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Was 'Post-Partisanship' the Problem?

A major irony of President Obama's pursuit of an economic stimulus package may end up being that in his attempt to be "post-partisan" -- and avoid that "partisan gridlock" he campaigned against -- he conferred legitimacy on the strident arguments of a discredited minority that might otherwise have been marginalized by the media and the public.

In the last couple days, Obama has started more explicitly blaming this particular partisan gridlock on Republicans.

Peter Nicholas writes in the Los Angeles Times: "President Obama abruptly changed tactics Wednesday in his bid to revive the economy, setting aside his bipartisan stance and pointedly blaming Republicans for demanding what he cast as discredited 'piecemeal measures.'

"Obama's comments were a marked departure from the conciliatory tone he has maintained as he courted Republican votes for his stimulus package through compromise....

"'Now, let me say this,' Obama said. 'In the past few days, I've heard criticisms of this plan that frankly echo the very same failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis in the first place -- the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems, that we can address this enormous crisis with half steps and piecemeal measures and tinkering around the edges, that we can ignore fundamental challenges, like the high cost of healthcare, and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.

"'I reject these theories,' he continued. 'And, by the way, so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change.'"

See also Obama's op-ed in The Washington Post today.

Rick Klein writes for ABC News: "President Obama appears to be scaling back his efforts to attract a broad bipartisan consensus for his bill.

"Where once there was talk of a resounding bipartisan vote in Congress, the goal now is simple passage of the bill -- even if that means (as seems very likely) it will pass with almost exclusively Democratic votes."

Why the change in course? Well, despite Obama's outreach to Republicans, as Jeanne Cummings writes for Politico: "[I]t was business as usual on Capitol Hill for Republicans.

"They could practically sleep-walk through their attack plan once House Democrats began to fill in Obama's broad outlines for a stimulus with a few pet projects of their own.

"It required two simple steps: Scream pork, call Rush Limbaugh."

Michael Hirsh writes for Newsweek: "Obama's desire to begin a 'post-partisan' era may have backfired. In his eagerness to accommodate Republicans and listen to their ideas over the past week, he has allowed the GOP to turn the haggling over the stimulus package into a decidedly stale, Republican-style debate over pork, waste and overspending. This makes very little economic sense when you are in a major recession that only gets worse day by day. Yes, there are still some very legitimate issues with a bill that's supposed to be 'temporary' and 'targeted' — among them, large increases in permanent entitlement spending, and a paucity of tax cuts requiring immediate spending. Even so, Obama has allowed Congress to grow embroiled in nitpicking over efficiency when the central debate should be about whether the package is big enough. When you are dealing with a stimulus of this size, there are going to be wasteful expenditures and boondoggles. There's no way anyone can spend $800 to $900 billion quickly without waste and boondoggles. It comes with the Keynesian territory. This is an emergency; the normal rules do not apply."

I now see that my post earlier this morning, The Questions Obama Needs to Answer, hits on many of the same points that Joan Walsh hit in Salon yesterday: "Obama is the most remarkable Democratic communicator of my lifetime, I think, and even he's not rising to the task, yet. He needs to lay out his priorities, clearly; he needs to simplify his pitch, yet he also needs to add some depth to his and our understanding of how we got here. This economic crisis is not just about bad mortgages and/or the housing bubble bursting, and it won't be solved by reinflating that bubble, the Republicans' latest dumb idea. These problems have been building since at least the 1970s."

As for the press coverage, via Media Matters, here is NBC's Chuck Todd says some Democrats feel "that basically Matt Drudge has been the managing editor for deciding which part of the stimulus package gets highlighted."

And Joe Klein writes for Time: "It pains me to watch normally reasonable colleagues overreacting to Obama's situation now... Some form of stimulus will pass. If it doesn't revive the economy, then more stimulus will be passed. Obama's maintaining the proper balance of reaching out to Republicans, making some compromises, but staying firm on the need for a bill that includes public works as well as tax cuts."

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 5, 2009; 1:09 PM ET
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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Post partisan? Are you really trying to say that the Dear Leader was being "post partisan" by ramming the “stimulus” bill down congress throat and not allowing for any debate on it? How much time did anyone, democrats included, have to read the bill before it was voted on? How much time was given to offer amendments? How much time was offered on the floor to debate this?

