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President Obama still wants to work with Republicans

One of the "New Rules" that Bill Maher, host of "Real Time with Bill Maher" on HBO, issued last Friday exemplified the new-found giddiness of Democrats. "You can't use the statement 'there will be no cooperation for the rest of the year' as a threat if there was no cooperation in the first half of the year." I can't argue with that -- and didn't as I sat about a foot away from Maher as a roundtable guest on the program. But then he added this, "Here's a word the president should take out of his teleprompter: bipartisanship. People only care about that in theory, not in practice." I'm not one of those people.

Good governing requires reaching out to the other side (however defined) and incorporating their good ideas when warranted. It also requires understanding when to draw the line at compromise and when to forge ahead despite opposition from the other side. President Obama has always been clear about his desire for bipartisanship, which he reiterated this morning to Matt Lauer. "What I’ve tried to say throughout is, I will continue to reach out to Republicans," Obama said. I will continue to incorporate their ideas even when they don’t vote for the ideas that I’ve presented."

But Obama also made it clear that he wouldn't be made a chump. "What I’m not going to be dissuaded from is us going ahead taking on these big challenges that are critical in terms of America’s long-term economic health,” he said. That would be in keeping with the second part of Maher's comment about the president. Referring to Obama's big health-care win, Maher said, "The best thing that's happened this year is when President Obama finally... said, 'Kiss my black ass, we're going it alone, George W. Bush style.'" And that would be reasonable only after sincere attempts at bipartisanship have failed.

By Jonathan Capehart  | March 30, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

From your article:
"I will continue to incorporate their ideas even when they don’t vote for the ideas that I’ve presented."

I'd love to know what is in the water some of your drink? He and the House and senate don't wish to be bipartisan at all. They want to look it when it is beneficial to them but their actions fly in the face of their rhetoric. They didn't need republicans before, yet they still couldn't get their own party together to make progress and blamed the minority party who if they didn't even show up couldn't have stopped them. The name calling from Pelosi and others to other Americans who happen to disagree with their policies shows their disdain for anyone who doesn't fall in lockstep with the democratic positions. They only want you if you already agree with them and no bipartisanship has ever happened on this health bill. Saying you have put republican ideas in when you haven't isn't quite the same as actually doing it. Saying you put in torte reform when you have put in money to study if torte reform is needed are not the same things. Sorry, but from this independent who supported Obama before he was elected, I will be much more careful before the November elections in believing blindly what I am told without investigating for the truth further.

Posted by: justmyvoice | March 30, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Bipartisanship won't work if only one side accepts pragmatism as its operating philosophy. Today's GOP does not. Everything for them has to fit into a narrow ideological straight-jacket that allows for no significant compromise. Adding token ideas for the sake of adding Republican ideas is not bipartisanship. In fact, it runs the risk of weakening policy for no good reason.

See, for example, the hundreds of millions of dollars in tax cuts in the stimulus bill. There were better ideas for how to spend that amount of money and get more stimulus bang for the buck, but the Obama administration chose less effective tax cuts in some useless and ultimately futile quest for Republican support.

It didn't get any Republican votes. It made the policy less effective. And it didn't increase the appeal of the overall stimulus package. Indeed, it produced a muddled mix that NO ONE likes.

Posted by: uh_huhh | March 30, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

The shrill, fact free comments from justmyvoice invite correction and rebuttal.

If the President wasn't interested in being bipartisan, we would not have spent (or rather, WASTED) a whole year while Max Baucus and other Democratic committee chairmen tried to work with the Republicans to draft health reform legislation. I'll point out that they were trying to do this even while these same Republicans were going out to town halls and actively demagoguing and undermining the legislation (witness Chuck Grassley lending credence to the "pull the plug on Grandma" scare even while he was the Republican point man on the finance committee).

It should have been clear from the beginning (when Jim DeMint talked about "breaking" President Obama) that the Republicans would not negotiate in good faith, and would put politics above the people. If the Democrats wanted to go their way from the beginning we would have had a bill a year ago, and it would have been single payer, or at least have a public option.

The charge that the bill that was passed doesn't have Republican ideas is ridiculous, and could only come from someone who gets all their news from Faux News and Beck or Limbaugh. Employee and employer mandates was a Republican idea. It was the Republicans who wanted private companies to insure the uninsured, rather than expanding Medicare which would have been the preferred Democratic option.

And this endless prattling about tort(e) reform is tiresome - I don't know if it's ignorance or willful blindness among the wingnuts - the CBO has estimated that eliminating ALL legal malpractice protection for patients would reduce healthcare expenses by 2-3%. Besides that a large number of states already have tort reform and have not seen any difference in their premiums relative to states that don't have it.

