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February 19, 2009

“Bipartisanship” Still Makes David Broder’s Leg Tingle

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broderresized.jpgSomeone. Anyone. Please make him stop.

Some consider Obama’s wooing of Republicans a rookie mistake, a measure of his naivete. Others focus on the Republicans and fault them for obduracy in denying Obama all but three of their votes on the stimulus bill. The critics agree that the effort at bipartisanship should end.

I hope Obama isn’t listening. It’s the worst advice he has received.

It starts from a false premise: that the stimulus bill proves the failure of outreach to Republicans.In fact, had Obama not negotiated successfully with Republican Sens. Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter and met most of their terms, his bill would have died. This was a success for bipartisanship, not a failure.

In other words, Obama completely caving to the demands of the only three sane Republicans in the entire US Congress is proof of "bipartisanship." Interesting.

If Obama writes off the Republicans in advance, he will end up with a watered-down bill — or nothing.

Only the Republicans can save us from watered-down bills.

This is even more true when it comes to health care. We saw what happened when the Clintons rebuffed John Chafee and other potential Republican allies; without their help, the Clintons could not even bring a bill to the floor.

So true. If those Clintons hadn’t been so mean and partisan, we would’ve had universal health care.

At the urging of Representative Newt Gingrich, their deputy leader, House Republicans are trying to keep health care legislation from reaching the floor in a form that could pass.

For David Broder, bipartisanship is really just doing what Republicans want.


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