax cuts for the middle class permanent. These families are the ones who saw their wages and incomes flatline over the last decade – and they deserve a break. And because they are more likely to spend on basic necessities, this will strengthen the economy as a whole.

But the Republican leader of the House doesn’t want to stop there. Make no mistake: he and his party believe we should also give a permanent tax cut to the wealthiest two percent of Americans. With all the other budgetary pressures we have – with all the Republicans’ talk about wanting to shrink the deficit – they would have us borrow $700 billion over the next ten years to give a tax cut of about $100,000 to folks who are already millionaires. These are among the only folks who saw their incomes rise when Republicans were in charge. And these are folks who are less likely to spend the money, which is why economists don’t think tax breaks for the wealthy would do much to boost the economy.

So let me be clear to Mr. Boehner and everyone else: we should not hold middle class tax cuts hostage any longer. We are ready, this week, to give tax cuts to every American making $250,000 or less. For any income over this amount, the tax rates would go back to what they were under President Clinton. This isn’t to punish folks who are better off – it’s because we can’t afford the $700 billion price tag. And for those who claim that this is bad for growth and bad for small businesses, let me remind you that with those tax rates in place, this country created 22 million jobs, raised incomes, and had the largest surplus in history.

In fact, if the Republican leadership in Congress really wants to help small businesses, they’ll stop using legislative maneuvers to block an up-or-down vote on a small business jobs bill that’s before the Senate right now. This is a bill that would do two things: cut taxes for small businesses and make loans more available for small businesses. It is fully paid for, and it was written by Democrats and Republicans. And yet, the other party continues to block this jobs bill – a delay that small business owners have said is actually leading them to put off hiring.

Look, I recognize that most of the Republicans in Congress have said no to just about every policy I’ve proposed since taking office. And on some issues, I realize it’s because there are genuine philosophical differences. But on issues like this one, the only reason they’re holding this up is politics, pure and simple. They’re making the same calculation they made just before the inauguration: if I fail, they win. Well, they might think this will get them where they need to go in November, but it won’t get our country where it needs to go in the long run.

So that’s the choice, Ohio. Do we return to the same failed policies that ran our economy into a ditch, or do we keep moving forward with policies that are slowly pulling us out? Do we settle for a slow decline, or do we reach for an America with a growing economy and a thriving middle-class?

That’s the America we see. We may not be there yet, but we know where this country needs to go.

We see a future where we invest in American innovation and American ingenuity; where we export more goods so we create more jobs here at home; where we make it easier to start a business or patent an invention; where we build a homegrown, clean energy industry – because I don’t want to see new solar panels or electric cars or advanced batteries manufactured in Europe or Asia. I want to see them made right here in America, by American workers.

We see an America where every citizen has the skills and training to compete with any worker in the world. That’s why we’ve set a goal to once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. That’s why we’re revitalizing our community colleges, and reforming our education system based on what works for our children – not what perpetuates the status quo.

We see an America where a growing middle-class is the beating heart of a growing economy. That’s why I kept my campaign promise and gave a middle-class tax cut to 95% of working Americans. That’s why we passed health insurance reform that stops insurance companies from jacking up your premiums at will or denying you coverage just because you get sick. That’s why we passed financial reform that will end taxpayer-funded bailouts; reform that will stop credit card companies and mortgage lenders and Wall Street banks from taking advantage of taxpayers and consumers.

That’s why we’re trying to make it easier for workers to save for retirement, and fighting the efforts of some in the other party to privatize Social Security – because as long as I’m President, no one is going to take the retirement savings of a generation of Americans and hand it over to Wall Street.

That’s why we’re fighting to extend the child tax credit, and make permanent our new college tax credit. Because if we do, it will mean $10,000 in tuition relief for each child going to four years of college.

And finally, we see an America where we refuse to pass on the debt we inherited to the next generation.

Now, let me spend a minute on this issue, because we’ve heard a lot of moralizing on the other side about it. Along with tax cuts for the wealthy, the other party’s main economic proposal is that they’ll stop government spending.

Of course, they are right to be concerned about the long-term deficit – if we don’t get a handle on it soon, it can endanger our future. And at a time when folks are tightening their belts at home, I understand why a lot of Americans feel it’s time for government to show some discipline too.

But let’s look at the facts. When these same Republicans – including Mr. Boehner – were in charge, the number of earmarks and pet projects went up, not down. These same Republicans turned a record surplus that Bill Clinton left into a record deficit. Just this year, these same Republicans voted against a bipartisan fiscal commission that they themselves proposed. And when you ask them what programs they’d actually cut, they usually don’t have an answer.

That’s not fiscal responsibility. That’s not a serious plan to govern.

I’ll be honest – I refuse to cut back on those investments that will grow our economy in the future – investments in areas like education and clean energy and technology. That’s because economic growth is the single best way to bring down the deficit – and we need these investments to grow. But I am absolutely committed to fiscal responsibility, which is why I’ve already proposed freezing all discretionary spending unrelated to national security for the next three years. And once the bipartisan fiscal commission finishes its work, I will spend the next year making the tough choices necessary to further reduce our deficit and lower our debt.