SO let's stop this nonsense, and I would suggest that justmyvoice and other wingnuts expose themselves to some real news and analysis rather than simply having their prejudices reinforced by the lying liars at Faux News (apologies to Al Franken :)

Posted by: sambam | March 30, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Man, must be the communist agit-prop which got to these people. Look, dear pinko, I was alive all last year. There was not ONE input the Republicans were allowed to make to that bill. It was drafted in secret, amended in secret, the loyal opposition was totally frozen out, and it was passed by the most heinous stretching of the rules.

For anyone here to even begin to pretend that the President or his minions were "bi-partisan" is an insult to American intelligence. This was a " we'll ram it down your throat America and you better like it" moment. It will be repaid. It will be repaid in kind.

Posted by: wjc1va | March 30, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

wjc1va writes: "must be the communist agit-prop which got to these people"

Classic case of projection from the wingnuts of course. Do they even know the meanings of the terms they throw around (communist, socialist, fascist)? Morons all.

Not a single fact to rebut the arguments I made. I named at least 2 major Republican ideas in the bill, but of course the kooks aren't interested in facts. How could anyone who is bear to listen to the Becks and Limbaughs of this world?

Guess it's time to leave them to their alternate reality universe and return to normal life. Keep up the good work Jonathan.

Posted by: sambam | March 30, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Obama hasn't as of yet worked with the majority of the population,why would he say he would like to work with the Republicans?All you see him as is a black president which in itself is fine.What you don't see or more specifically don't want to admit is his policy is tearing this country apart.You are SO blinded by his color, you refuse to see he doesn't give a damn about your race or anyone elses.He is setting this country up for a full blown out revolution thanks to your idiotic blindness.If you want to know how the masses feel about this thing you voted for check out the web page (youtube.com)and key in W57aBMYKvU.Popularity is growing like an out of control wild fire.The tid-bits he has promised you will only be taken back from you ten fold.Your great president is doing all he can to destroy everything that President Lincoln stood for.We have grown considerably from racial conflicts,but your great president is turning the clock back to days I personally wish to leave in the past.I've acquired a great bond with the black community and work side by side not looking at their color but the comradery we have for each other.Your president should be better known as the anti-Christ of the western hemisphere as his intent is to destroy the Christian belief of love thy neighbor. Do not even place this person with those people who call themselves"social justice christians". That's just another way of trying to twist the word of God to Obama's way of thinking.The judgement day will come and you will find yourself breathing the hot air that beltches from Obama
s mouth.The year 2012 Dec.21.Have a nice day while it lasts.

Posted by: dollar_bil2 | March 30, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Obama needs to focus on the big issues, like pulling his head out of his rectum.

Posted by: catotheelder1 | March 30, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Obama will only work with Republicans to undermine their ability to replace democrats in November. Bipartisanship? from a man who thumbs his nose at the bipartisan majority against his bill and leadership? Yeah right.

Posted by: hdc77494 | March 31, 2010 1:37 AM | Report abuse

President Obama still wants to work with Republicans? Why?

Republicans have made it quite clear they will not cooperate in any way with the administration and will do everything in their power to destroy it. Why work with people who want you to fail?

Posted by: orange3 | March 31, 2010 5:52 AM | Report abuse

Bill has an attention span of about five minutes. Now wonder he gives up on just about everything.

He may be funny.

But that is as far as it gets us.

Poatience is more of a vitrue.

He should try thinking a bit more.

"What if ...?" should be his mantra.

Posted by: gary4books | March 31, 2010 5:59 AM | Report abuse

There was bipartisanship in the case of this bill... both Democrats and Republicans voted against it. Unfortunately not enough Democrats, because the bill passed by a few votes. Votes that were bought through bribes and intimidation. Why else did they change their mind? It wasn't because of changes to the bill.

Posted by: scrumps03 | March 31, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Let's see, today's mantra is that Obama has tried to reach out but Rep reject him. Yesterday it was that all Rep were racist. Two days ago Obama says "go for it you idiot Reps!" The moron in the Whitehouse is a goof but the worse thing is that he has shills like Capehart pumping out propaganda on his behalf. How disgusting.

Posted by: mmourges | March 31, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Good piece Mr. Capehart: Bill Maher was was spot on. It's interesting that some folks forget how often Obama reached out to the other side and Senator McCain said as Maher pointed out "they will do nothing the rest of the year when they didn't do anything the first part of the year" the folks that say the bill was done in secret --was it in secret when the party of 6 - played around for months. The end result of the 6 round table was BS. Senator Grassley a member of that party of 6 proved that when he went before his constituents and said the bill wanted to kill Grandma. That was the first of many, many lies - Lies that were told by politicians with no shame. And what was the tea partiers banner theme over the summer "the bill will kill grandma".

Posted by: phyllisr5 | March 31, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

When Republicans support Free Enterprise solutions and Democrats support pure Socialism what is there to cooperate on? If Americans ever want a strong economy they have to put Republicans in charge. Obama et al have destroyed our economy and seem intent on replacing everything in our economy with failed socialism polocies. Get rid of the Demmocrdats!! They are living off of the hard working folks in America and then bleeding them with taxes to further their social agendas of buying up voters with your taxes.

