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Rahm: I never believed in bipartisanship

By Greg Sargent

Is the left's enduring caricature of Rahm Emanuel -- as the primary advocate for the White House's futile and self-damaging quest for bipartisanship -- all wrong?

In a new book, Rahm claims he privately argued to Obama that he shouldn't pursue bipartisan support for health reform, because it would take too much time, instead insisting that the lesson of Clinton's failure to pass reform was that it was imperative to put a premium on getting it done quickly. That cuts strongly against the image of Rahm as the chief internal advocate of the White House's strategy of deal-making and accommodation with Republicans.

Rahm makes the claim in interviews with journalist Richard Wolffe, in his new book, "Revival: The Struggle for Survival Inside the Obama White House," which was released today. From page 102:

Unlike his boss, Emanuel wasn't interested in looking reasonable with Republicans; he wanted to look victorious. He didn't care much for uniting red and blue America; he wanted blue America to beat its red rival...

Obama was prepared to sacrifice time and political capital to make his policy bipartisan and more ambitious; Emanuel believed Obama did not have that luxury. "Time is your commodity. That answers everything," Emanuel said. "But a lot of us thought we didn't have the amount of time that was being dedicated. If you abandon the bipartisan talks you get blamed. He still wanted to try to achieve it that way. But that's one of a series of things you can look back on and be a genius about.

"My job as chief of staff is to give him 180-degree advice. He hired me, as he asked, to learn from the past, or to use my knowledge from my time in Congress and in the Clinton administration. Watching '94, watching '97 when we did kids' health care, and then studying Medicare, what were the lessons? The lesson about time as a commodity is not mine, it's Lyndon Johnson's. You got X amount of time; you gotta use it."

The decision to waste time chasing bipartisan support for health reform was clearly one of the mistakes that led to health care being such a big political liability for Dems. It extended the whole mess by months and months, which gave opponents more time to demagogue the bill and scare voters and helped turn the public against the process. Rahm seems to be suggesting here that he foresaw something like this happening, and argued against the futile quest for bipartisan support, which is certainly not the view of his legacy in the White House that has endured.

UPDATE, 2:41 p.m.: Another fascinating revelation from the book details how futile it was for Obama to pursue Chuck Grassley's support.

By Greg Sargent  | November 16, 2010; 1:02 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, Health reform  
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Comments

Well now, that doesn't match up with some of the earlier reports from an excellent news source called "The Plum Line"

~~~~

Rahm Emanuel spent nearly a week in the summer of 2009 aggressively trying to talk Obama out of moving foward with an ambitious version of health care reform, and by his own admission "begged" him not to do it, a book out next week reports.

The book, Jonathan Alter's The Promise, goes much further than previous accounts in documenting just how opposed Rahm was to proceeding with ambitious reform -- something that was widely suspected at the time but never proven in detail. Excerpts of the book were made available in advance of its release next Tuesday.

"I begged him not to do this," Rahm admits to Alter. But according to the book, Obama overrode Rahm's advice, privately taking a bit of shot at Clinton by telling advisers that he hadn't been sent to the White House to do "school uniforms."

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/05/book_rahm_spent_week_aggressiv.html

Posted by: HansSolo | November 16, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Hans Solo, I know but it's not really contradictory.

Rahm initially said let's not do this; when it became apparent that it was happening, he argued against pursuing bipartisan support. Or so he says, anyway.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 16, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

"The decision to pander for 18 months and then cut corrupt bargains to gain Democratic support for health "reform" was clearly the mistake that led to the resulting bill being such a big political liability for Dems."

There, fixed it, hope you don't mind.
[channeling broadwayjoe]

Posted by: shrink2 | November 16, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Greg - True

It just seems that Rahm's, "I want to look victorious," rhetoric is diminished by his, "I want to give in before the fight is even joined," history.

There is logic behind it, if you are feeling charitable. Don't pick, according to this line of thought, a fight unless you are absolutely committed to seeing it through to victory. This same line of thought does NOT lend itself to bipartisanship. I guess this really isn't surprising; it dovetails nicely into Rahm's preexisting narrative as a political fighter.

Posted by: HansSolo | November 16, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

"In a new book, Rahm claims he privately argued to Obama that he shouldn't pursue bipartisan support for health reform,"

-----------------------------------------
Gee, that was hard to figure out. Undoubtedly the reason Obumbler REFUSED to meet with the Repub leadership to even HEAR their views on HC for the 1st 9 months while at the same time, lying about wanting to be bipartisan.

Oh well. The Obumbler is a one termer.