People are beginning to recognize what this bill is, it’s a transfer of wealth from the politically unconnected to the politically connected, and public support is tanking.

How does it feel to see Obama reduced to groveling to the GOP for support he just aint gonna get.

For better or worse, the Democrats and Obama will own this stimulus.

Posted by: SharpshootingPugilist | February 5, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

And as for your little snipe against Drudge, at least someone is highlighting some of the more ridiculous portions of the bill.

Posted by: SharpshootingPugilist | February 5, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Sharpshootingpukilist and his ilk will be banished to the nether regions of American political dialogue soon enough. Obama had to make an effort. He may not like it, but he will let the American people know exactly how morally and philosophically bankrupt the right and the ditto heads actually are.

Posted by: veeve | February 5, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Veeve I hope the split stays permanent, nothing would thrill me more than to see Obama completely "ignore" the GOP because in 18months when unemployment is 12% we are going to use this ”stimulus” fraud to hang around Obama/Reid/Pelosi’s lie a burning tire.

Obama 0 - Limbaugh 1

And dont you just love how guys like Hirsh now say that since this crisis is so severe "the normal rules dont apply" but 8 months ago were whining about the potential for fraud in the TARP funds?

Posted by: SharpshootingPugilist | February 5, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see something comparing a successful working majority in both houses of Congress, from the past, with now. President Obama, in theory, would have to juggle Congress (which in some administrations has had some opposition to a president of the same party, with majority). In recent decade or so, the Republicans seem more unified. No doubt in part, to their limited range of ideas....

Posted by: NYCartist | February 5, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Alright, we gave these Republican clowns their chance to be constructive partners, and all they did was propose the exact opposite of what the Democrats were rolling out. That isn't loyal opposition, it is obstruction, and now they want to hold up everything. Unleash the hounds, take of the kid gloves, and bury these traitorous fools. The strength and glory of the Republic is at stake, and the Republicans want us to get out our fiddles as everything burns down around us. This is why they lost the election. No need to make them feel like they have a seat at the table.

Posted by: hiberniantears | February 5, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

We only have to put up with this Limbaugh nonsense for two more years - then we will get 5 more Senate seats and it won't matter what the moderate Republicans or Ben Nelson say or do. Now this may sound like we are shutting you out - we aren't, the American people are. If you want a voice, win some elections. (After 2010, your main voice will be the many Republcians in the MSM - will you continue to attack them?)

Posted by: dickdata | February 5, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I try very hard to stay on-topic while commenting, and generally do okay.

However: this new WHW format is testing my patience. I used to check WaPo dozens of times per day waiting for my 5-to-10-page afternoon break w/ Froomkin. Now there's no easy way to print my daily dose, I'm late to the party by the time I get a chance to even visit WaPo, and the [possibly ineffable] narrative quality that used to be the real reward of reading it en-masse seems lacking. Maybe I will think differently after a while, but the shine is somewhat dulled at the moment.

Posted by: mobedda | February 5, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I frankly care less about what the republicans or dislike about the stimulus package...their answer to everything is more tax cuts for the rich and famous...Obama has erred in making such a strong effort to make the idiots happy...he should have instead charged full steam ahead to get a package passed. I've been unemployed since July...therefore a tax cut won't help me extension of benefits and a few more pennies in the unemployment check would help...and something needs to happen to get the job market working in the right direction...more republican tax cuts are simply not the answer....and the idea needs to be flatly rejected.

Posted by: constwkr | February 5, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

McCain lied through his crooked teeth with his Country First slogan. He's Party First all the way. He has 10 homes, draws Social Security of $2K a month and a tax-free disability pension of $58K a year while living off a government job and benefits.
The wealth has been being quietly transferred to the top for decades. Come on Democrats, stop the insanity and stand up to greedy Republicans. Trickle down and huge tax cuts didn't work. People need jobs now. Remember the eight years of Bushenomics we just ended.

