There was a time, a long long time ago, and in a land far away, that Barack Obama spoke about “bipartisanship.”
He never really gave it a chance and didn’t seem to get the hang of it though. But that could be because he wasn’t a senator long enough to get the hang of it and his Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, is about as bipartisan as Attila the Hun.
After the words “I won” and “never let a good crisis go to waste” were uttered, well, it has been “all Obama all the time.”
Just recently its been Obama on Leno, Obama on “60 Minutes,” Obama in a press conference of dubious value, and today, Obama on the Internet which looked like just an opportunity for the president to get away from real work and campaign — which he is very good at and has a tireless yen for….
So, with Democrats in control of the House and the Senate, who needs those other guys?
Well, lets hope there are no further crises in the future because the bipartisanship we have seen so far won’t buy much……
In the 1970s when I came to Congress as a staffer, my elected boss used to say, “If I’m going to be one of the fathers of this legislation I’d like to be in the room at the time of conception and not just at the birth…”
That’s bipartisanship: in on the ground floor, opinions heard and incorporated, and sleeves rlled up for real work.
A book on how to achieve good legislation through bipartisanship would have to feature how NOT to to go about it the Obama, Pelosi, Reid way….and then use the New York Times, an appearance on Leno, “60 Minutes,” and the Internet to get the word out…. to spin a feeling that bipartisanship was tried and the Republicans rejected the offer….
The president’s “outrach” of bipartisanship is like purchased sex with a working girl; it is sleezy and meaningless. Maybe he needs some chachki toys or aluminum key chains with little hand painted “Air Force One” or “White House” creations to hand out to Republicans….. Or maybe a little yellow tractor from Caterpillar on a key chain….Or Abe Lincoln to remind one of two great presidents….
Early on the president hosted a cocktail party at the White House and a Super Bowl party in the name of bipartisanship: now I think the free peanuts for Republicans are off the table….
It seems to us at Peace and Freedom that the president and TheNew York Times don’t know what “bipartisansip” means.
We went to a congressional staff in the early 1970s and learned back then that bipartisanship means:
(1) At the start of every piece of legislation, both parties meet to discuss, share ideas and formulate, at least conceptually, new law.
(2) That both parties treat the other side with dignity and respect, sharing ideas in order to get the best for the American people.
(3) Both sides tell the truth and neither tries to seize the high ground and gloat over the other before the media.
In the case of this stimulus, President Obama talked a good game of bipartisanship but he was clueless on how to achieve it.
His Williamsburg, Va., spa speech and his evening press conference in the White House were both partisan speeches….which included ugly distortions and lies.
Nancy Pelosi shut out Republican input at the start of the process to build the stimulus bill and minutes before voting on final passage there were still complaints that the bill had been “hidden” from lawmakers and the American people intentioanlly by the Democratic side.
Mr. Obama’s personal “bipartisan outreach” consisted of:
–Efforts to give “goodies” to Republicans like a Super Bowl party, rides on Air Force One and a cocktail party at the White House as if they could be bought like children at Christams.
–“Cram this down throats” at the spa in Williamsburg.
–Campaign-style events at Peoria, Fort Myers, and Elkhart…
–Photo op sessions with Republicans in the House and then the Senate.
–Not one “roll up the sleeves” and negotiate session with both parties at the White House. The pseudo president in the movie “Dave” did a better job of this that Mr. Obama…..
–A big lie at Peoria: “Yesterday, Jim [Owens], the head of Caterpillar, said that if Congress passes our plan, this company will be able to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off,” Obama said in Peoria.
But when asked if the stimulus could do that, Owens said, “I think, realistically, no. The honest reality is we’re probably going to have more layoffs before we start hiring again.”