Posted by: illogicbuster | November 16, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Spot on quote from Rahm re: LBJ. In fact, I recently read a quote from possibly Moyers or Valenti that Johnson said basically: "we have very little time to do this before the window closes." (quotes are mine). Lyndon might have used more colorful language...

The Democrats lost seats in '66 but were still in the majority.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 16, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, Buster, you are nothing if not illogical. Unobservant, too.

Obama practically begged Republicans to participate, and backed off on many things (remember the public option?) to try to gain their support. They were put on the Gang of Six committee in the Senate (Finance), to give them a larger voice. Obama invited Repubs to come to the White House to discuss it. Still, they refused to participate or to give it a single vote.

Don't count on his being a one-termer.

Posted by: Pamsm | November 16, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

all, stay tuned for more on what B.S. it is that Obama didn't try to reach out to Republicans.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 16, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Rahm can't even get along with his own tenant.


.

Posted by: RedTeaRevolution | November 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Greg

It extended the whole mess by months and months, which gave opponents more time to demagogue the bill and scare voters and helped turn the public against the process.

_______________________


Still clinging to the idea that the bill is a good bill?


.

Posted by: RedTeaRevolution | November 16, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I'll say it again, the dichotomy, Obama can either fight with Republicans or bow and scrape trying to compromise with them is false. In order to change the way business is done in Washington and otherwise make progress, inspiring hope and change, he needed a fundamentally different approach to 'the process' of politics. Specifically with regard to Republicans, he needed to outflank and upstage them. Instead he ignored then bickered, then ignored, then bickered.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 16, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Greg

Let's hear the BS that you claim is BS

,

Posted by: RedTeaRevolution | November 16, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

All, Senator Jeff Merkley endorses holding vote on middle class tax cuts:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/11/breaking_one_dem_senator_endor.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 16, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Well, that explains a lot, including why Rahm left the White House, then again, being that the Dems had the majority the Dems' bills should have passed with no trouble.

Seems like Republicans may have been right about that guy.

Posted by: lindalovejones | November 16, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Greg

Let me be clear:


It is BS that you are claiming that it is BS -


You call that "summit" an honest attempt at compromise?

How about that talk in Baltimore in which Obama tried to lecture the Republicans on camera

How about the day after a meeting with the Republicans, Obama ran to the press room and criticized the Republicans BEFORE they even left the driveway???


Those kinds of things are NOT done if an atmosphere of trust and compromise is to be fostered in order to reach agreements.


Agreements depend on trust.

And agreements are certainly not going to be had if the democrats are going to run around and say how much of a victory it is for Obama, and characterize it as a defeat for the other side -


It is ridiculous to do that.


OK - Greg Let's hear your BS now


.

Posted by: RedTeaRevolution | November 16, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Greg

Let me be clear:


It is BS that you are claiming that it is BS -


You call that "summit" an honest attempt at compromise?

How about that talk in Baltimore in which Obama tried to lecture the Republicans on camera

How about the day after a meeting with the Republicans, Obama ran to the press room and criticized the Republicans BEFORE they even left the driveway???


Those kinds of things are NOT done if an atmosphere of trust and compromise is to be fostered in order to reach agreements.


Agreements depend on trust.

And agreements are certainly not going to be had if the democrats are going to run around and say how much of a victory it is for Obama, and characterize it as a defeat for the other side -


It is ridiculous to do that.


OK - Greg Let's hear your BS now


.

Posted by: RedTeaRevolution | November 16, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

@Greg

One KEY phrase in that quote you posted:

"Obama was prepared to sacrifice time and political capital to make his policy bipartisan and MORE AMBITIOUS; Emanuel believed Obama did not have that luxury."

It wasn't about the amount of time that the progressive left was arguing was the problem. It was the scope of the reform. From what I remember, Rahm was arguing for a smaller reform bill overall. Something that addressed only a handful of health care issues that they could ram through at a quick pace, then claim victory on behalf of "Health Care Reform" and move on.

This wouldn't have sat any better with the left, to see Pres. Obama swept into office with a mandate to change the face of America...only to put forth a HCR bill of extremely limited scope, gets rammed through, and claimed to be a historic victory.

I don't know which approach would have been better in terms of progressive policies. A tight, small bill that is very progressive in easily digestable parts; or a massive overhaul that has some good progressive parts and some terrible conservative ones.