Posted by: bdunn1 | February 5, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Was there anyone in this country who has paid attention in the last 16 years who could not have predicted this outcome? That the cowardly GOP would accept Obama's invitation to the party and then completely trash the house? Leave it to the Democrats to win two landslide elections, across the board majorities, and still end up on the defensive.

Let's stop pretending that the GOP is bringing anything to the table at this point. Cast them into the wilderness (just like the voters did) and let them prove that they're adult enough to return with fresh ideas and a new attitude. Until then there is absolutely nothing to be gained by assuming they are adding value to the discussion by throwing rhetorical hand grenades into any rational debate that should happen to break out.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | February 5, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

"'I reject these theories,' he continued. 'And, by the way, so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change.'"

Here Here. Telling it like it is.

Posted by: lasker1895 | February 5, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Obama tried to work with the Republicans and they turned him down. I want for him to be more assertive and come out and say I tried to work with you guys but I guess you only undertstand the philosophy of my way or the highway, which little Bush mastered, so you know what the only tax cuts will be for the middle class, no corporate tax cuts and by the way I will also reduce the percentage of deductions for social security, medicaid, medicare and FEDERAL TAX to anybody making less than $200,000.00 a year. We've already transferred so muchc from the bottom to the 1% elite rich echelon of the country, no more. And Mr. Sharpshooting pugilist, we, DEMOCRATS, will be very proud to have this bill only authored by democrats not the GOP, which of Grand only have the name and the Grand Robbery it inflicted on the USA citizenry.

Posted by: amva55 | February 5, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Reading the comments of the right-wingers on this site one point comes across clearly. They don't understand the significance of their defeat. They don't understand that the majority of people are sick of their failed policies. Especially, they don't understand that Rush Limbaugh is steering the party straight into oblivion (fine by me).

Posted by: gposner | February 5, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse


Today's test question is "Do you know the total federal deficits signed by President George W. Bush?"

- $500 billion
- $1 trillion
- $3 trillion
- $5 trillion

The answer is over $5 TRILLION - $17,000 per American - in just 8 years - and we have how many people unemployed?

So if Obama blows through $825 billion and unemployment increases, he'll be a mere piker to Bush.

The evidence is that el Rushbo can't do math, and definitely don't know economics.

Posted by: boscobobb | February 5, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

This "post partisan" nonsense was an invention of the "mainstream American media," which refused to ask the O-man serious questions about what he would do when elected. This enabled O. to get away w/ all sorts of "post partisan" answers, ie. lots of clap-trap about "hope and hugs" and blaming every problem in the country, not on "bad ideas" (which were rarely specified), but the evil GW Bush. It never occurred to the media that as a political leader (and not a messiah figure) he'd actually have to make specific decisions and couldn't simply blame the "evil Bush" for the country's shortcomings.

The political reality of the current congress is that republicans remain opposed--no matter how "nice" the O-man is portrayed as being in the media--to pork barrel politics. THat the media is "amazed" at how the O-man has "failed' to put an end to politics via his personality is a surprise only to the ga-ga media.

As for Hersh's opinion, the issue is whether the package will work or not--not whether the republicans like or don't like teh O-man. Many demos now agree the package wont' work. That's a political reality folks, not a personal one--even though Hersh seems to believe that to merely criticize the stim, package is somehow inappropriate.

As for teh walsh point, it's typical of the groupie media; note how Obama is praised for all sorts of thigns ("great communicator") w/o his actually having done anything (or much of anything)in office. The media, having already declared him a great president before having entered office, now is irate the republicans have the audacity to make him earn it.

Posted by: wnalexan | February 5, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

mobedda, there's a link you can click on to print all of today's posts as a single column, in the manner of the former format.

Posted by: herzliebster | February 5, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Dear Republicans (and DINOs) -

Please just keep on doing what you're doing. It makes it that much easier to identify and remove you from American politics in 2 years time.

The 78% of America That Gets It

Posted by: RootieKazootie | February 5, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Simple answers to simple questions:

Q. Was "Post-Partisanship the problem?"
A. Yes.

Posted by: vastleft | February 5, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Ironically, Republicans have decided that it is better for their party, though certainly not for America, that they act like eight year olds. They lost and they can't get over that. Obama reaches across the aisle and they bite his hand. I believe he should shift to an all out effort to win a veto proof majority and put the Republican Party back to where it was after the last Depression they caused.

