What have we seen the last few weeks? Democrats caving to GOP demands and inserting useless tax cut provisions to appease them. Then they vote en masse against the stimulus in the House. Meanwhile, Obama hands yet another cabinet post to yet another Republican, this one a right-wing small-government ideologue who voted to eliminate the Commerce Department he will now head just a few short years ago. Then he gives a schizophrenic acceptance speech where he thanks New Hampshire’s governor for caving to his demands for a GOP replacement for his seat, while at the same time arguing that it’s time to get past “partisanship”. Oh, then he punches Obama in the face by denying him a critical cloture vote on the Senate version of the stimulus bill.
During the Bush years, the best interests of our country took a back seat to the GOP’s failed ideology. Right now, it looks like the best interests of our country are taking a back seat to the failed ideology of “bipartisanship.”
In response to what you are saying: Obama is, sadly, much to blame for giving the Republicans so much leverage. He defined the challenge as biparitsanship not saving the U.S. economy. Right now, he has only one chance to re-set this deteriorating debate: He needs to give a major speech on the economy, explain to Americans what is happening and what must be done. People will, as of now, still listen to him — and what else is his political capital for?
Speaking as a strong Obama supporter who put my energies and money into it, I am now very disillusioned with him. He spent the last two weeks empowering Republicans — including negotiating with them to get more into Senate and his administration and giving them virtual veto-power over his agenda — and also spending time on his personal cool-guy image (as in interview before the Super Bowl).
It’s completely beyond me how long it’s taking supposed smart people to come around to what has been so obvious for so long. You can not have paid close attention to Barack Obama since his 2004 DNC keynote and not get that this is where things were headed the whole time.
Update 2:30 PST:
A changed tone in Washington, if costless, would be a wonderful thing. But voters put Obama and Democratic majorities into office in order to get results. If Obama chooses to embrace Republicans even as they actively work against the interests of the vast majority of Americans, then we have to question his judgment. It takes two to change the tone. Republicans aren’t interested, and they’re using his overtures to undermine the American economy and the Obama presidency. Obama’s mandate is his to deploy or squander, and the speed with which he has lost control of the storyline on stimulus suggests that he has miscalculated in figuring how much magnanimity that mandate affords him. Whatever illusions the administration might have had that making nice on the stimulus bill would generate a comity that would carry over to other legislative priorities must now be shattered. This is what the process is going to look like for the next two years. Obama must either find a way to win or get as much enjoyment as he can out of the presidency while he has it. And winning needn’t mean an all out declaration of war on his GOP antagonists. But at this point Obama seems reluctant to twist arms at all. Given the stakes, this is inexcusable.
Uh, the time for evaluating Obama’s judgment was during the Democratic primary. Nothing he is doing now is different from what he promised he would do then.