Make no mistake though...in either case it wouldn't have changed the outcome of the mid-terms. The "shalacking" Dems took had everything to do with the economy, and I don't think moving off of HCR would have magically pulled unemployment down to 6% - especially considering how much Congress was able to pass after HCR in terms of small business help, unemployement benifits, and more stimulus spending.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | November 16, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

The only surprise here is that anyone ever believed the claims that Rahm made an effort to be bipartisan.

The Democrats just wanted to be able to claim that the Republicans were obstructing the process.

Posted by: Benson | November 16, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The next thing you know is that Ram doesn't believe in the Republican form of government.

Posted by: leapin | November 16, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I guess this square can become a circle if you one believes Rahm was more afraid of the health care industry than he was of the Republicans. Same result, though: watered down reform.

Posted by: eztempo | November 16, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

There are a vast number of people in this country that despise and loathe this Emanuel guy. Naturally, the Post forgets this fact. Thank God he is not in the White House with this disaster called Obama anymore. Maybe this Emanuel guy will get lost in the south side of Chicago.

Posted by: walterndebby | November 16, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Hey Rahm - guess what - we never believed in YOU or BARRY. What a couple of punks.

Posted by: rvenema | November 16, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

This jerk is the worst thing that could happen to Chicago. He ruined nobama and let the Republicans prove that they are THE PARTY OF KNOW AND THAT THE DEMOCRATS WERE THE PARTY OF NO-GO(AND GONE!).

HE IS THE LAST THING TO LEAD CHICAGO. LET US ALL WORK TO MAKE SURE HE DOES NOT WIN IN CHICAGO. EVEN NOBAMA LIKELY WON'T FIND TIME TO CAMPAIGN FOR HIM THERE.

Posted by: truspeek | November 16, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

This jerk is the worst thing that could happen to Chicago. He ruined nobama and let the Republicans prove that they are THE PARTY OF KNOW AND THAT THE DEMOCRATS WERE THE PARTY OF NO-GO(AND GONE!).

HE IS THE LAST THING TO LEAD CHICAGO. LET US ALL WORK TO MAKE SURE HE DOES NOT WIN IN CHICAGO. EVEN NOBAMA LIKELY WON'T FIND TIME TO CAMPAIGN FOR HIM THERE.

Posted by: truspeek | November 16, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Rahm is a self loathing Jew, who is a puppet of the Jew, Schwartz aka Soros of the same stripe.
The people of Chicago are brain washed!
BEWARE!

Posted by: violetwilson | November 16, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Not exactly breaking news, eh?

Posted by: jasonn13 | November 16, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

People talk about how time was the enemy, because it provided more time for opponents to 'demagogue' the bill.

Rhetoric aside, the fact is that the healthcare bill that we got, and every one that the president proposed, was not what the people wanted.

And the way is was conducted was not how the people wanted it.

In the end, we all felt like the opponent of this administration and that democratic congress is the people, and if we would all just quit opposing our superiors we'd be better off.

There is no room for that kind of arrogance in our government anymore, I hope.

Posted by: daveg70 | November 16, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Not exactly breaking news, eh?

Posted by: jasonn13 | November 16, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

NotoRAHM.COM

They are the only group leading the fight against Rahm in Chicago. The rest of the conservatives are just lying down. Not even a conservative running for Mayor!?

Posted by: sanchez81 | November 16, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like a great campaign slogan for his mayoral campaign: "I don't believe in bipartisanship."

Posted by: NF911 | November 16, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

That's why we liked you Rambo. No BS.

Posted by: pkbishop1 | November 16, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Who needs Saul Alinski when you've got Machiavelli?

Posted by: kcv1 | November 16, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

And when he is elected as mayor of Chicago, he will have a field day, since few if any, Reps are left in the city. Perfect place for him. Sorry Chicago, but you guys deserve him for putting up with corruption from the old man daley on thru to his son. When you are broke and your city more broken then it is presently, maybe you will wake up if it isn't too late....

Posted by: cindinator | November 16, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

What Rahm fails to understand is elections are won by only a few points. There are about 330 million Americans. If you bypass bipartisanship, the 160 million or so that the other party represents is going to be pissed off. One of the many reasons voters find out who the incumbents are and vote against them, regardless of party affiliation. Rahm can steal one Mayor election. After that he will be a one term Mayor with a political career in the toilet. He's very narrow minded.