Posted by: thoughtful11 | February 5, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

It's disturbing to see the number of people slamming "the other side" for being petty or childish, and doing so in an extremely petty and childish way.

As for opposition, why is it such a bad thing? Yes, the country on whole vote for Obama, but more that 40 percent voted for McCain. Republicans are a reduced presence, but aren't they supposed to represent their consituents to some degree? Why would they just roll over?

Dictating terms is not the same thing as being "post-partisan." I think people can disagree in a civil manner -- wasn't that the whole point of change?

Posted by: chris19 | February 5, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Bi-partisanship will only work if both parties want to cooperate. The Republicans have made it clear they don't want to be part of the solution. They would rather stand on their failed ideology and let the economy get worse. At some point, Obama has to work with the few senators who are interested in getting something done and move on.

Posted by: cdierd1944 | February 5, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Republicans acting as though they hate pork is hypocrisy, pure and simple. For the last 8 years they larded EVERY appropriations bill with pork and sent it to President Numbnuts, who went merrily along. By the GAO's report count, earmarks TRIPLED while the Republicans rammed their bills thru the Congress. The national debt increased 5 TRILLION dollars to 10.2 trillion. When St Ronald the Prevaricator came into office the debt was 1 trillion--his tax cuts tripled it. Under his "leadership" we went from the world's largest creditor nation to the world's largest debtor. Between Bush 1, Ronnie, and the Shrub, Republicans OWN 9 trillion of the national debt. And these are the guys yelping about pork and claiming the mantle of fiscal responsibility? It is to laugh........and more chuckles should be reserved for their claiming about this bill being "larded" with pork. They've caterwauled about spending that amounts to less than 1 PERCENT of the overall bill, and claimed rebating to poor people the taxes they pay (on payroll) is socialism while bailing out bankers is prudent. If stupidity were a virtue, there would be a legion of Republican saints........

Posted by: bklyndan22 | February 5, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

The hypocrisy of the congressional Republicans takes your breath away, Dan. I'd like to say I've never seen anything like it, but unfortunately I've been awake and watching over the past eight years. No one should ever be allowed to forget how bad six years of total GOP control truly were.

As for President Obama, his mistake was in assuming he was dealing with adults in the Republican caucus - adults who would negotiate in good faith. I'm glad to see the grown-ups have realized the kids on the country club circuit don't play fair.

I think I might just vomit the next time I hear a Republican talk about "country first." Did no one see Blackwell's edict that the successful passage of the rescue bill would hurt Republicans' chances of regaining seats they've lost in the House and Senate?

They've proved they can't govern worth a damn, but they're ridiculously good at obstructing good governance.

Posted by: sherirogers | February 5, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

The typical Republican politician is a lower form of life than the AIDS virus.

He, or she, is the perfect argument for euthanasia.

Posted by: ArrigoBeyle | February 5, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Again, if "bipartisanship" only works when both parties are cooperating, how exactly is this a bipartisan bill? It was written by one party in Congress with almost no consultation, and most of the proposed amendments have been shot down.

People are just claiming the moral high ground of "bipartisanship" and then engaging in exactly the same kind of behavior they despise when they see it in their opponents.

How can commenters who claim to be intelligent people constantly engage in such nakedly childish and peurile antics?

Posted by: chris19 | February 5, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I cannot for the life of me understand the hold a third rate mind such as Rush Limbaugh apparantly has on the Republican Party...

I mean, lets face it, Rush is just a blivet.

Posted by: ruinedbruin | February 5, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Has there ever really been bipartisanship in the US congress? Go back to Gingrich/94. Was that the beginning of the end for bipartisanship? Go back to Reagan and the economic crises at the beginning of the 80's. The House was democratic, but was the senate? Reagan got pretty much what he wanted. What would bipartisanship look like?. Given the edge the voters have given to the Dems and the urgent need to fix the many messes created by the rightwingers in congress, what exactly is the value of bipartisanship now? Its always to good to sit and listen is good, watching the superbowl together with families and eating cookies is nice. But letting the republicans back into the game after they have been beaten so soundly in the last 2 elections seems a little ridiculous and worthless show of bipartisanship.

