Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 13, 2009

THEY ARE NOT, AND WILL NOT BE, CREDIBLE PARTNERS.... After having asked to be considered for the cabinet, Judd Gregg withdrew from consideration. But note how the New Hampshire Republican chose to make his announcement: Gregg released a statement just as President Obama was poised to give a speech about the stimulus package. A Democratic Hill staffer told David Kurtz, "The classy exit would have been to wait til tomorrow afternoon to quietly bow out. Basically Gregg decided not just to politely decline, but rather to blow shit up and burn the bridge behind him."

It's hardly surprising, then, that White House aides believe "it is now clear that Obama has not been rewarded for reaching across the aisle." You don't say.

Paul Krugman noted today that congressional Republicans, instead of acting "chastened" after electoral and governmental failure, remain committed to "deep voodoo," and arguments that have "bordered on the deranged."

Given all of this, Andrew Sullivan argues that the Republican Party has "declared war" on the president.

Their clear and open intent is to do all they can, however they can, to sabotage the new administration (and the economy to boot). They want failure. Even now. Even after the last eight years. Even in a recession as steeply dangerous as this one. There are legitimate debates to be had; and then there is the cynicism and surrealism of total political war. We now should have even less doubt about what kind of people they are.

Tough stuff, to be sure. The question, I suppose, is what the White House -- and a president who's repeatedly committed to trying to find common ground with the failed minority party -- is going to do about it. If Sullivan is right, and the Republican Party is driven by a combination of partisan schemes and a desire to see Obama fail, how will the administration respond?

Joe Klein argues, persuasively, that the president "should have no illusions about the good faith of his opponents."

Obama should now understand that the Republicans are not reliable partners -- at least, not for the moment. Most are stuck in the contentious past, rutted in Reaganism, intent on taking a Hooverist course on the economy (although there remains cause for optimism on foreign policy). The President's default position, after the stimulus fight and the Gregg fiasco, should be to appoint Democrats to significant domestic policy positions -- the notion of making a public show of bipartisanship, by reaching across the aisle to someone like Senator Gregg, gives the opposition too much credibility and leverage.

Which doesn't mean that Obama shouldn't remain as conciliatory, and open to constructive Republican ideas, as he has been. There are potential long-term benefits from such openness (and short-term benefit as well, since the public clearly believes that Obama has been more reasonable than the Republicans).

It may seem callous somehow for the White House to assume bad faith from his opponents. Maybe Republicans are sincere in their ridiculous arguments, perhaps they don't realize their policies are destructive; maybe it only seems like they'd put partisan considerations above the interests of the country.

Can we drop the charade now?

Steve Benen 11:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (58)

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Comments

Duh.

Posted by: Obama -- Not as Tough as the Steelers on February 13, 2009 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

With a few notable exceptions, this has been true for as long as I've been actively following politics -- call it twenty five years or so. The discipline of the Republican Party and the focus on political success rather than national benefit has always been quite stark, if you're paying attention. It's nice to see people paying attention.

Posted by: Ahistoricality on February 13, 2009 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

What I particularly love is the intellectual emptiness of the Gregg withdrawal rationale. The census? Really? A power grab?

I suppose the unitary executive theory is no longer politically convenient, so they've decided to jettison it.

Posted by: Dan on February 13, 2009 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote: "Maybe Republicans are sincere in their ridiculous arguments, perhaps they don't realize their policies are destructive; maybe it only seems like they'd put partisan considerations above the interests of the country."

The Republican Party is no longer a legitimate political party in the normal sense. It is an organized crime enterprise masquerading as a political party.

The only "consideration" that shapes Republican policy proposals is a desire to use the power of government for corrupt purposes of private financial gain for Republican politicians and their ultra-rich corporate cronies and financial backers, at the expense of the American people.

The Republican Party represents naked corruption and blatant criminality in the service of the ruthless, relentless, rapacious class warfare by America's Ultra-Rich Ruling Class, Inc. against everyone else.

