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Fri Apr 27, 2012, 04:29 PM

Bipartisanship never stood a chance

Posted w/permission.

http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/27/11430573-bipartisanship-never-stood-a-chance?lite

Bipartisanship never stood a chance
By Steve Benen
-
Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:35 PM EDT



Looking back at Barack Obama's message from four years ago, one of the more common messages he pushed was a deeply-held desire to govern in a bipartisan way. As a candidate, he spoke extensively about reaching across the aisle, working in good faith, and bringing people with different ideologies together in a spirit of shared values and common purpose.

We now know those efforts fell far short, and I suspect there will be some voters who are disappointed, hoping that Obama would have had more success in at least narrowing the partisan divide. But that's all the more reason to understand why bipartisanship in the Obama era has proven to be impossible.

Obama made several moves early on that suggested he was sincere. The president put Republicans in high-ranking administration positions; he expressed a willingness to compromise; and he pursued an agenda that was moderate and mainstream, embracing ideas on health care, energy, and immigration that have traditionally enjoyed bipartisan backing.

In November 2008, shortly after the election, the Weekly Standard ran a piece with a list of steps Obama could take to prove that he's serious about bipartisan governing. The president took most of the steps on the list.

But what about congressional Republicans? Robert Draper has a new book coming out, which shines a light on a private meeting "top Republican lawmakers and strategists" held, literally the same day as Obama's inauguration.

According to Draper, the guest list that night (which was just over 15 people in total) included Republican Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) and Dan Lungren (Calif.), along with Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.).

{T}he book says they plotted out ways to not just win back political power, but to also put the brakes on Obama's legislative platform. "If you act like you're the minority, you're going to stay in the minority," Draper quotes McCarthy as saying. "We've gotta challenge them on every single bill and challenge them on every single campaign."


Together, they sketched out a plan over the course of four hours: attack Tim Geithner, show "unyielding opposition" to every economic proposal, launch early attack ads targeting vulnerable Democrats. The GOP leaders left their meeting "almost giddily."

As Jamelle Bouie explained, "In other words, there was nothing President Obama could have done to build common ground with Republicans. From the beginning, the plan was to relentlessly obstruct Obama, regardless of whether that was good for the country The GOP's high-minded rhetoric of compromise and bipartisanship was bunk."

With this in mind, for all that is good and holy in this world, can we please stop pretending that "both sides" are to blame for the failure of the parties to cooperate in Washington?

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 04:42 PM

1. We knew. The historians knew. Obama should have known. They were war criminals. They had just ki

killed hundreds of thousands of people and halliburton was monogramming the towels in Iraq to charge more.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 04:48 PM

2. I will give the POTUS credit for trying.

I think he finally sees the total futility of trying to 'work' with the GOP.

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Response to Rex (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 06:31 PM

4. I suspect ...

President Obama knew from the start; but that knowledge, rightfully, did not/should not have stopped him from trying ... that is, after all, what the electorate said that they wanted.

I think he picked the correct path, at the time; and I think it remains the correct path until a critical mass of the electorate ... not just of the Democratic party; but of the entire elctorate (read: Democrats and true independants, not those claiming to be independant because it is fashionable) recognizes that working with the gop is impossible.

BTW: When are the campaign ads juxaposing President Obama's campaign promises (with the voice-over and graphics of economic experts saying this will help) with the House and Senate voting records (with the voice-over of gopers stating they intent to obstruct, e.g., "we can't go for this because it'll give Obama a victory)?

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 06:36 PM

5. I agree 100%

I would get angry sometimes at how polite and courteous he would be with the GOP. Then I remember, that is why I voted for him. I couldn't handle 5 seconds of his job without wanting to throw the entire GOP lot into a prison cell. Which would not go over well.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 05:05 PM

3. I can't imagine how evil they will be if they win the Presidency the Senate and the House. If any

Democrats try to stop them, the GOP will accuse them of treason. And unfortunately a lot of short attention span people will believe them.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 07:27 PM

6. One more reason harry Reid needs to change filibuster on day one 2013

It is unamerican that a handful of opponents can thwart the wishes of the majority. Taking the house back and keeping the senate does not matter unless Reid does this. Had he done this in 2009 we would not be sweating this election 2012.

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Response to musiclawyer (Reply #6)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 08:18 PM

7. Doesn't look good for Harry being the Majority Leader in 2013.

Senate majority for Dems looks shaky right now.

Just saying. Looks like the Dems will be starting this program too late, yet again.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 09:29 PM

8. But if Obama just used the bully pulpit...



Their political strategy was pretty clear from the beginning.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 02:51 AM

9. This is what many folks have been saying for months and months and months

Compromise is impossible when the people you seek to compromise with don't want to compromise. Sure...try it out for a while to show you're doing it in good faith....but once 2010 rolled around, it should have been obvious that compromise is futile.

If this was actually realized, the Bush tax cut and debt ceiling debacles could have been avoided.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 06:33 AM

10. That's why Boehnber's criticism this week of "Obama's failed policies" was laughable.

Obama hasn't had the opportunity (save for healthcare reform) to pass any policy in Congress.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 10:02 AM

11. President's Obama's "bipartisanship" initiative has been admirable

but clearly unsuccessful- though through no clear fault of his own. The question is whether or not the Republicans are going to insist that we keep this awful fighting going in perpetuity where they will prevent government from functioning correctly whenever they are not in power and then dominating and intimidating the minority whenever they are in power or if we can somehow get back to the way things used to be where both parties at least agree that some semblance of civility and bipartisanship- as well keeping the government functioning as it is supposed to be-is in the best interests of our country.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 11:51 AM

12. Many of us knew Bipartisanship never stood a chance and for saying so, we got

hounded and called 'haters'. The entire era of attempting that which could not happen was a waste of time done to fill some delusion of unity the President seemed to think he personally created in DC. When he'd praise the GOP while chiding Democrats, I found it insulting and also deeply stupid. He kept trying to sell me this idea of his that the GOP is honest and holding good intentions. I know that is not the truth, and a person who tries to sell me that crap does not engender my trust at all.
Bipartisanship never stood a chance. Sad the President did not understand that for so fucking long.

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