Of course, reducing the deficit won’t be easy. Making up for the 8 million lost jobs caused by this recession won’t happen overnight. Not everything we’ve done over the last two years has worked as quickly as we had hoped, and I am keenly aware that not all our policies have been popular.

So no, our job is not easy. But you didn’t elect me to do what’s easy. You didn’t elect me to just read the polls and figure out how to keep myself in office. You didn’t elect me to avoid big problems. You elected me to do what’s right. And as long as I’m President, that’s exactly what I’ll do.

This country is emerging from an incredibly difficult period in its history – an era of irresponsibility that stretched from Wall Street to Washington and had a devastating effect on a lot of people. We have started turning the corner on that era, but part of moving forward is returning to the time-honored values that built this country: hard work and self-reliance; responsibility for ourselves, but also responsibility for one another. It’s about moving from an attitude that said “What’s in it for me” to one that asks, “What’s best for America? What’s best for all our workers? What’s best for all our businesses? What’s best for our children?”

These values aren’t Democratic or Republican. They aren’t conservative or liberal values. They’re American values. As Democrats, we take pride in what our party has accomplished over the last century: Social Security and the minimum wage; the GI Bill and Medicare; Civil Rights and worker’s rights and women’s rights. But we also recognize that throughout history, there has been a noble Republican vision as well, of what this country can be. It was the vision of Abraham Lincoln, who set up the first land grant colleges and launched the transcontinental railroad; the vision of Teddy Roosevelt, who used the power of government to break up monopolies; the vision of Dwight Eisenhower, who helped build the Interstate Highway System. And yes, the vision of Ronald Reagan, who despite his aversion to government, was willing to help save Social Security for future generations.

These were serious leaders for serious times. They were great politicians, but they didn’t spend all their time playing games or scoring points. They didn’t always prey on people’s fears and anxieties. They made mistakes, but they did what they thought was in the best interest of their country and its people.

That’s what the American people expect of us today – Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. That’s the debate they deserve. That’s the leadership we owe them.

I know that folks are worried about the future. I know there’s still a lot of hurt out here. And when times are tough, I know it can be tempting to give in to cynicism and fear; to doubt and division – to set our sights lower and settle for something less.

But that is not who we are, Ohio. Those are not the values that built this country. We are here today because in the worst of times, the people who came before us brought out the best in America. Because our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents were willing to work and sacrifice for us. They were willing to take great risks, and face great hardship, and reach for a future that would give us the chance at a better life. They knew that this country is greater than the sum of its parts – that America is not about the ambitions of any one individual, but the aspirations of an entire people and an entire nation.

That’s who we are. That is our legacy. And I’m convinced that if we’re willing to summon those values today; if we’re willing again to choose hope over fear; to choose the future over the past; to come together once more around the great project of national renewal, then we will restore our economy; rebuild our middle-class; and reclaim the American Dream for the next generation.

Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

By Ezra Klein  |  September 8, 2010; 3:32 PM ET
 
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Comments

refresh my memory please Ezra. When exactly wasn't the administration and its minions bashing insurance companies and other like businesses that they disagreed with? And then to have the audacity to come out and ask them to implement HCR's positive points earlier than required to make them look good. And many of them (insurance companies at least) did it. And then when the costs are increasing (partially because of that) the heated rhetoric starts again from Nancy Ann Deparle yesterday. I'd say on this front you missed your timelines by about 18 months or so.

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 8, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

RIP post-partisanship, and good riddance. About time the Democrats stoped ceding the field to the right-wing commentariat and Fox News and talk radio. Good work Mr. President.
Now if we could just get the pundits to do their jobs. Howard Fineman, are you there?

Posted by: ostrogoth | September 8, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

It's true that Americans have given up on any hope that the current regime will explore the sort of bipartisanship necessary to get the nation back on track. The good news is that there's an election coming up, so those who are fed up with the Obama/Pelosi regime can vote for change.

As the President says, "America is not about the ambitions of any one individual, but the aspirations of an entire people and an entire nation." So, come November, it probably is time to reject the ideas of the self-serving fringe of malcontents who voted for the PPACA. Isn't that the point he was making??

Posted by: rmgregory | September 8, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Better late than never, I suppose. I wish he had not wasted 2009 looking for a 'bi-partisan' approach to health care reform. By the end of April 2009 it was obvious that there would be none!

Posted by: AMviennaVA | September 8, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Finally.
Trying to reach bi-partisanship with the Rs was a waste of time since "bi-partisanship" for the Rs means "you do whatever we want and then we still won't vote for your bill".

Posted by: vintagejulie | September 8, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

When the house/senate are divided, which party wins when the gov't fails to deliver income growth?

The party of the president? Or the opposition party?

My gut tells me the opposition party wins, but I don't have data. If the opposition wins when the gov't doesn't deliver income growth, I expect at least 2 more years or obstruction--then a republican president, then inevitable bankruptcy.

Who knows, maybe the republican party will have an intellectual revolution before 2012, but I won't hold my breath.