The Republicans' "ridiculous arguments" are nothing but a fake, phony, trumped-up, scripted, focus-group-tested, corporate-sponsored, pseudo-ideological smokescreen of BS with which to bamboozle gullible rubes out of their money.

"Credible partners", they are not. Confidence men is more like it.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 13, 2009 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Can we drop the charade now? Unfortunately with the Dems it's never been a charade. By all means, listen to constructive ideas of the opposition, but that's it. The Rethugs have shown how it's done. Fillibuster--really? What was that nuclear option you guys invented again? The country didn't vote for the Rethug pres candidate, nor did we vote to let Susan Collins decide how the stimulus package should go. Enough is enough.
Only Dems would let the repudiated party effectively stay in power after all they've done. And, as long as there is ONE Republican left in Congress, I guess we have to let them continue to call the tune until the country is destroyed. This continued weakness is not only disgusting, it's dangerous.
Wait til we have a SCOTUS vacancy. Gee, one for us and one for them, maybe? What is Sen. Gregg doing? Maybe we can find someone EVERYONE will want to vote for?!

Posted by: Frak on February 13, 2009 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Just watch, Obama will make another dumb-ass bipartisan move next week.

Posted by: g. powell on February 13, 2009 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

I do believe Obama, Axelrod and Gibbs are no strangers to Chicago-style hardball.

I don't believe the GOP leadership was taking any of them seriously, and they are paying, and will continue to pay the political price.

Despite weeks of focussed, vicious attacks on the President's initiatives: The Recovery act, the SCHIP program, the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Obama keeps on racking up win after win, and the GOP is increasingly seen as ranting partisan hypocrites and lunatics.

I don't think Obama's team had any illusions at all about who they're dealing with. They have placed poison pill after poison pill in front of them, and the idiots swallow and keep asking for more.

I am beginning to feel VERY good about Dem chances in 2010.

Posted by: Ed Johnson on February 13, 2009 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

This is what happened when Bill Clinton came into office. For the first six or seven months there was hardly a Democrat to be seen on television for any purpose at all, until the Republicans had successfully re-defined the conversation.

Posted by: alan on February 13, 2009 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

It may seem callous somehow for the White House to assume bad faith from his opponents. Maybe Republicans are sincere in their ridiculous arguments, perhaps they don't realize their policies are destructive; maybe it only seems like they'd put partisan considerations above the interests of the country.

I fail to see the difference. Assume that the Republicans are sincere in their [batshit insane] beliefs. How exactly would that change their actions? I would think that they would do precisely the same thing, since they believe profoundly and sincerely that Obama and liberalism generally (even the watered-down version he represents) should fail, should not even be given a chance to succeed, and that the Republicans, who have the only right worldview, should reap the benefits of the failures of their opponents.

Really, I don't understand this nonsense where people privilege sincerity of belief as somehow meaningful in the political arena. Lots of people hold genuinely sincere beliefs that are genuinely odious and evil, and which lead them, in their sincerity, to do awful things.

For example, Osama bin Laden seemed to be genuinely sincere in his belief that the United States is the far enemy, and needed to be destroyed. If he weren't, why would he have cut himself off from the life of wealth and leisure that the rest of his family has? And that sincere belief led him to murder about three thousand people who had never done anything to him. Does he get a pass because his worldview is sincere? Nonsense.

Posted by: paperwight on February 13, 2009 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

I am as critical as anyone of Obama when he appears to back down in the face of the losers'(GOP) nonsense, but I thought he did a masterful job of turning things around with his press conference and his little stimulus promotion tour including getting Crist--a potential rival in 2012 to support him. I think we all have to remind ourselves that more then being smart, more then having at least a passing respect for the rule of law and the Constitution and more than still having some hops on the basketball court, Obama is an excellent politician. Regardless of whether the center right media gets it, the American public knows what has been going on as evidenced by a poll at Daily Kos suggesting a zero approval rate for GOP Congresscritters. Obama is giving the GOP the rope to finally and I hope forever hang themselves.

