There is a very strange dynamic at work here at DKos. Laments and rants abound about the futility of bipartisanship. The proprietor of this website is leading the charge wondering aloud about how that bipartisanship is working for the president. Even today, Kos is calling the attempt reach out 'misguided'.
But this and every diary that highlights the 'ridiculous' notion of bipartisanship is making the point of why it's not 'misguided' or anything of the sort.
One needs to look no further than the weekly polling currently touted on the front page.
Understand...every time the Republicans rebuff an overture by President Obama it only serves to further marginalize the party that is completely out of touch with the public.
And these numbers are not unique to the Research 2000 poll.
A CBS News poll released February 5, for instance, found 81 percent of Americans said Obama is reaching out to congressional Republicans, while just 41 percent said the congressional Republicans were looking for bipartisanship.
"There have been a number of different surveys that have shown that Americans perceive that Obama is extending a hand of cooperation, a hand that the Republican leadership is not reciprocating — that’s very striking in the data," said Mark Blumenthal, the editor of Pollster.com, who also noted that Obama has managed to remain popular even with some Republicans.
These numbers seem to bear out that the public is very much interested in people working together.
The question at hand...Do you really think these numbers would be so striking if Obama had taken a stringently partisan tone? You can bet that if Obama started off spitting fire, the GOP would be out in front of the cameras every day decrying that Obama is nothing but ideologically driven left wing nut job [edit: and their bluster would have a much greater chance to resonate with the public]. But by making the gesture, Obama is undermining the Republican talent for taking every opportunity to bluster about divisive issues. They are instead demonstrating for the world that they are the party of 'no', the party of 'obstruction', the party in decline.
Republicans have the right to say no. I'm glad President Obama is giving them that chance. Now they have to face the consequences.
Update [2009-2-14 16:22:32 by MLDB]: It is also helpful to take the longer view on this. These initial knee-jerk reactions by the GOP notwithstanding, Obama is trying to build relationships for the long haul:
You know, when I made a series of overtures to the Republicans -- going over to meet with both Republican caucuses; you know, putting three Republicans in my Cabinet, something that is unprecedented; making sure that they were invited here to the White House to talk about the economic recovery plan -- all those were not designed simply to get some short-term votes. They were designed to try to build up some trust over time. And I think that as I continue to make these overtures, over time hopefully that will be reciprocated.
Obama is showing he will be in a stronger position in the long run.