Posted by: mickster1 | February 5, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

"I cannot for the life of me understand the hold a third rate mind such as Rush Limbaugh apparantly has on the Republican Party."

Um, have you checked out the minds of the Republican party? Not exactly Grade-A.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 5, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

My sense is that after a 2-year campaign, Obama has a far better sense of American fatigue and disgust than the Republicans do. And all this GOP overacting is just the ticket.

But just to remind everyone how broken it is in Washington and why it needs to change, Obama played nice. Naturally, Republicans misread and misjudged him. Next, although not quickly enough for many, Obama adopted the stern daddy approach (today, for example, with his DoE speech). Impressive stuff.

So pick your metaphor with rope and the Republicans: Obama playing Ali doing rope-a-dope? Yup.

Or Obama giving the Republicans enough rope to hang themselves. That works.

He knows how it's playing out there. But all the conflict-addicted or punch-drunk journos? They appear to have forgotten how to write about policy or anything meaningful at all. Somerby explains this sort of thing best.

Anyway, maybe Obama can teach journalists journalism, with a nice series of explanatory interviews with sensible people. Puh-leez not David Gregory.

Posted by: paxr55 | February 5, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Notice how the Washington Post continues it propaganda and censorship on behalf of Obama. Why aren't we allowed to know about all the junk in the bill? Why doesn't Froomkin want us to know? Is this supposed to be a White House Watch? I think it is a threesome!

Today, Obama violated all sense of honor, and took the census bureau away from the career government workers in the Commerce Department, and gave it to the political hacks in the White House. He did it to appease the illegal alien constituency, and is proud of it.

Obama, politicizing the Census. A real newspaper would have this as a power grab by a dicatator.

Posted by: Cornell1984 | February 5, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

The problem traces back to gerrymandering house districts. Through the creation of "safe seats" we have so polarized our representatives such that compromise is impossible, interpreted as weakness, and an ideological betrayal. Until that problem is solved, nothing will really change.

Posted by: Frazil | February 5, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Things will begin to improve only when the cavemen who make up the Republican party are extinct.

Posted by: carlfer | February 5, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

"Post-Partisan" doesn't even make any sense.

The American system for solving any particular issue in dispute is a partisan one and each side has advocates for its position and one side wins and the other side losees.

We voters elected President Obama to bring about CHANGE, the majority of which is to undo the damage Bush/Cheney and the Republicans have done.

We disagree with the Republicans on key issues, but that's not the only reason so many American's hate them.

Its more of a personal, moral, and ethical thing.

We dislike Republicans personally, because they don't have any morals or ethics.

The velvet glove didn't work.

Its time for the Iron Fist.

Posted by: svreader | February 5, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

mobedda, I agree with you about not liking this new format. It eliminates discussion: argument and rebuttal, and leaves people with no ability to "think forward" or demonstrate any capacity for having learned something from all the other posters in any immediate, conversational, way. It is a loss.

Posted by: cms1 | February 5, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

You know, maybe it isn’t the "post partisanship" that’s the problem with getting the stimulus package passed. Maybe, just maybe it has to do with things like Obama’s old buddy Blagojevich’s pet project “Future Gen” being funded to the tune of $2 billion.

Now that’s change I believe in!

Posted by: SharpshootingPugilist | February 5, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

mobedda, just find the link that's today named: Print all posts from February 5, 2009 (It's only available on the front page to all the posts, not on individual posts). What I do is I copy it to my HTML composer (Mozilla Seamonkey for a Windows computer), save it and then read it using my usual browser. It'll work if you copy it to a regular word processor, but I find it hard to read with all of those page breaks.

Posted by: rlg3526 | February 5, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Cornell1984 said :
| February 5, 2009 8:10 PM

"Today, Obama violated all sense of honor, and took the census bureau away from the career government workers in the Commerce Department, and gave it to the political hacks in the White House. He did it to appease the illegal alien constituency, and is proud of it.