Posted by: paradisek | November 16, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

What Rahm fails to understand is elections are won by only a few points. There are about 330 million Americans. If you bypass bipartisanship, the 160 million or so that the other party represents is going to be pissed off. One of the many reasons voters find out who the incumbents are and vote against them, regardless of party affiliation. Rahm can steal one Mayor election. After that he will be a one term Mayor with a political career in the toilet. He's very narrow minded.

Posted by: paradisek | November 16, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

I SAID OVER A YEAR AGO THAT TWO MEN WOULD SPELL THE DEMISE OF PRESIDENT OBAMA, NAMELY, RAHM IMMANUEL AND ERIC HOLDER. THE FIRST GOT OUT OF TOWN IN FRONT OF THE SHERIFF AND THE SECOND WILL BE FOUND GUILTY OF OBSTRUCTION IN DUE COURSE.

Posted by: DANSHANTEAL1 | November 16, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, who cares about the majority of this nation who didn't want this socialist nightmare of a bill. We only care about our own side, says this jerk Rahm. These people are absolute poison for the USA. This is unAmerican to the core. Get these people out of our government, all of them. And slam the door behind them when they go. Bunch of cockroaches infesting our country.

Posted by: waitaminute | November 16, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

No,
To Red Tea and other "red-staters", the BS is squarely with you. Bipartisanship does not mean the same thing as nonpartisanship. The President rightly held a "summit" and went to a conference with Republicans in Baltimore, and he let them know where he stood, answered all their questions thoroughly, whether you wish to call him uppity or something else racist and yet, he was still pursued bipartisanship.

Look at how many different Republicans he worked with on the bill. And does anybody else remember how long he worked with Olympia Snowe on that "trigger" mechanism for the bill? 80% of the people out there said they were for a public option.

There are several real reasons why people don't like HCR is because it doesn't do anything substantial about price controls TODAY. It has some nice stuff in it like allowing children to stay on their parents policies until age 26 and people with pre-existing conditions can't be denied coverage and things like that.

80% of people said that they were for a public option, at the time it was being debated. Why do you suppose that was? It wasn't a gov't handout. It's that you don't expect for the gov't to jack up rates and cut coverage the way private insurers do.

Republicans HAVE obstructed when they could, sabotaged bills with bogus amendments when they could, and dragged out legislation when possible, if not flat-out threatened to filibuster it, in both houses of Congress. THOSE ARE THE FACTS. 400+ bills passed in the House under Pelosi, and only a small fraction of that were passed by the Senate, even with a large Democratic majority.

Part of the process was also the problem people had. It wasn't transparent towards the end, even though we'd been through a year of negotiations and sample bills were available online, it wasn't on C-SPAN (who cares about the logistics, it wasn't on there like the Administration said it would be).

But remember how Republicans claimed that it was a GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER. How there were DEATH PANELS. How Obama was TRYING TO KILL GRANDMA. That kind of irresponsible hyperbole is NOT conducive to bipartisanship.

But on the Democratic side, you had them basically use Hatch/Grassley and Bob Dole's bill from 1994 as an answer to "Hillarycare". Those three aren't exactly RINOS, okay? The bill was based on Republican ideas. The mandated payment of premiums... you know the ones that Republicans are trying to call unconstitutional? A REPUBLICAN IDEA.

Obama and the Democrats WASTED A YEAR OF THE DOMESTIC AGENDA chasing bipartisanship in terms of REPUBLICAN VOTES, and they watered down this bill to do it. Nevermind that it actually cuts the deficit over the long term. The fact is, this bill like MANY OTHER BILLS PASSED ON A "PARTISAN" vote the past two years have been BIPARTISAN in spirit, only for Republicans to vote NO as a bloc.

It's been the strategy from the start for them to oppose Obama - no new ideas (no leadership) NOTHING MORE BUT DEADWEIGHT.

Posted by: fbutler1 | November 16, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Gasp! You mean all that crap about "bipartisanship" was all a lie? Who knew?
And the ban on hiring lobbyists? And public trails for terrorists? And closing Gitmo? And C-Span coverage of the "health care debate"? All lies?

Next thing you'll be telling me is that Obama is incompetent! Oh, wait.......

Posted by: GarandFan | November 16, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

"It extended the whole mess by months and months, which gave opponents more time to demagogue the bill and scare voters and helped turn the public against the process."

I don't remember Obamacare supporters being under any sort of gag order during those "months and months," plus they were able to use the taxpayers' nickel to put their version of the story out. Remember how we taxpayers hired Andy Griffith to tell seniors what a great plan it was?

And wasn't there supposed to have been some kind of 'transparency' promise in all that hope and change?

