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White House Cheat Sheet: Bantering Over Bipartisanship

The sun sets over the White House. Photo by Ron Edmonds of the Associated Press

The fact that not a single House Republican crossed party lines to back President Obama's economic stimulus plan has set off a furious debate over the nature of bipartisanship and its limits.

On Thursday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi laid down her marker in her weekly briefing with reporters. "I didn't come here to be partisan, I didn't come here to be bipartisan," said Pelosi. "I came here, as did my colleagues, to be nonpartisan, to work for the American people, to do what is in their interest."

Later in the day House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) offered his own riff on bipartisanship insisting that Wednesday's House vote was "only the beginning of the process" and adding: "Threats from unnamed White House sources undermine our national spirit of bipartisanship." Cantor also called on Obama to disavow a planned ad campaign funded by among others aimed at pressuring Republican Senators to support the bill.

Which side can "out-bipartisan" (yes, we know that's not a word) the other will be a critical piece of the Senate debate over Obama's economic stimulus package.

Voters L-O-V-E the idea of bipartisanship -- the two parties working together to get things done for the American people.

Politicians are, at their root, survivors and are well aware of the need to keep a bipartisan veneer on all they do these days -- especially given that poll after poll shows that the candidate or party better able to project a willingness to reach out to their ideological rivals wins at the ballot box.

Need evidence? A 2006 Council for Excellence in Government poll showed that more than three quarters of voters said they would prefer their elected officials "work in a bipartisan way" while just one in five said politicians should "stand firm with their party on issues." (Hat tip to Post polling unit for digging up those numbers.)

It's why Pelosi and Cantor (and a cast of thousands) are working their hearts out to claim that their side is the true voice of bipartisanship in this debate. That very fight is evidence that Obama's plan to create a post-partisan politics has a long way to go.

SKED STUFF: Vice President Joe Biden, not exactly a shrinking violet, has stayed out of the spotlight in the 10 days since the swearing in. (An exception: Biden's mocking of Chief Justice John Roberts.) The vice president looks to emerge a bit when he and President Obama deliver joint remarks at 10:45 a.m. on the middle class task force he has been tasked with running. Biden, when deployed properly, can be an effective messenger -- particularly on the economy -- for Obama.

NEWS NUGGET: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has hired Becki Donatelli to handle her brand-spanking new Sarahpac, according to sources familiar with the move. Donatelli is the chair of Campaign Solutions, a Republican consulting firm that specializes in fundraising and Internet strategy. Donatelli was intimately involved in both of Sen. John McCain's (Ariz.) presidential bids and her work with Palin suggests that reports of the two camps' distaste for one another might be (slightly) overblown. The hiring of Donatelli also is evidence that Palin understands she must overhaul her image among the Republican professional class in Washington if she wants to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate in 2012.

A COMMERCE PICK (AT LAST): Days after we asked why there weren't even names mentioned for the Commerce Secretary opening, reports out of Capitol Hill suggest New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg (R) is under consideration for the job. (Coincidence? Um, yes.) Tapping Gregg would be a HUGE political coup for Obama and Senate Democrats as it would allow Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, to appoint Gregg's replacement. Assuming Al Franken can hold on in Minnesota, that would put Democrats at 60 seats, a number that would allow them to break GOP filibusters and exert true control over the chamber. For that reason alone, we would say it's unlikely that Gregg is tapped. Our sources suggest that Gregg to Commerce is a possibility but would only happen if Lynch promised to appoint a Republican to the seat.

BLAGO'S GONE, WHO'S NEXT: The official impeachment of Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) last night by the Illinois state Senate means that new Gov. Pat Quinn will be in the top job for the next two years. But, Quinn is almost certain to face a primary challenge if (as expected) he runs for a full term in 2010. The biggest foot in Illinois Democratic politics belongs to state Attorney General Lisa Madigan who had long been expected to run for governor in 2010 no matter who was in the office. But, several Fix sources out of Illinois suggest Madigan may be having second thoughts and perhaps will consider a Senate bid instead. (Would she win a primary with appointed Sen. Roland Burris if he runs?) The other big name still out there is former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley, the brother of the current mayor of Chicago. Daley is reportedly still weighing the possibility of a gubernatorial bid in 2010. Others waiting to see what Madigan and Daley do include state Comptroller Dan Hynes, who lost a U.S. Senate primary to then state Sen. Barack Obama in 2004 and state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, a personal friend of the president.