Posted by: terry on February 13, 2009 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Martial arts are, on the surface, ritualized and polite. But below the surface it is about beating your opponent.

At the beginning of a bout the competitors bow to each other to demonstrate their mutual respect, even if they really have nothing but contempt for each other. But one of the first things they're taught is that when they bow, they never look at the floor but instead keep their eyes on their opponent. They will have worked out ahead of time how they will counter if thier opponent throws a punch or a kick.

Posted by: SteveT on February 13, 2009 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

You are adopting Gibbs' spin about Gregg having approached Obama about Commerce. Any evidence ?

I see no mention of the generic party poll numbers. You might look at them before you declare:

Obama is giving the GOP the rope to finally and I hope forever hang themselves.

This will get more interesting over the next week or two.

Posted by: Mike K on February 13, 2009 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

So at this point, can Sullivan just acknowledge that there's no point in remaining a part of the modern republican party? Or does he still hate the clintons too much to make the switch?

Posted by: kahner on February 13, 2009 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

The Repiglican Party and the Corporate Media ARE CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGERS TO WHAT IS LEFT OF OUR COUNTRY ........

Posted by: stormskies on February 13, 2009 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

This whole Gregg fiasco is looking more and more like a Republican set-up. He volunteered his name for the cabinet position, tentatively accepted, knowing all along he would decline. But he would wait until the most advantageous time to announce his departure. This would also explain why he recused himself from the stimulus vote.

Posted by: JWK on February 13, 2009 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

How do we get this argument on TV?

Namely, that the Taliban wing of the Republican party has made a political calculation that if they allow Democrats to do something the American people like, Republicans will lose.

Democrats were willing to work with Bush on No Child Left Behind, a Medicare Drug Bill, Iraq, Terrorism, and a thousand other small issues. Yes, they opposed things like his Social Security plan--it would have put social security in the stock market, and as you can see now, their concerns weren't ideology, it was a PRACTICAL fear that if the stock market went bad, people would lose their social security along with the rest of their life savings! That's not ideology about the size of government, it's common sense!

Yet Republicans have decided upon a strategy of total intransigence for political reasons. They want to make every argument about abstract ideology, and they are making up history and present facts. It's not reality-based governing, it's totally political.

I think the American people need to be told that the Republican party isn't reality-based, here. They are living in the same fantasyland they've been in for 10 years. We tried trickle-down free market. It didn't work. It's now time to start doing things that work.

Posted by: anonymiss on February 13, 2009 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Sully and Klein can go to hell too. How quickly we forget the horseshit they spooned out a few years back.

Posted by: Noam Sane on February 13, 2009 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK
[Joe Klein] "Which doesn't mean that Obama shouldn't remain as conciliatory, and open to constructive Republican ideas, as he has been. There are potential long-term benefits from such openness (and short-term benefit as well, since the public clearly believes that Obama has been more reasonable than the Republicans)."

That is absolutely correct. But Obama needs to send the message, more or less, "When you stupid fucks want to stop playing your asshole games, come see us. YOU reach across the aisle, with intelligent and constructive offerings, or die your rotting decaying party death - it is your choice. While you play with yourselves, we have work to do. See you when you want to get serious. Until then, eat me."

Posted by: SteveGinIL on February 13, 2009 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Sore losers.

It's as if the election never happened, that DC is still firmly in repugnacan hands.

WTF?

I give Obama full permission to ignore any and all demands coming from the minority.

They just haven't come to grips with reality.

We need the reality of reason.

God Bushed America. Now it's time to clean up the messes.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on February 13, 2009 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

He's desperate to have a team of rivals, to have at least some semblance of bi-partisanship. I still hear many white house staff indicating it's much better to share these policy decisions with as many Republicans as possible.

I'm not a politician, so I don't know.

But my intuition says to be guided by this is a path of self-destruction--at least given how strong the anti-democratic rhetoric is, replete with far right talk radio like Limbaugh and Rush and then the right-wing media such Lou Dobbs and Bill O'Reilly and the like--they are a potent force that keeps the knee-jerk responses Obama referred to in his last speech firmly intact.