Posted by: cdorbg | March 31, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

After the elections in November, he will have to work with them.

Maybe he sees what is coming?

Posted by: vinyl1 | March 31, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

For Obama, bipartisanship is a one way street, his way. When he reaches out to republicans, it is to grab them by the neck. If the republicans defend themselves and their value system, he and his cronies cry racism, bigotry, small minded bitterness. Obama is a gifted teleprompter orator, but a corrupting political lightweight with thuggish enforcers for those with scruples.

Posted by: silvergoat1 | March 31, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for your post Mr. Capehart. I'd forgotten why I didn't watch Bill Mahr any longer. Now I remember.

Posted by: willdd | March 31, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

When someone listens to bill mahr you know he is a IDOT!

Posted by: samuellenn | March 31, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Your headline is misleading. By using "still" implies that he wanted to work with Republicans in the past. There is no substantial evidence of that, only words but no real deeds. When he was campaigning for President he used the bipartisan theme to garner votes, even though he had no track record of doing so. When he got in office he lived up to his partisan record, not his bipartisan record.

Posted by: jerryshipley1 | March 31, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

The comments I'm seeing here certainly support the idea that the country is living in "political parallel universes". Much of the information that the right-wingers are posting here is easily refuted by paying even a little attention to the MSM, so I guess that means these folks just log on to sites like WaPo to post to the message boards and don't bother reading any articles (and please, no "liberal media" rants. With corporate owned media dominating, that's just a convenient excuse to dismiss other opinions). Guess that's what happens when you have media (I refuse to call it "news") tailored to fit your pre-conceived notions about the world. Everyone was given a brain for a reason, to think for themselves. Don't let others be your designated thinkers, or blindly accept what they spout as the gospel truth. Turn off FOX News and AM talk radio, and come out of the right-wing bubble into the sunshine. You may learn that the world isn't the fearful place you've been conditioned to think it is, and that those who happen to hold divergent opinions aren't really any of those horrible names you like to call them, but patriotic Americans, as you like to think you are.

Posted by: bienefes | March 31, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I want to comment on Capehart's appearance on Morning Joe instead of this article. He made the incredible statement that he learned that the GOP has no positive platform. Slow learner. The GOP has nothing positive to say. The problem is that the Dem's platform is negative. We have two totally dysfunctional parties. We have a president whose doctrine is different, but his approach to responsible government is being Bush on steroids. We are screwed.

Posted by: Steve851 | March 31, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Is Jesse Helms really dead?

The President has extended his hand, many times, since he first arrived in the WH. It was live and is on tape. To deny it is just more GOP bs.
Nancy Pelosi has another view and is probably justified-she's been in the House with those Republicans a lot longer. And I think few people tell Nancy what to do.
The 'Waterloo' quotes and others,printed here and everywhere, clearly stating their intent to thwart rather than work with the president, are undeniable. Period. Pure politics nothing else.
In November, Dems have to keep asking-in a recession, Americans hurting, constituents needing all kinds of help-name ONE thing that those guys did for you in the last year? Just playing politics all year isn't gonna cut it.
We need a better batch of Republicans, not all, but leaders who don't let the unelected on radio, the ignorant quitters,the bitter people in funny Ben Franklin outfits and not so funny guns, call the tune.

Posted by: dcunning1 | March 31, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Charles Krauthammer put it best: "Don't listen to what Obama says. Watch what he does."

When was the last time you read your own newspaper? Or have you EVER read your own newspaper?

Posted by: SickandTired2 | March 31, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

MR CAPEHART, I find your article to be interesting, to say the least. You said that you were a guest on the Bill Maher Show, and that he said that Pres. Obama said to the Republicans " kiss my black ass", and I wonder why you didn't walk off the show immediately.

How racist a statement that is! I take offense at that! "Kiss my black ass"??? How divisive and offensive! How could you sit there and not tell Bill Maher that he is a RACIST! I'm dissappointed in you.

WE'LL REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!

Posted by: barrysal | March 31, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Obama wanting to reach out to republicans is absolutely BS. He talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk. How many closed door meetings were held in the last year with only democrat attendees.

Remember, in Obama's world broken promises, lying, bribery and arm twisting are acceptable as the end justifies the means.

To get elected he promised us transparency, no more earmarks, no lobbyists and C-Span debates. He promised to change the way business was done in DC. It all sounded so good.

Problem is he didn't mean it. He and his admitted radical crowd have only one thing in mind, "to fundamentally transform America".

That's why the Iraq and Afghan wars are being waged just like Bush. That's why unemployment and the economy remain on the back burner.

Posted by: thehamptons1 | March 31, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse


If Capehart were not black, he would be called a "racist". We all know that only "whitey" can be a racist.

Please do not attempt to associate Capehart with "journalism" or "journalistic integrity". Objectivity escapes him.

Posted by: esquire2 | March 31, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

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