A NEW CHAIR: Members of the Republican National Committee gather at 10:30 a.m. at the Capital Hilton in Washington to pick their next chairman from among six candidates. The presumed top tier is comprised of current RNC Chair Mike Duncan, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele and South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson. Eighty five votes are needed to clinch the job and NO ONE will get close on the first ballot. Given the uncertainty heading into the vote, we could be headed for a long day. More in this space on the vote once the proceedings begin and MUCH more handicapping of the candidates here.

STRAIGHT OUTTA ALBANY: House Republicans may have finally gotten the break they have been searching for over the past four years when New York Gov. David Paterson (D) appointed Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) to the Senate earlier this week. The Upstate 20th district Gillibrand has held since 2006 is Republican-leaning territory and by choosing state Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco as its candidate Republicans will have a proven vote getter on the special election ballot. The Democratic field lost a bit of star power on Thursday when former New York Rangers goalie Mike Richter took himself out of the running. Once Paterson issues a proclamation declaring the seat officially vacant, a special election must be held within 40 days.

COUNTDOWN: Baby Fix is set to arrive in exactly three weeks time. And, TODAY is Fix Dad's b-day! Happy birthday to the man who taught the Fix how to treat other people, shoot a basketball and love Bob Dylan.

CLICK IT!: Ever wonder what would happen if you took a bunch of bacon and wrapped it around and through an Italian sausage? It would be the "Bacon Explosion" -- coming soon to a Superbowl Party near you... (Ok, it's not about politics but WOW.)

SAY WHAT?: "I want to apologize to you for what happened, but I can't, because I don't think -- because I didn't do anything wrong." -- Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich during his speech before the Illinois state Senate.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 30, 2009; 6:05 AM ET
Categories:  Convention Cheat Sheet  
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Next: Fix Live at the RNC Election


Should the economic stimulus bill contain items not directly related to strengthening the economy or creating jobs?

Yes 9% (6337 votes)

No 91% (60856 votes)

I vote for "no" too.

Posted by: JakeD | February 2, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Banks collecting billions of dollars in federal bailout money sought government permission to bring thousands of foreign workers to the U.S. for high-paying jobs, according to an Associated Press review of visa applications.

The dozen banks receiving the biggest rescue packages, totaling more than $150 billion, requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years for positions that included senior vice presidents, corporate lawyers, junior investment analysts and human resources specialists. The average annual salary for those jobs was $90,721, nearly twice the median income for all American households.

The figures are significant because they show that the bailed-out banks, being kept afloat with U.S. taxpayer money, actively sought to hire foreign workers instead of American workers. As the economic collapse worsened last year — with huge numbers of bank employees laid off — the numbers of visas sought by the dozen banks in AP's analysis increased by nearly one-third, from 3,258 in fiscal 2007 to 4,163 in fiscal 2008.

The AP reviewed visa applications the banks filed with the Labor Department under the H-1B visa program, which allows temporary employment of foreign workers in specialized-skill and advanced-degree positions.

It is unclear how many foreign workers the banks actually hired; the government does not release those details. The actual number is likely a fraction of the 21,800 foreign workers the banks sought to hire because the government limits the number of visas it grants to 85,000 each year among all U.S. employers.

During the last three months of 2008, the largest banks that received taxpayer loans announced more than 100,000 layoffs. The number of foreign workers included among those laid off is unknown.

Foreigners are attractive hires because companies have found ways to pay them less than American workers.


Posted by: lucygirl1 | February 1, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Palin-related headlines are like those of Blagojevich, typically hilarious -- when not scary. The news that "The hiring of Donatelli also is evidence that Palin understands she must overhaul her image among the Republican professional class in Washington if she wants to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate in 2012" falls into both camps.

It isn't an "image makeover" that Palin needs' it's a brain transplant. She is anti-intellectual, unworldly and unlettered (let alone racist and bizarre religiously), certainly NOT a suitable candidate for ANY national office.

Alaska needs to keep her there and decide whether they want to re-elect her. Both Palin and Blagojevich are sociopaths for whom power is everything and personal accountability is nil.

Posted by: bweyand1 | January 31, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Man am I glad that I'm a vegetarian...
Congrats on your baby!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: HannahBanana | January 30, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

You know what? It's truly time to put all of the partisan politics aside and get this country back on track ... move on, just like the website. However, I refuse to be one of those people who just sits and complains, and I hope every American feels empowered enough to speak their minds and hearts. This website encourages the same thing - it asks you to tell what you would like to see Congress and Obama tackle during his first 100 days in office ... a priority list, if you will. I hope you all visit it and have your voice heard. It's

Posted by: actionashley | January 30, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

As a non-Obamamaniac -- I still hope this stimpack works!! I don't care who votes for it OR against it...they will answer to their constituency at a later date.