Obama, politicizing the Census. A real newspaper would have this as a power grab by a dicatator."
Cornell, may I ask your stance on the actions taken by our previous President Bush, who by all accounts politicized every agency in the U.S. government?

Justice Department? Interior Department? Pentagon? FEMA? Homeland Security? Shall I continue?

Did you fight as hard against this during 2000- 2008? Also, the President can dictate overall goals of a bill, BUT Congress and LOBBYISTS dictate what ends up in the bill. TELL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TO RESPECT YOUR VOTE. OTHERWISE, VOTE THEM OUT.

Look at the situation the country is in, and look at where Obama comes from. He doesn't have 7 houses. He had student loans, he knows what its like to deal with things we go through because he didn't have a Silver spoon in his mouth LIKE MOST OF OUR PREVIOUS Presidents.

He's the closest I've ever come to a regular guy like me in my lifetime. I'm 32, but I was at a party today, and a man in his 50s told me that Obama has done more good for the overall country in less than 1 month than any President in his lifetime.

Aren't you tired of hearing that Exxon Mobil had the highest profits ever, meanwhile middle class everyday people like us seem like our money is disappearing? How much better off has your money been since the last round?

They used to say we are the richest country in the world. Knowing that fact, that the collective work of our country could raise that much wealth, Why shouldn't the Government health care to its people in return for how much we give, and what we allow it to do with OUR MONEY?

Many countries less wealthy than us provide free care and cheaper medicine for their people.

The Constitution charges the President with the protection of the country and its people. How much smog is in the air you breathe from CORPORATE pollution?

How many of your rivers are dirty, brown and green due to waste run-off? Again, during the past 8 years, some corporations in this country have made the biggest profits ever while we struggle through the years.

Let free healthcare be a right for your family and your kids for all the money corporations make from you!

The bill will never be a clean bill as long as we keep voting the same Politically connected people to Congress.

We let commercials and talking heads tell us who to vote for. Let's stop listening to them and make your Representative prove through action whether or not he really is for you.

Posted by: Just_An_Observer | February 5, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Gee, when Sharpshootingpugilist mentioned "Dear Leader" in his first inane trollish post, I thought for sure he was referring to former President George W. Bush, who along with his lapdog Republican co-conspirators in Congress, rammed legislation through Congress, no debate, after-midnight insertions into bills, raping our federal treasury in the process to the tune of trillions of dollars.

Oh, I get it, Sharpshootingpugilist is trying to equate our present President to our previous "Dear Leader" in an attempt to drag President Obama's popularity down to the abyssmal level of our previous "Dear Leader" who was so partisan he and his administration made the Nazis and Communists look post-partisan.

While President Barack Obama is reaching out to the culture of corruption and criminality Republicans in Congress, listening and debating, taking plenty of time (although the situation is urgent for many American families, including Republican families), while these multi-millionaire Republicans in Congress, in the right-wing news media and at the RNC, who did so much to destroy America over the past eight years, are stiffing President Obama and patriotic Democrats in Congress who are trying to pull our nation out of the ditch the Republicans drove us into.

And there is no doubt in my mind that Republicans, across the board, even trolls, will benefit from President Obama's economic stimulus plan much more than anything they saw from Bush's and Paulson's throw-money-at-the-rich bail-out scheme.

Posted by: wizard2000 | February 6, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Obama had to try. He had to give the Republicans the opportunity to join the majority in solving the economic crisis. I suspect he knew they were going to reject the opportunity and grandstand on the same tired old ideas that have made them a rapidly shrinking minority, but he had to demonstrate that to the public.

I've said it before in other venues, but I don't think I've said it here, so you heard it here first.

Obama doesn't defeat his opponents. He gives them the opportunity to defeat themselves.

If it was anyone but Obama in the Oval, I'd be worried right now. But I worried when he was up against Clinton, and I worried when he was up against McCain, and I saw how he gave them the opportunity to defeat themselves. And I think he's doing it again.

Posted by: JoyceLH | February 6, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Steven Pearlstein's article today should be read by anyone not understanding why the Republicans' position on this is so repugnant. Dan might want to edit this post so Pearlstein's genius can be read & hopefully, thoughtfully absorbed by all.

Posted by: suzanne3 | February 6, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

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