Bipartisanship: 'More style than substance'
Hub Blog believes Obama was sincere about reaching out to Republicans
. But cocktail parties, Capitol visits, Super Bowl parties and other nice ‘overtures' are only surface signs of bi-partisanship. There has to be substantive compromise on issues to be bipartisan. Obama has made some concessions -- and the vast majority of Republicans haven't responded in kind with their own non-tax-cut concessions.
But Obama ultimately hurt his own bipartisan efforts by handing over virtual drafting of the spending component of the stimulus package to Congress – and that meant giving liberal members enormous power to harness a left-centrist mood in the country to push the package farther to the "new American economy" left. They managed the near impossible in the process: uniting a fractured, bankrupt, hypocritical Republican party. Say what you will about firebrand conservatives in the House, the GOP's unanimous rejection of the plan is still astonishing and even a little impressive, though not as impressive as Peggy Noonan
makes it out. The Republicans rediscovered some of their principles despite themselves. As Reader BK
might put it: Who'd-a-thunk it?
P.S. -- I was watching Washington Week in Review last night and one of the panelists (I didn't catch his name) broached roughly the same Republicans-aren't-all-to-blame point. You should have seen the incredulous look of some of the other CW panelists.
P.S.P.S. -- Where do we go from here? Hell if I know. I only hope Dems drop their spending for spending's sake mantra, while Republicans drop their tax cuts for tax cuts' mantra. I'd like to see the total package smaller and harder hitting in the short-term, setting aside long-term spending and tax-cut ideas for later. More money may be needed to bail out the credit system.
P.S.P.S.P.S. -- I liked the observation in the first link about how deeply ingrained partisanship is in Washington. Both sides don't even see it. They rarely give their opponents credit for sincerity. Obama is a little guilty of this. But not nearly as guilty as long-time Washingtonian fanatics.