Posted by: newbeeboy | January 30, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

The bacon thing is interesting in a "another invention not invented woman" sort of thing. Personally I thought PETA's vegetables were more interesting . . .

Posted by: DonJasper | January 30, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

The bacon explosion looks a lot nastier once you've eaten a decent lunch.

Interesting point on the SCHIP. Remember, though that Senators have larger constituencies and have more political incentive to be bipartisan, especially the ladies from Maine and other people from blue states. Let's see how the Congressmen react to it. It seems like the Democrats in the Senate aren't going to have much trouble getting stuff done. Yeah they don't have 60 members, but there seem to have been enough disagreement among Republicans. Remember, the Republican Senators need to be essentially unanimous in order to filibuster anything.

If the Senators start passing bills with some regularity, then the House Republicans will really have to start being selective with their stands. They look obstructionist now, but the stimulus is just one bill and a news cycle is short. But the worst thing they can do is to allow a narrative to be built over a long period of time. That will be a LOT more difficult to shake.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 30, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

To thoe of you who want to treat R reluctance to negotiate on this bill by having the Prez take his ball and go home, I repeat that both the Prez and the country gain from his continuing outreach. For example, I take the R votes for SCHIPs as a gain for the Prez and the country.

There are conservative economists who have made targeted tax proposals [e.g., tax credits for home purchases] that are actually stimulative. Why don't the Rs, fixated as they are on the tax side, listen to smart conservatives rather than dumb ones? Then, like Sen. Grassley, who has cut a decent deal to reduce the impact of the dreaded AMT, they can do some real good here. Just a friendly suggestion... .

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 30, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

What exactly does Judd Gregg owe the Republican party? The party has ignored its Northeastern wing/roots and left them as easy pickings for the Democrats. They are currently trying to become more insular, more Southern, less Northeastern. Judd Gregg is a Class III senator - he has to run for his seat in 2010. New Hampshire is full of independent minded voters and he is the incumbent, but what are his chances of being unemployed in two years? Especially if he is informed his seat will be targeted? Will the Republicans promise him millions of dollars for his re-election?

Senator Gregg is between a rock and a gilded cage. There is a very real chance he will be a lawyer/lobbyist in two years with nothing but a thank you card from his Republican buddies and no influence in a Democratic town. As Commerce Secretary he can pretty much do whatever he pleases for the next four to eight years. Commerce rarely gets into trouble, so he could probably stay for as long as he wanted. When he does leave, he will be a lawyer/lobbyist with a vastly superior resume of contacts. The only downside he runs is the risk of being blacklisted by Republicans, but how real is that threat? Will it be like being on the Peoria Chamber of Commerce blacklist? Will everyone forget after eight years? Will his contacts be more important than some grudge? There is loyalty and then there is stupidity.

Posted by: caribis | January 30, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

The true definition of pork is an Italian sausage wrapped around and through with bacon.

Posted by: StoptheSpin | January 30, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

now hold on..
what is the true political definition of "pork". Bills that have "special projects" on them????
Name a special project on HR1.
That is not related to a project already in place or in need of re-visiting and re-vamping????

New ideas on running programs or RE-visiting established programs that have run amok is not pork.

What is pork folks? And where is it in HR? Tell me where you think the major pork is.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 30, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

One thing to keep in mind is that only 11 Democrats voted against the bill. Given the diversity of the Democrats, that is pretty surprising. Perhaps Obama's concessions didn't get any Republicans, but did manage to net most of the blue dogs.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 30, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting that the so-called stimulus package reminds me of the "bacon explosion" only the stimulus has more pork.

Posted by: leapin | January 30, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

bipartisanship is logical.
and heaven forbid if WASHDC goes logical, eh?

I watched the Illinois vote on Blago yesterday. It was a sad to watch because of the "institution of state government" and how, once again, is seems damaged.
But I do believe Arizona has the record on impeachment of Governors.
We throw you to the wolves down here!!!

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 30, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I understand why Obama would want to disavow a campaign, but that's just politics.

Really, though, what they're doing is simply putting democracy in action. They're essentially asking voters to tell their senators that they support the stimulus.