Posted by: will12 | September 8, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Good thing he did, since he's absolutely correct that he has no partner on the other side of the table. He proposes ideas that the GOP has advocated and they oppose them even though they are paid for, just because Obama opposes them. I almost think if he came out for extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich the GOP would oppose it.

Kind of reminds me of Bush wanting to do everything opposite from the way Clinton did. So when Richard Clarke and others came to him with warnings about the new threat from al Qaeda that had emerged at the end of the Clinton Administration he blew them off because they were Clinton people.

Posted by: Mimikatz | September 8, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Dear rmgregory....

Why aren't you sharing your mind altering substances with the rest of us? I mean, not 3 posts above me you claim that:

"It's true that Americans have given up on any hope that the current regime will explore the sort of bipartisanship necessary to get the nation back on track."

David Broder could have said that. Just like David Broder though, you never identify where Republicans have shown a willingness to compromise on. Why is that? Is it perhaps because Republicans haven't been willing to compromise on anything?

Let's look at the current Bush Tax Cut that President Obama is trying to extend for 98% of Americans. 98%. Republicans are saying that unless the top 2% also gets what they had been getting (which was half the tax cut) they will fight the other 98% of Americans from getting any further tax cut. So, their version of 'compromise' is to get everything they want.

That isn't compromise. That isn't bipartisan. So please, stop blaming the Democratic party and President Obama for not being willing to compromise. Obviously, you and several leading Republicans have no idea what the word actually means.

Me....I'm voting Democratic.

Posted by: kindness1 | September 8, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

The general election in 55 days. Democratic voters are said to be dispirited and unenthused. Naturally the President is going to be partisan in his stump speeches to rally the troops. He has to give Democrats and independents reasons to vote (D) and/or reasons to not vote (R).

Then revert back to the bipartisan schtick on Nov. 3.

Posted by: tuber | September 8, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

God please let this be the beginning of a pugnacious Democratic pushback against Republican legislative stonewalling, finally putting blame where it belongs. And let it also be a recognition that compromise with Republicans only enables their stonewalling.

Though judging by healthcare, the stimulus, and cap-and-trade, it will probably be half the pushback it needs to be, and will come to late.

Posted by: heresiarch | September 8, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

We're roughly two months away from a major election; of course the bipartisan talk is diminished. After the election I'm sure there will be a renewed interest, in speeches at least, from both sides in bipartisanship.

Posted by: MosBen | September 8, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Just a reminder-- all of Obama's legislative accomplishments have been bipartisan actions between the Democrats and the Independent Senators Sanders and Lieberman. See? Bipartisanship!

Tri-partisanship, on the other hand, sounds difficult.

Posted by: mschol17 | September 8, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure there are quite a few people who are asking to themselves when, exactly, has Obama been bipartisan? When has he ever tried to reach out to the other side?

(I know that liberals and Democrats believe that people who think like this are stupid rubes brainwashed by Fox News but a lot of people aren't seeing it).

Posted by: bbface21 | September 8, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that Cohn (and you) are calling Obama's actions as a give-up on bipartisanship, but that seems very premature to me.

His speech in Milwaukee:
http://cspan.org/Watch/Media/2010/09/08/HP/R/37887/President+Promises+Business+Tax+Breaks.aspx

was great, but it was before a union audiance.

Today's speech in Ohio:
http://cspan.org/Watch/Media/2010/09/08/HP/R/37869/President+Promises+Business+Tax+Breaks.aspx

was (or could be) perceived as somehow drawing the line and setting the stage for a more vigorous Democratic/Independent resistance to Republican 'No' Nothingism.

I was slightly that, but parsing the words more carefully reveals that Obama is not prepared to take on the power interests based on a more progressive vision. I won't belabor that point, since I would take an essay to demonstrate the basic avoidance of hard words to describe hard facts. (For instance, how do the millions without work get back to work that no longer exists because of global outsourcing.)

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | September 8, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

The man is trying to find a way to extend most of the Bush tax cuts that he maligned his entire campaign and first 18 months in office and rename them the Obama tax cuts. Well, why not? He's claiming credit for Bush's surge and SOF agreement, why not Bush's tax cuts?

You know your administration is in trouble when the best you can do is pat yourself on the back for all of the initiatives your predecessor dragged you kicking and screaming into.....


Posted by: bgmma50 | September 8, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

as long as BO had his Dim Supermajority BO had NO INTENTION of being Bipartisan, same thing with Pelosi and Reid.
The only times the Repubs were mentioned were when BO wanted to slam them for something, anything he felt he wanted to do!

having one party in charge of everything, for the very first time, is an experiment that has FAILED miserably. and WE are paying a huge price for BO's incompetence and narcissism.

Posted by: morphy | September 9, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

@bgmma50: Uh, no. Obama campaigned on the idea of making the tax cuts permanent for people making less than $250,000, and now he's trying to fulfill that campaign promise. Republicans are opposing this (of course), so Obama is talking about it in order to put pressure on Republicans. I expect the Republicans will fold, but if they don't, you can expect to hear a lot more about how Republicans are blocking tax cuts for the middle class between now and election day.

Posted by: KennethAlmquist | September 9, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

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