Posted by: Not only are they not into Dems, the Repubs want them to Fail on February 13, 2009 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps it is best not to have any relations with a RepuG, but, if so, wise to demand a water tight Pre-Nup.

Posted by: berttheclock on February 13, 2009 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

supposed to read far right talk radio like Limbaugh and Coulter...

Posted by: Not only are they not into Dems, the Repubs want them to Fail on February 13, 2009 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Obama is giving the GOP the rope to finally and I hope forever hang themselves.

Mike K: I see no mention of the generic party poll numbers.


President Obama is doing enough to cooperate with GOP: 75%

GOP in Congress are cooperating enough with Obama: 39%

- CNN/Opinion Research 2/9/09

here comes the denial in...

3
2
1
...

Posted by: mr. irony on February 13, 2009 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

I am not espousing the Obama Has a Super Secret Plan and None of Us are Worthy of Hearing It theory, nor am I suggesting that Mr. President couldn't and shouldn't have played some parts of this very differently.

I am only going to point out that three weeks into his presidency, the voting public (that means ungeeks not like us) understands by an impressive majority that Obama is operating in good faith and the GOP is not. The result should be that future games of hardball as played by Obama will receive much more understanding than they would have had he gone in swinging, to mix sports metaphors, from day one. Again, I'm not suggesting that this is all the result of a master politician's detailed strategy (although I will argue that the guy is damned good at changing direction to meet changing circumstances). I'm just pointing out that we're really not in a bad position to do what we need to do now.

Posted by: shortstop on February 13, 2009 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Which doesn't mean that Obama shouldn't remain as conciliatory, and open to constructive Republican ideas, as he has been.

Name me one constructive Republican idea.

Posted by: Stefan on February 13, 2009 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

File under "I" for "I can dream, can't I?"

Here's the comment I'd love to hear Obama make.

"I look forward to a spiritied give-and-take bipartisan approach to solving our nations' problems with thoughtful and principled Republicans who know how to put the interests of the nation and their states and their districts ahead of the interests of their party...

...I just have to wait for them to be elected first.

Until then, I tell my fellow Democrats: We have too much work to do, and no time to wait."

Posted by: slappy magoo on February 13, 2009 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm - Get trains to run on time or build Autobahns?

Posted by: berttheclock on February 13, 2009 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

One thing that really struck me was the stark disparity in responses to Obama's speech late yesterday on CNN vs. MSNBC. On CNN's 'No bias, no bull' (yeah, right--talk about a misnomer),Campbell Brown and cohorts immediately started snubbing the President's thesis: One of the three (I can't remember who they all were--but Gloria Borger was one)said today's problems are much bigger than those Lincoln faced. They were mocking the President's analogy to the challenges Lincoln faced, insisting Lincoln had it much easier.

I cringed and flipped over to MSNBC, where Rachel Maddow was illuminating how apt the comparison was--and in fact, she said quite the opposite--that relatively speaking, Lincoln's challenges were worse (not easier) for that time--that if Lincoln managed to tackle a country divided upon itself, a civil war--amongst many other things ( going west,conquering new frontiers in the U.S. and so forth with essentially no road map)--that certainly could overcome our petty differences today--or at least hold out hope for the same..

The problem is CNN is considered a very credible news source and I imagine most folks were watching Campbell Brown's bias and bull, not Olbermann and Maddow before and after the President's very inspiring speech last night.

Posted by: CNN full of bias and Bull on February 13, 2009 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

There is more to corruption than money.

Isn't it time to generally regard the Republican party as a criminal organization?

Their intention, manners and interests are exclusively to promote what will do the most harm to the most people, wrapping it in a cloud of pretense, sanctimoniousness and fraud.

Fraud so general and plain that if it weren't stirred into politics and money changed hands it would be patently illegal.

So why do we not simply regard the Republican party as a crime organization? They fit every particular.

Posted by: alan on February 13, 2009 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K : You are adopting Gibbs' spin about Gregg having approached Obama about Commerce. Any evidence ?