They're not right in everything they do. The General "Betray Us" ad in particular was tasteless. But there's nothing wrong with this campaign, other than the fact that it is supporting a viewpoint contrary to the Republican platform.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 30, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Remember the woman who was on Obama’s campaign team and called Hillary a “monster’. She is Samantha Power and she immediately resigned over the incident. At that time, Gregory Meeks, speaking for the Obama campaign said, “this is the worst kind of politics, Sen Obama has called for change and a new kind of politics”.
According to the AP, Obama has (or is in the process) appointed her as Senior Director for Multicultural Affairs at the National Security Council. Ah, those new kind of politics.

Posted by: leapin | January 30, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

It takes two to tango, so I hear. If you want to be bipartisan, you have to have two parties willing to compromise to get something done. If one side of a negotiation offers a concession, the other side either offers something in exchange, or rejects the offer on the table. Those are the basics.

Obama came to the table with offers of tax cuts he and his advisors view as ineffective policy, in order to offer a compromise to the Republicans. In return, the Republicans demanded that Obama concede everything and follow their policies. The Republicans have rejected Obama's first gestures of bipartisanship. Now, there have to be consequences.

Obama's not about to capitulate to the guys that lost the election, so he's got to make them believe in the choice they face: either they negotiate in good faith, and take the compromises they can get, or they can abandon negotiations and bet on Obama (and the nation) to fail, so that they can wrest power back into their hands. These are the choices open to the party out of power.

As the Republicans have chosen to assert that their policies are the status quo, they will require a lot of convincing to believe that they are now the party out of power. Their dreams of power depend on undermining our future as a nation, and the American people just might be foolish enough to play their game. After all, how often have Republicans lost by betting on the stupidity of their constituents?

Bipartisanship and compromise are nice ideas, but they require that both sides come to the table to negotiate in good faith. Evidently, congressional Republicans can't make it to the table, because they're living in a world all their own now. If they happen to notice that their bellicose tactics aren't getting them anywhere, I imagine Obama will be waiting; otherwise, the wilderness.

Posted by: lonquest | January 30, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

The GOP has no intention of cooperating with Obama. The GOP is betting that Obama fails and they will smell like roses for unanimously opposing the stimulis plan in the House.


Strip out the "sweetners" included in the House bill to attract Republicans and put in what Senate Democrats want......more infrastructure spending and a lot less tax cuts to business. Target the tax cuts to those who need them

Leave those 6 or 7 Republicans from swing states, which voted for Obama, to hang out to dry. Pass a true Democratic measure in the Senate and steamroller the House.

So much for "bi-partisanship"....

If the economy recovers we have nothing to worry about and the GOP can take no credit. It it doesn't the Dems will be blamed anyway.


Posted by: toritto | January 30, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Dude, in that bacon explosion, the people take strips of bacon and weave it into a mat. That's the outer layer.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 30, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

"Wrong. The swing voters that decide elections want bipartisanship. That's the whole reason they're swing voters - when the Dems get too full of themselves, they back Repubs & vice versa."

I think bi-partisan is more important when stuff isn't going well. Then its important to appear to be working together. When problems get solved and conditions improve, people will credit the ones who did the fixing. Right now that's the Democrats.

The problem with the Republican strategy is that it seems to be contingent on things getting worse. Is there anyone here that wants to make that wager?

Posted by: DDAWD | January 30, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse


Team Obama must immediately join with GOP defenders of the Constitution to dismantle the nationwide extrajudicial punishment network -- authoritarian bureaucrats and security offers and their nationwide network of citizen vigilantes fronted by federally-funded volunteer programs.

This nationwide, KKK-like rogue operation has made a mockery of the judicial system for the past eight years and has claimed many victims from all strata of society. This journalist is among them.

Crimes against humanity are being committed across the nation via the use of so-called "directed energy weapons" which the Bush D.O.J. recently confirmed are being widely deployed to police forces nationwide.

These RADIATION weapons emit silent, pulsed bursts of various forms of radiation -- and are degrading and damaging the health of those on the receiving end as well as their operators.

This weaponry has NO PLACE in civilized society -- much less in the hands of security personnel who interact with the public.

The widespread deployment of this weaponry virtually assures its misuse. Imagine if rogue actors tried to use its silent, deadly force to induce illness or to disable our political leaders.

Perhaps they already have.