So the argument now is that massive and massively expensive social engineering schemes should be adopted in the dark of night and without opportunity for debate, because those stupid sheeple aka American voters can't be given time to get scared.
Yup. Sounds like a Rahm Emanuel kind of theory of politics.

Posted by: AnJo1 | November 16, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Emanuel is a pompous jerk.
If Chicago elects this guy Mayor, they deserve him.

Posted by: jackwagon | November 16, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

If he doesn't believe in bipartisanship, he should be banned from, and IMMEDIATELY REMOVE HIMSLEF FROM CONSIDERATION FOR, public office because he lacks a clue about the process of a democratic republic. He is showing his true colors for thsoe blind enough not to have gleaned them before. His club buddy and protoge too.

Posted by: mikegoat | November 16, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

The bottom line is, Emanuel's legacy will go down as the architect of the biggest mid-term election shellacking since 1938, a direct rejection of him, the policies he encouraged and the hypocrisy he instilled with the administration.

Posted by: dugger1 | November 16, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

The idiot american public will elect him by land slide.

I need to get out of this nation of morons.

Posted by: docwhocuts | November 16, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama wasn't looking for "bipartisan" support for healthcare, he was searching for BLUE DOG DEMOCRAT support for Obamacare. Obama never needed one single Republican vote to get his way. It was the BLUE DOGS he was courting. So stop with the lies-- Obama isn't and never was bipartisan.

Posted by: Buddy1231 | November 16, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

What kind of advice is: "180 degree" advice? Half circumspect? Half right? The kind that comes at you the wrong way every time? Tail gunner? That's what Rahm thinks his job was as Chief of Staff? Tail gunner?

My God the Democrats already shoved the Obamacare bill down people's throats and you have the guts to say they took the "slow road?"

I don't think any Democrat knows what they're saying or doing any more. Not that they ever did.

Posted by: Extempraneous | November 16, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Emanuel is a pathological liar, like his old boss, Barry. ONLY A FOOL,WELFARE BUM, or ILLEGAL alien would vote for this poster child of dishonesty.....

Posted by: peteto | November 16, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

wow, people like fbutler1 are scary people, and to think they can vote.

Watching MSNBC and reading The Nation doesn't mean you are reading FACTS.

Hilarious that you liberals want to lecture everyone about how opposing an agenda is bad without a plan when that is ALL Democrats did from 2004-2008.

Bush was a true bi-partisan President and the left tore him to pieces for it and the media went along for the ride.

To a left-winger bi-partisan means what Obama said a week before the election. You can come along for the ride but must stay in the back.

Obama is THE MOST PARTISAN President EVER, and if you want to call a meeting held 9 months after he came into office and NOT calling the head of the Republican part of the Senate for 18 months going out of his way to work with Republicans than I guess I am glad I don't have to work with you. You must be a horrible group leader.

Posted by: ExLib | November 16, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Obama took his advise and abandoned a bipartisan solution.

Posted by: dencal26 | November 16, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

So what Rahm is now saying is that they should have voted on it sooner so they would have found out what was in it sooner.

Posted by: spamblocker | November 16, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

The only difference between this bug eyed poison dwarf and a 10lb bag of $#++ is the bag.

Posted by: carlbatey | November 16, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I find it so hard to believe that these two ever even made it to the world stage, much less the most powerful platform of government! They remind me most of Laurel and Hardy. And I don't mean this in a comedic way. I'm serious, they're the action for the reaction of the majority of American peoples contempt for American politics in this day and age! It's not funny but rather sad that we find ourselves in this predicament.

Posted by: ameriapp | November 16, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Are you LISTENING Chicago...this is the man that desires to be your DICTATOR.

He cares naught for the will of the people...the so called RULE OF LAW...the CONSTITUTION. He cares only about HIS insatiable desire to feed his ego.

Sure hope you're ready to GIVE...GIVE...GIVE, because Rahm is ready to TAKE...TAKE...TAKE.

Posted by: twp1 | November 16, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

The author couldn't be more wrong. He acts like the "health care reform" bill was a wonderful bill that got a bad rap because of Republicans "demagoguery" and that all the infighting was from democrats fighting and paying each other off for votes.
If the Post or any other "mainstream" media outlet (e.g. arm of the DNC) would have spent even a small amount of time actually analyzing and reading what could be read of the bill they would have found plenty of reasons to point out this was a 2000 page monstrosity.
Instead, people like this guy were too busy engaging in demagoguery against Republicans (who were virtually powerless to stop any of it) to pay attention to the actual FACTS of the bill.