Yes. Gregg admits it.

Posted by: Danp on February 13, 2009 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

What I would love to see is for Pres. Obama to schedule weekly, live news conferences or addresses to the nation, to be broadcast nationwide. The Networks would have to carry them or be seen as obstructionist. This would serve several purposes: Cut into Prime Time commercial revenue; keep the most popular and articulate president in front of the Nation, with his intelligence and clarity showcased (did you see his Lincoln Day address in Springfield, IL?); force the opposition to expose their ignorance and prujudice in follow-up; expose the Corp. journalists as politically ignorant and biased by their questions; and, demonstrate to all of us that we have a true leader who is willing to speak the truth and engage all of us in solutions.

It takes a lot of false courage to put down this man, Barack Obama, when faced with the depth of our economic and ethical challenges inherited from the previous administration.

I am truly excited to have supported President Obama, and to see he is the One, along with the rest of us who recognize him.

I am committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation
peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on February 13, 2009 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan: Name me one constructive Republican idea.

The aqueduct?

Posted by: trex on February 13, 2009 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

President Obama is doing enough to cooperate with GOP: 75%

GOP in Congress are cooperating enough with Obama: 39%

- CNN/Opinion Research 2/9/09

So at least 14% either think the GOP and Obama are cooperating, or don't want want any cooperation between them. ;)

Honestly, I'm not crazy about all these bipartisan gestures, and I thought the GOP House vote on the stimulus earned them a good swift kick in the teeth. But that said, I'm not sure it's time for Obama to give up on bipartisanship, for political reasons. It's not the route I would have chosen, but Obama has done a lot to brand himself as "post-partisan", and I think these repeated spurnings have done more to make the Republicans look obstinate than they have hurt Obama. The more reasonable he looks, the more unreasonable they look. No one came out of this Gregg thing worse than Gregg.

Posted by: Royko on February 13, 2009 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Aqueduct - Would that be the inner or outer track?

Posted by: berttheclock on February 13, 2009 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan: Name me one constructive Republican idea.

Theodore Roosevelt is the only Republican president after Lincoln who was worth your vote. No one like him has ever been represented in the GOP before or since. If he was around today he would be considered a far-out lefty, a wild-eyed radical, or cute and contemptible.

It's really important for us to reclaim the most important Progressive and liberal president we have ever had.

(Yes, he's more important than FDR, without him there would have been no FDR.)

Posted by: alan on February 13, 2009 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Gregg is my Valentine's Day Idol:

He publicly said the cliche we've all heard -- although in his case, he was correct


"It’s not you, it’s me."

Posted by: chicagoexpat on February 13, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

You would think the Republicans would be a little grateful considering the massive transfer of TARP money from the middle class to the super wealthy by Pelosi and company.

Posted by: MattYoung on February 13, 2009 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Aqueduct - Would that be the inner or outer track?

Which one do derivatives run on?

Posted by: trex on February 13, 2009 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Aqueduct - Would that be the inner or outer track?

Trex means this. Funny, but kind of ass-backwards from reality: really should be about the stimulus plan.

Posted by: ericblair on February 13, 2009 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

The thing to keep in mind here is that the Clinton admin did much the same thing. They didn't make so much explicit noise about being post-partisan, or have that kind of noise being made about them all the time. But they DID, being DLCers, co-opt an awful lot of the Republican program. Balanced budget, reforming welfare, etc. And as anyone who was politically aware back then might recall, it was this more than anything that pissed the GOP off. Sure they decried him as "librul" as loud and often as possible, but they also complained about him sub rosa (and sometimes super rosa stealing their ideas and issues.They HATED it. I think it was that more than anything that accounts for enduring Clinton loathing on the right. There's even a Freudian term for it: narcissism of least differences.

So "remain[ing]... conciliatory, and open to constructive Republican ideas" as Joe suggests is certainly NOT a strategy for achieving the Great Villager Holy Grail of Bipartisanship. Quite the opposite in fact. It just enrages 'em and alienates 'em all the more. Which if Obama is aware of it, may be precisely the point.

