Washington vs. America, Continued

By Dan Froomkin
1:16 PM ET, 02/20/2009

And here's yet more about the disconnect between Washington and the rest of the country. (See my previous posts on the topic.)

Inside the Beltway, President Obama's failed overtures to Republicans over the stimulus bill were widely seen as humiliating.

But Michael Tomasky writes in a Guardian opinion column: "His audience is the country." Obama's meetings "were conducted for citizens, so they could see that he was trying something different....

"[M]iddle-of-the-road voters see partisan gridlock as a problem. And what do they see today if they cast their gaze in Washington's direction? They see a president trying to talk about and do something about a problem that they think is important. And they see a Republican bloc that is a living embodiment of that problem every day....

"Think of it as an outside-in strategy. That is: we tend to think that change starts in Washington and spreads out to the country. In fact, the opposite is more often the case. Change starts outside the Beltway, and eventually bleeds into it."

Steve Benen blogs for the Washington Monthly that it's working: "A national AP poll released yesterday found that 62% of Americans believe the president is doing enough to reach out to congressional Republicans. In contrast, the same poll found that only 27% of the public believes the GOP is doing to enough to cooperate with Obama....

"Even Fox News' latest poll showed similar results. Asked if the president 'has sincerely tried to reach out to Republicans and be bipartisan,' 66% of respondents said he has. Asked the same of Republicans, only 33% agreed."

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