A New (Old) Definition of Bipartisanship

For the past eight years, “bipartisan” in Beltway parlance has meant, to paraphrase Keith Olbermann, that Republicans tell Democrats what’s going to happen, and the Democrats say, “Okay.”

Well, those days are over. Now, “bipartisan” means that both Democrats and Republicans work together in good faith to draft legislation that serves the common good and addresses the legitimate concerns of both parties. No more playing to the most extreme, mean-spirited fringes of either party, or lionizing those who do. If you want to hang out with those people after work or listen to their radio shows, you can do that — but don’t bring those attitudes with you into the halls and committee rooms of Congress, because “I hope you fail” is not a formula for public service in the Obama administration.

And also because, in case you hadn’t noticed, Barack Obama’s decisive victory means he really does have a mandate. Although he is being much more humble and realistic than his predecessor about how far that mandate will take him.

Maha cuts to the chase, as always:

Apparently, to President Obama “bipartisanship” doesn’t mean kowtowing to members of a minority party who are being a pack of obstructionist assholes.

“You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done,” he [President Obama] told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.

One White House official confirmed the comment but said he was simply trying to make a larger point about bipartisan efforts.

“There are big things that unify Republicans and Democrats,” the official said. “We shouldn’t let partisan politics derail what are very important things that need to get done.”



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One Comment on “A New (Old) Definition of Bipartisanship”

  1. jjblogging Says:

    I hope that Obama, his economic team, and Congress can work together to get a sensible stimulus package passed quickly.

    I recently saw articles on a few newspaper websites talking about how Obama was working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to make sure that the stimulus package was smart and effective at fixing the economic problems, now and into the future. I take that as a very positive sign, since Democrats haven’t always worked closely with the business community.

    The main points of their discussions have been making sure that the stimulus package includes tax relief, infrastructure funding, housing industry tax credits to assist homeowners, and reducing borrower & lending fees through the Small Business Administration. Of course, there are other items that need to be in the stimulus package, but I agree with all four of those ideas.

    I noticed that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is asking for input from the public to let them know which of those proposals they support the most. The Chamber can then use that data in their discussions with Obama and members of Congress. Make sure to vote in their poll here – http://www.friendsoftheuschamber.com/email/email4.cfm?id=196

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