Next time there's some major legislation TRY READING IT instead of DNC talking points.

Posted by: albertg3 | November 16, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

you mean- a crisis is a terrible thing to waste- Rahm? you mean- the thumb your nose at the out going administration- Rahm? You mean the- get naked in the shower to pressure representatives for votes-Rahm. Is that the Rahm you are talking about not believing in bipartisanship? WHO WOULD OF THUNK???

Posted by: lyle2 | November 16, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Pamsm , "Obama practically begged Republicans to participate"
-----------------------------------

Put down the crack pipe. Obumbler REFUSED meetings with Repub leadership on H.C. bill for 8 MONTHS in 2009. Typical lib. You listen to Obumbler's lying lips rather than observe his actions.

Posted by: illogicbuster | November 16, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

It is a lesson that Pelosi has learnt, and unless the rest of the Democrats do in the next six months, they'll continue to lose.

You are elected because of the policies you espouse. When you compromise on them, people vote for those who compromised with, and cut out the middle man.

Posted by: HumanSimpleton | November 16, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

you mean- a crisis is a terrible thing to waste- Rahm? you mean- the thumb your nose at the out going administration- Rahm? You mean the- get naked in the shower to pressure representatives for votes-Rahm. Is that the Rahm you are talking about not believing in bipartisanship? WHO WOULD OF THUNK???

Posted by: lyle2 | November 16, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Greg Sargent, "all, stay tuned for more on what B.S. it is that Obama didn't try to reach out to Republicans."
-----------------------------------------
So Greg, what EXACTLY don't you understand about Obumbler REFUSING to meet with Repubs throughout most of '09?

Well,? Got a sane answer to that?

Guess not.

Posted by: illogicbuster | November 16, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Well, this reveals what most of us knew all along. Neither the President nor his staff had any intention of pursuing a bipartisan agenda to legislation.

Surprise! That's exactly what we have seen. Obama, Reid, and Pelosi never had any intention of bipartisan negotiations. They neither wanted nor cared about Republican support. They had absolute power and they were determined to corrupt it absolutely.

This administration has been a con game from the start and now we see it from the people who designed it.

Anyone who thought that the tea party was going to fade away after 2010 needs their head examined. I was pumped for 2010, but I'm more pumped for 2012.

Things can change, but at this point, I think 2010 for the Democrats is going to seem like an overwhelming victory compared to 2012.

Posted by: fmb501 | November 16, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

@fbutler1; You keep referring to "80%" of the voters to substantiate your opinion. Don't you mean, 80% of the 20% of "liberal voters"? I can't believe that you think 80% of the total of American voters disliked Obamacare just because it didn't offer the "public option"! Is that what you're saying?

Posted by: ameriapp | November 16, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

"I never believed in bipartisanship."

How well did that work out for you guys? If you didn't notice, the Democrats got creamed in the mid term elections and the new Republican House won on the promise it would do all it could to erase whatever you passed over the past few years. Unless the political winds shift again the Democrats may lose the Senate and the Presidency in 2012. Great game plan, Fernando.

Posted by: KDG1 | November 16, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

"I never believed in bipartisanship."

How well did that work out for you guys? If you didn't notice, the Democrats got creamed in the mid term elections and the new Republican House won on the promise it would do all it could to erase whatever you passed over the past few years. Unless the political winds shift again the Democrats may lose the Senate and the Presidency in 2012. Great game plan, Fernando.

Posted by: KDG1 | November 16, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

You need to understand one essential thing about Rahm. He excelled at dance and was awarded a scholarship to Joffrey. That's not sissy, it's seriously cut throat. Few people make it to this level without being not only exceptionally good, but exceptionally focused and almost shockingly competitive. You have to deal with people who are incredibly shallow ("You don't have the right face/body shape for this company") and be willing to step on and over your fellow dancers to get to your goal.

I had two daughters in ballet for decades. It's viciously competitive.

All of which made Michael Moore's comment about taking off the pink tutus, really funny. Dude, those ballet girls would carve you up in a New York minute.

.


Posted by: missyb1 | November 16, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh, hogwash. You pulled the public option off the table and let the Republican opposition circulate myths and lies and fear while no one knew what you were putting on the table and what you came up with, only an insurance company could love and then it doesn't implement until no one will be able to remember who passed it. Meanwhile, my premiums keep going up and my coverage keeps shrinking.

Posted by: SarahBB | November 16, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Hay Chicago
is this really who you want in charge of your city? i sure hope you are smarer than that. think about it!