Posted by: DrBB on February 13, 2009 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Which one do derivatives run on?

Oh, beautiful.

Posted by: shortstop on February 13, 2009 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

My God, this is starting to sound like the Arab-Israli conflict. Obama is Israel and he has no reliable partner to even negotiate with!

Posted by: Ted Frier on February 13, 2009 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

It appears to me that the Republican party, and the Elites that they server, have declared open war upon the Middle Class.

The tell was difference in treatment accorded Wallstreet and the Autocompanies during the first bailout: Wallstreet got hundreds of Billions and no oversight and civil treatment, the autocompanies, asking for 1/20th in the form of loan guarantees, had to gravel on their bellies, and was pissed on in the event, by Washington.

The Republicans can no longer hide behind the fig leaf of the culture wars anymore. The culture wars was always just a fabricated issue concocted and focus group tested, as a way to get stupid middle and working class people to feel sorry for the rich and thus hand over their vote, their meal ticket and their birth rights etc... (even the abortion issue was a false one - the nation with the lowest abortion rate, Netherlands, is also the one where it is largely free and largely legal).

The real culture war ended over 200 years ago by the founding fathers when they implemented the Bill of Rights. I don't even think the Republicans mind not hiding behind the fig leaf of the culture wars anymore - they realize, because of their cohesion and their money they can rule with only a minority of 40 members in the senate (the 20 smallest states, could produce 40 senators, and represent only 30 million of the over 300 million Americans).

Also, I now realize that things like "taxes" and "government" are euphemisms for "middle class" and that they want to shrink the middle class down to size so that they can strangle it in the bath tub.

Posted by: Pallomine on February 13, 2009 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

"...arguments that have 'bordered on the deranged'."

They crossed that border a long time ago.

They STILL believe that cutting tax rates results in more revenue.

Posted by: Joe Friday on February 13, 2009 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Danp, this is what your link says:

In a statement, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Gregg had “reached out to the president and offered his name for secretary of commerce” — and that he’d promised that, “despite past disagreements about policies, he would support, embrace and move forward with the president’s agenda.”

Where does Gregg "admit it?"

I was thinking of the generic poll. It now has D and R tied for Congress.

Posted by: Mike K on February 13, 2009 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Repeat after me: This is a party that refers to themselves as "the Taliban."

Say it again and again and again. In fact, don't even call them "Republicans" or "the GOP." They are now, and until further notice, to be known as "the Taliban."

Backwards-ass, dangerous, know-nothing, cowardly fundamentalists - who, if you disagree with them, will not only expel you from their tribe, but do their damndest to stone you to death - and even then, only if they can sneak up on you from behind.

REPORTER: "Is bipartisanship dead? Is there any hope of working together?"

GIBBS: "Well, Mr. Reporter/American people, as you can see, the President went above-and-beyond to reach across the aisle. But when you're working with a party that refers to themselves as "the Taliban," it makes it pretty difficult."

Posted by: Cazart on February 13, 2009 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K - My apologies. The fact is my computer crashes when I go to politico, so I didn't actually read the article. Instead I was relying on the summary from another blog, from which I took this link. But in looking back at what that blog said, I even misinterpreted that.

Posted by: Danp on February 13, 2009 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Trying to make a patsy of Sen. Gregg and then transferring the census to Rahm for a big vote fraud push is NOT reaching across the aisle. Just more Dem corruption.

Trying to sucker Republicans into sharing responsibility for $2 trillion in pork is NOT reaching across the aisle.

Posted by: Luther on February 13, 2009 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Luther, do you have anything to contribute except slavish, rote, word-for-word regurgitation of the scripted, corporate-sponsored talking points that millionaire professional liar Rush Limbaugh is paid to spoon-feed you?

