Talk of bipartisanship is all the rage in hyper-partisan Washington, and President Obama is leading the charge. In a surprise appearance at a White House briefing, Obama called for Republicans and Democrats to transcend "petty politics" to get things done. But critics said the friendly talk included no hint of actual compromise. Is Obama reaching out, or just using the popular idea of bipartisanship to revive his stalled agenda? (Watch an AP report about Obama's bipartisanship efforts)
'Bipartisanship' never means compromise: Obama's calling for bipartisanship, but he really means "do it my way," says Mark Knoller at CBS News. Like all presidents having trouble getting their legislation through Congress — Reagan, Clinton, Bush I — Obama's offering to listen to the opposition and use their best ideas. But what they all really wanted was "surrender" by the other party.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
Some presidents listen to the opposition. Not Obama: Saying that Obama wants the GOP to "surrender" merely "acknowledges the obvious," says Carol Platt Liebau in Townhall. But "Obama's insistence on 'his way' is unparalleled among modern presidents." Reagan and Bush forged "substantive compromises;" Obama thinks "verbal civility" is enough, and sometimes he can't even manage that.
Obama HAS compromised and the GOP still won't budge: Obama "doesn't want [Republicans] to surrender," says John Cole in Balloon Juice. In the face of unanimous GOP obstructionism, Obama has unilaterally included "so many of their demands into legislation that the left wing is pissed" — and he still gets no votes. His way? Obama would be happy if Republicans "would just vote for bills that they co-sponsored."
Create an account with the same email registered to your subscription to unlock access.