Victims of this extrajudicial punishment network also see their finances and livelihoods expropriated and destroyed by coordinated "multi-agency action" "programs of personal destruction" that deny them due process of law while degrading their lives and destroying their families.

The IRS, under Bush-Cheney, has been transmogrified into an ideological weapon of social control and recrimination by these covert "Multi-Agency Action"s.

Treasury Secretary Geithner must address these abuses IMMEDIATELY, before these affronts to the Constitution destroy more American families -- and subvert the Obama presidency.

The authoritarian bureaucrats and officers behind these "programs of personal destruction" remain entrenched. They cannot be co-opted or reformed. They must be removed from power and brought to justice.

Team Obama, the victims of The American Gestapo continue to suffer. And those who have survived their social genocide of the past eight years are prepared to give testimony. Here is this journalist's account:

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 30, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

47% of the voters didn't go with Obama. His approval s 68% with the media in full orgasmic thrall behind, in front, and under him. Remember, Bush was once at 90% approval. Cocky got used for Bush from day one, so arrogance for Obama is just around the corner. This is not a package that will produce jobs, so Republicans are very safe in blaming it on Obama. To pretend the most liberal senator in D.C. is bipartisan is silly except that a lapdog press has allowed the propaganda to go unchallenged. The only good thing is the decline in media employment and further layoffs at radical left-wing insitutions of lower learning (newspapers)

Posted by: Cornell1984 | January 30, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Obama put it best, "I won." And he won by a convincing margin and made ground in states nobody thought he would. Republicans think holding their breath and stomping their feet for the next four years will help. They can either go along and maybe get some of the credit if plans succeed, or they can sit back and complain, hoping it fails.

Posted by: thecorinthian | January 30, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The guy who writes this blog has the most insightful commentary I've seen, so that's my endorsement.

It has a recent posting on the Gregg thing as well as several on the Republican boycott of the stimulus.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 30, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I’m completely bi-partisan. I’m sitting in a 62 degree house while Barry is enjoying the tropical temperatures. I’m eating sausage while Barry is chowing down $100/lb beef and washing it down with the finest vodka while I’m wondering where I’m going to eat and sleep. Maybe he is just trying to see life from Bush’s point of view. I wish I would see some msm analysis on this. .But I’m not seeing the promised middle class tax cut in my check nor have I received any directs mortgage relief. I do love that a bi-partisan effort was made to train Barry to recognize a door from a window.

Posted by: leapin | January 30, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

havok26 writes
"I don't think people want bi-partisanship at all."

Wrong. The swing voters that decide elections want bipartisanship. That's the whole reason they're swing voters - when the Dems get too full of themselves, they back Repubs & vice versa. Many swing voters are split-ticket voters that vote for the person, not the party. The critical factor is: can the candidate get improve government? For the voters in the middle, its not about ideology or party, its about performance. Due to the nature of the two-party system this usually means bipartisanship produces the best results. Single party rule often ends in disaster, as has been recently demonstrated by the Bush admin & GOP run Congress.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 30, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

"No wonder so much of the public consider "Democrats to be spineless cowards with no convictions other than to get reelected.: book134 "

And yet, better than 60% of the country finds democrats more in tune than republicans.

Posted by: Thatsnuts'"

Reconcile that with the Pelosi lead congress that had a nine percent approval rating.

Posted by: leapin | January 30, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

man, this is going to put a serious crimp in my resolution to stop eating meat.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 30, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I don't think people want bi-partisanship at all. Only David Broder types want it, and by bipartisan they mean whatever the GOP wants, Democrats should do. No thanks.

Posted by: havok26 | January 30, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

i agree dognabbit

repulsives would be good to embrace the Nash equilibrium;
forego the individualistic gain for the collective success;
because in the long run, the individual will benefit by the collective winning

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 30, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

book134 is right about Democrats. When in power, Dems try to serve all Americans (including those Americans who don't agree with how Dem are trying to help). I'm a Dem, and as someone on the left I subscribe to the "All Boats Rise" view. Republicans, in general, subscribe to the "Every Man for Himself" view.

That's what it looks like to me.

Still, I understand what the Republicans in Congress are doing. They are taking a stand and they are saying that they are not going to simply roll over as the Dems have their way with the country. Are they doing this out of principles or politics? I believe both. Just because Republicans are "out of power" doesn't mean that they will be powerless.

"Kumbaya," book134. I'm a Dem and I'm trying to understand people who aren't like me. If you want to call that spineless than I've got another word for you...