To this day, I simply do not understand the thrill that right-wingers seem to get from rushing into a room full of liberals, screaming "I'M AN IGNORANT, GULLIBLE IDIOT!" and running out again.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 13, 2009 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is not as naive as some people think. I have been reading his first book ( which I really recommend if you want to get an idea of how he thinks) "Dreams From My Father" and from that book I can see that Obama understands exactly what the republicans are up to. He even talks about how a divided electorate is useful to some politicians. But he also believes that the center has disappeared and that this is bad for the country, so I think that is what is behind his bipartisan overtures. I also believe that he sees this as a long term strategy, so I don't think he will abandon it any time soon.

Posted by: James G on February 13, 2009 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

You know, if Obama can safely go all partisan on the Republicans because he was undermined by them in his attempt to find a Secretary of *Commerce* (fer chrissakes), then that is devilishly brilliant. "Oh, I reached out. I really wanted to work together with them. But sadly . . . "

Let's do it again! Maybe he can get shafted by some Republican after he makes a good faith offer to be, oh I dunno, Ambassador to the Czech Republic?

Posted by: santamonicamr on February 13, 2009 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

It may seem callous somehow for the White House to assume bad faith from his opponents.
-----

One of us is confused about the word "assume," and I don't think it's me. Obama's actions clearly show an assumption that the Republicans would act in good faith, and I'm hoping that he learns to draw what looks like the only rational conclusion from their actions -- that is, that they are doing anything but.

Coming to a reasoned decision based on someone's repeated actions is hardly "assuming."

Based on the last couple of decades of watching them, I assume that the Republicans are acting in bad faith, and will continue to act in bad faith for the foreseeable future. But it doesn't look at all as though Obama has been doing that, which frankly ought to be cause for some concern if not alarm.

Posted by: Those Zany Democrats! on February 13, 2009 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Klein argues, persuasively, that the president "should have no illusions about the good faith of his opponents."

I don't know about that....look at all the good faith our opponents like Red State Mike and MatthewRMarler bring to these...oh, wait....

Never mind.

Posted by: Gregory on February 13, 2009 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew Sullivan is a man who can learn from his mistakes. I wonder if at this late date he finally understands how destructive it was for him to participate in the efforts to delegitimize the Clinton presidency? Probably not, since he's still posting adolescent jokes comparing Hillary to Hitler.

Posted by: T-Rex on February 13, 2009 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

I hope I'm wrong, but I suspect that this irrational and unyielding resistance to Obama -- despite his huge win in 11/4 and growing approval ratings, and their own repeated stumbling (the video from Kantor's office is an appalling but priceless example) -- is on some level racial. I get the feeling these guys still can't believe a black man is president, may even refuse to believe it. Or maybe it's that he's holding himself accountable, and they've come to believe that (want to believe that), once the mud dries after an election, it's back to same old, same old. But there's something visceral about this, and I think it may be racism.

Posted by: SF on February 13, 2009 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Probably not, since he's still posting adolescent jokes comparing Hillary to Hitler.

The only saving grace about Sullivan when it comes to his Clinton hatred is that he has admitted before (on his blog) that he's not rational about them.

Posted by: oddjob on February 13, 2009 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

SF, it may in part be racial, but consider this.

If a white man was sitting in the White House right now, acting as Obama has, holding the stances Obama holds, and in every way Obama's twin except for being Caucasian, do you think there would be any more GOP votes for the stimulus bill than there now are?

I very much doubt that.

Posted by: oddjob on February 13, 2009 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

To draw a difference between us.

On NPR I've heard that Sunnis are engaging in teh most recent Iraqi elections.

I am chagrined that Iraq may yet become a valued democratic Middle Eat ally to the US (voluntarily despite all Bush's actions).

If so, won't we have to acknowledge that SOME good came out of toppling Hussein even under the ignominious false pretenses used? (Albeit at an unnecessarily high cost)

Having to praise Bush at all galls me. But I do not wish collapse of a peaceful Iraq just because it would serve my preferred party extremely well.

The end does not justify the means.

They don't accept that.

I wish my "enemies" success even if it proves me wrong. If it's truly success you should desire it more than bragging rights and failure.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on February 14, 2009 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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