Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Bipartisanship is Marketing
To those who believe that Obama's attempts at bipartisanship demonstrate abandonment of political advantage (as if the stimulus bill would sail through if not for Obama's outreach to Republicans?) or misguided (in the manner of David Broder's apparent belief that a solution reached through compromise is always better, even when one side to an argument is clearly wrong), I say the following: When a politician refers to "bipartisanship", the politician should be seen as either admitting that he doesn't have the political clout to carry an issue without help from the minority party, or because he feels that the public wants him to appear bipartisan.
The difficulty for Obama is that he's dealing with a minority party that has decided (probably correctly) that its power lies in obstructionism, and the media is packed with people like Broder who can't or won't admit that you don't need to compromise in the face of obstructionism. Granted, had Obama not played up to the public belief that bipartisanship is a good thing and that he would be a bipartisan leader, he would be better positioned to say, "This isn't the time for bipartisanship." But had he done that, he probably wouldn't be President.