Posted by: dognabbit | January 30, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

The Fix goes pop-culture with reference to the Bacon Explosion. Nice. A buddy has the ingredients to make 2. Sounds like he's firing up the smoker this weekend!

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 30, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

If Obama got Gregg as commerce secretary, we could confirm that Obama does in fact have magical powers.

Posted by: theamazingjex | January 30, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Chris, You are dumb and dumber together. You are so liberal it hurts. Just disgusting. One day you might wake up and understand. But I doubt it. However you are great at brown-nosing. You are just plain disgusting. The Democrats are not beyond screwing up. Don't say you have not been told. But when that day comes I am sure you will have a great excuse. Forrest Gump makes more sense than you do but you can't see it. Poor Chris.

Posted by: poptoy1949 | January 30, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Republican make contaminated peanut butter - the perfect metaphor for what the Party represents. ..............

Posted by: glclark4750 | January 30, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I think the 2006 survey on Americans' desire for bipartisanship needs a recent update. I used to think it was important, too. Now, I've come to despise all things Republican.

Posted by: debbieqd | January 30, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

"Threats from unnamed White House sources undermine our national spirit of bipartisanship".

Okay Eric, whatEVER you say!
Care to elaborate?

BTW-congrats and happy birthday and all that sentimental stuff

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 30, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

All best with the baby-- our first is due in four weeks! And happy b-day to your dad!

Posted by: dbitt | January 30, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

It's simply not true that Vice President Biden has been out of the limelight since the inauguration, as you say. He gave an exclusive, lengthy interview with John Harwood to CNBC that was aired extensively last night. It was in advance of today's announcement, and he also covered the recent congressional developments. He also was the sole guest on Face the Nation last Sunday, interviewed by Bob Schieffer, and even talked about the challenges of changing one's professional role (from Senate to White House) after 36 years in the same job.

Chris, it is blatantly unfair to take a minor quip about oathtaking that obviously was a faux pas, and assert that is Biden's only significant appearance so far in the first 10 days of the administration. It's fine for him to take the heat for a gaffe, but to leave out these serious, substantive interviews is not fair.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | January 30, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

This is ths most selfish bill ever to be comtemplated, as it robs future generations of a chance for a decent life. Only truly selfish people would ever vote or support this bill. Our representatives who vote for this monstrocity, should at least tell us the plan for paying this money back within a reasonable time period.

Posted by: vbhoomes | January 30, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Republicans fiddle while America burns.

Posted by: hamishdad | January 30, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Not a single house Republican voted for one of the biggest tax cuts in history???

Maybe I won't hold my breath for them to figure out bi-partisan.

Posted by: chucks688 | January 30, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Wooing Congress, as RR did, is never wasted energy for a Prez. A Prez will generate a reservoir of good will that, over time, can serve him and the country well, if he continues to talk to the Hill.

This stimulus plan is comparable to passing a national budget in a week. There is a weakness in the R position because it is so wedded to shotgun tax cuts. However, the process in the HoR was kept relatively closed by the Speaker and even the best of R suggestions had no chance. The Senate may see more collegiality.

Chris, HB to your dad and let us know when the Blessed Event occurs!

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 30, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

President Obama was elected on a platform to change how politics was done. Do I think he may have compromised a bit too much on his efforts to get a stimulus package passed? Yes. But I also think he had to make the effort, if he has any hope of changing "business as usual." It's too early to tell if this experiment in post-partisan democracy will work.

In the Senate, much more inclined towards bipartisanship, the stimulus package will undergo significant changes and garner republican support. Hopefully, what we end up with will both help the economy and set a new tone.

Also hopefully, congressional democrats will grow a spine for dealing with republican colleagues in future conflicts - where so much compromise is not warranted. (Note to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi - it would be nice if you didn't reserve this spine for disagreements with President Obama. Remember you guys are in the same team.)

Posted by: -pamela | January 30, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

"No wonder so much of the public consider Democrats to be spineless cowards with no convictions other than to get reelected.: book134 "

And yet, better than 60% of the country finds democrats more in tune than republicans.

Posted by: Thatsnuts | January 30, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

When Democrats win elections, they have what many would consider to be a significant weakness - they tend to compromise their principles by offering the opposition, in koom-by-yah fashion, to compromise via bipartisanship.

Republicans don't do that unless Democrats are willing to totally surrender to their demands.

No wonder so much of the public consider Democrats to be spineless cowards with no convictions other than to get reelected.

Posted by: book134 | January 30, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse

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