Posted by: philabias | November 16, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Hay Chicago
is this really who you want in charge of your city? i sure hope you are smarter than that. think about it!

Posted by: philabias | November 16, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

It is a sure sign of a failing presidency when the rats shove the boss overboard. Rahm, the magnificent, is stabbing his finger in the air, proclaiming to Chicago, "I'm really anti-red state." Lovely. I haven't noticed any bi-partisan elements in Obama so far, just incompetent Marxist policy failures.

Posted by: betspotter | November 16, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Only a fool would believe anything this man says.

Posted by: Dutra1 | November 16, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Emanuel's book should be titled, "The Presidency for Dummies"

Posted by: id1386 | November 16, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

You have to be a kook beyond the comprehension of anyone normal to believe that obama has been too "bipartisan".

Posted by: standard_guy | November 16, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm scratching my head in disbelief, this administration hasn't sought bipartisanship. The only reason the president took so long in building support for his health care plan was in building support among democrats. Remember the Obama quote to republicans, "We won, get over it."

Regarding this issue, the president's administration decided it would be a good idea to create town hall forums where democrats could take their message directly to the people, and then pass their overhaul regardless of the outcome.

The town halls backfired, the American people rejected Obama-care in overwhelming fashion (creating the Tea Party Movement), but the president ignored the American people too -- to his own detriment -- and then democrats paid for it at the polls.

Don't blame Rahm, blame the boss.

Posted by: mvignali | November 16, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't believe in bipartisanship, eh?
He's perfect for mayor of Chicago then, where there's been 1 party dictatorship for the last 40 years or more (and it shows).

Posted by: Think_About_It_More | November 17, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Sargent is presenting a fictional account of events. No "bipartisanship" was ever sought on health care. That's not what democrats were doing. The reason is took so long is because they couldn't get their own caucus to agree. At no point did they ever sincerely attempt to bring republicans into the process.

Posted by: bgarst | November 17, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Hey "BS'ers" & Sargent,...it's one thing to want to appear to be "bi-partisan," and quite another to actually achieve it, especially with his mono-party Obummer-care horror, rammed through via corrupting the system he promised to "change!" Obummer is an incompetent hoax headed for a worse disaster than Carter's! Get REAL...

Posted by: stsquires | November 17, 2010 1:29 AM | Report abuse

The disastrous Obamacare bill is just one of the many dismal failures of the most hyperpartisan, hypocritical, arrogant, incompetent, and destructive administrations in US history. To those who have paid close attention in horror as Obama lurched from blunder to blunder, battering the economy, destroying the Democrats and becoming a lame duck after only 2 years, it also highlights the complete loss of trust that Americans have in the mainstream media, who shamelessly abdicated their duty to scrutinize and objectively critique the president's performance, not to mention his appalling history. Now it's a little late.

Posted by: beck2448 | November 17, 2010 3:08 AM | Report abuse

The Vulgar Imp will say anything that suits him at the time. A more disgusting, vulgar creature was never spawned. The Vulgar Imp is Ipartisan and always will be only about how much he can get free from others.

Posted by: conbuenafe | November 17, 2010 4:06 AM | Report abuse

PANSM WROTE- Obama invited Repubs to come to the White House to discuss it. Still, they refused to participate or to give it a single vote.

*******************************************

Typical liberal lie and a good example of why the entire Nation has rejected these people.

The facts are that not ONCE did Obama invite or agree to meet with any Republican regarding their input on this disastrous legislation. Further more the Democrats SHUT OUT the Republicans while the bill was being drawn up in the House.

Posted by: jjv4012 | November 17, 2010 5:15 AM | Report abuse

Democrats are idiots!

Posted by: shammy00 | November 17, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Actually the nightmare called health care reform which the Obama Administration put forth - is anything but reform - unless reform is defined as disaster. Where is there a group of 'billiant' people - on the face of this earth - that could add some 30 million people to an insurance program -(the entire population of England where the population lives with socialized medicine is 60m)some with pre-existing conditions - and LOWER the cost of insurance. Obama and his crew knew this was only one step towards socialized medicine. Progressives do not understand -THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS DO NOT WANT TO LIVE IN SOCIALISTIC COUNTRY. The entire Obama Administration lived and lives in an alternate universe.

Posted by: raltiere | November 17, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Chasing bipartisan support provided time and opportunity for citizens to question and contact their congress members about a law they hated.

I had only wished Senator Harry Reid would not have set a pre-Christmas break deadline on the Senate vote. Had the Senators had to face their constituents over break they never would have had the 60 votes to pass the terrible bill.

But, alas, Democrats side with the liberal elites. Progressives know best. Citizens mean nothing to them. Political discourse is something you fake and ignore. Central government knows best.

Posted by: cprferry | November 17, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

So the administration DELIBERATELY pursued an agenda that will (unless repealed) eventually result in a complete government takeover of health care DESPITE the knowledge that support for the agenda was shaky and extremely partisan - not just in Congress, but outside the Beltway as well.

Social Security and Medicare both enjoyed widespread support across party lines when they were enacted. Obama and Emmanuel knew they had a pig on their hands and decided to not even bother to put lipstick on it to get widespread support. They crammed it down the our collective throat, telling us that eventually, a grateful nation would see how wise they were in making us swallow it.

Posted by: gilbertbp | November 17, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

What the HCR bill showed the American people...Your voice mean nothing we won shut up they not only told the repubs this they told the country! From that day on all eyes were on you and it never sunk in did it. I'd take bets it still has not sunk in. We blame ALL dems and showed it across this country on election day. Not only in DC but every job that was up for the vote. Obama Biden Clinton all campaigned for the dems in my state, pretty dumb for the dems my state went all red from state legislature governor and senate and congress did you hear us yet dems??? NOPE

Posted by: independent31 | November 17, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Not that the WP would even allow this comment...but *maybe*

Rahm and President OBummer are two of a kind...bullies, foul-mouthed hard headed "my way or the highway!" types...
two street punks, without a shred of qualifications, knowledge, experience, or the slightest concern for the Constitution and what how to avoid violating it.

The USA became Cuba once OBummer decided he was entitled to amend and/or void contracts to suit his own ends...

I myself was at the time contracted out to one of the giant financial firms to raise revenues, my salary was fixed but I also received a bonus based upon the percentage of gains which were the result of the plans I put into effect. My bonus exceeded my salary by 150%, and so I fell into the trough of potentail "claw-backs" decided by the OBummer Administration.

I received a demand letter from both the Company and the Government with an amount I was instructed to pay, according to the GOV calculations.

I had my attorney respond that I would not submit to this scam, and would not return one single nickel to these bums. We then filed a countersuit based upon breach of contract, and added a criminal complaint centered around the fraud and conspiracy laws. We never heard from these thieves again, and I kept every cent of what I'd been paid, as well as deducting my legal fees for tax purposes.

I cannot but keep faith...we survived the idiot Carter, the War Criminal Johnson, the Poltroon Clinton, and now the Communist OBama. To refer to Obummer as a Socialist is an insult to true Socialists everywhere. This bum is a flat-out, straight ahead Communist but we will survive his incompetence and stupidity and emerge knowing more about those for whom we SHOULD NOT ever vote

I realize that the Blacks in the USA will support this fool no matter what, but an interesting experience I had a few days ago...a Black woman loudly accused me of "hating" Blacks...(I had made a comment to another person standing close by which this slob overheard.)

I pretty loudly retorted "It is certainly not Black people I might hate...it is simply stupid people, whatever color they might be...and the President is unutterably stupid, uninformed, and ignorant of any true feeling among the vast majority of Americans.

Let me tell you, the thirty people or so who were in earshot of this rebuke began applauding loudly, whistling and making supportive comments...at which point the Black Heftybag woman departed in a huff. I must've gotten five or ten pats on the back from these standing-around folks.

I, like many Americans, have fought in combat and bled for my Country and I have the utmost respect for the Office of the Presidency...but not a scratch of respect for this racist fool of a President.

By the Grace of God we'll survive this moron and be the better for it. He will go down as the worst President in not just living memory, but in the entire history of the USA.

We're NOT Communists, "Dude..." Go Away.

Posted by: GLondon | November 17, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Oh, excuse the extension...but the "Chicago Way..." amounts to a pile of horse droppings...

I was born in New York City, and neither of these two asswits would survive for 10 minutes in "my* old neighborhood...

Emmanuel should unpack his tutu and continue his simpering ballet career...and OBummer....well, who cares what he does as long as he's out of the Public eye, no longer befouls my television, and vanishes into the "dustbin of History" along with the rest of the Communists.

God, whatever His or Her name really is...Bless the United States of America and all those who believe in the tenets of the Founding Fathers.

Posted by: GLondon | November 17, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

What?? Rahm "Rahmbo" "Dead Fish" "Creepy Ballerina" Emanuel *wasn't* an advocate of bipartisanship?? Are libby libs really this oblivious?

Posted by: kbarker302 | November 17, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

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