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There's a tricky new talking point making the rounds, and it is this: the Republicans' blatant obstructionism is President Obama's failure at bipartisanship.  The American people, according to this meme, are getting upset that Barack Obama just can't seem to get Republicans in Congress to like his policies.  Only in our twisted beltway culture could anyone believe that this is true.  Let's look at the reality of John McCain, the 2008 election, and the real issues that led to the Democratic sweep.

Huffington Post has an article today detailing former Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee critisizing President Obama for the Republicans in the House and Senate's refusal to support the economic recovery bill.  Chafee is quoted as saying:

The whole appeal of the Obama candidacy was post-partisan

Was that really the whole appeal?  What really was going on way back then during the election?

Chafee's own endorsement of Barack Obama was reported by the New York Times in February 2008.  Here's what Chaffee had to say:

I believe Senator Obama is the best candidate to restore American credibility, to restore our confidence to be moral and to bring people together to solve the complex issues such as the economy, the environment and global stability

Post-partisanship?  Not mentioned.  Chafee mentions bringing people together, but snarkiness aside he doesn't mention Republicans.  Sure the Congress is made up of people, but there are a whole lot of people outside of Washington that President Obama has been bringing together.  He is bringing in experts and listening to a wide range of opinions on the economy, healthcare, counter-terrorism, diplomacy, science, you know, the things that are important to our future.  Making House Republicans happy?  Not so important.

If we wanted bipartisanship, why elect Barack Obama anyway?  What about those other two, the self-described mavericks John McCain and Sarah Palin?  Obama was the most liberal Senator of 2007.  McCain, on the other hand, ran full out on his bipartisan cred.  

NPR April 2008

[H]is work alongside Democrats is what McCain is best known for, whether it's teaming up with Sen. Russ Feingold on campaign finance reform, working with Sen. Joe Lieberman on global warming, or as part of the "Gang of 14" senators — both Democrats and Republicans — to broker a compromise on President Bush's judicial nominations

CBS July 2008

[McCain] has made his willingness to cross the political aisle a central theme in his campaign for the White House in an era when voters are plainly tired of partisan gridlock in the nation's capital.

Washinton Times March 2008

Sen. John McCain's record of working with Democrats easily outstrips Sen. Barack Obama's efforts with Republicans, according to an analysis by The Washington Times of their legislative records.

There are three examples from a quick google search.  The "liberal" media overwhelmingly agreed that John McCain's record of bipartisanship was far superior.  

So why did the people elect not just Barack Obama, but also an overwhelming majority of Democratic Congressmen and Senators?  The economy, stupid.  62% of voters told exit pollers that the economy was their top issue, the highest percentage since 1980.  

Nearly all voters agreed the economy was in poor shape. Eight in 10 said they were worried the economic crisis would harm their family’s future, while about half said they were "very worried." At least four in 10 said their family's financial situation worsened since 2004. And a stunning two-thirds expressed concern about affording health care.

The people voted in the last election for someone to fix the economy, and they voted for Democrats.  Ergo, the people trust Democrats to fix the economy.  It might be nice to have more votes on the stimulus bill, but I can't imagine why I should care.  We want healthcare reform, we want economic solutions, we want jobs and security and peace.  If the Republicans want to come along with the majority, then we'll have bipartisanship.  If not, I'm certainly not going to shed a tear over it.  And neither will any other American who voted for Barack Obama, and a whole lot of Americans who didn't.  So squash this meme.  We elected Barack Obama to solve problems, not to play games with the embittered opposition.

Originally posted to gooners on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 06:10 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tip jar. (10+ / 0-)

    Obama won Chafee's Rhode Island by 18 points.  You'd think he'd have a clue why.

    We would never shoot nuclear weapons at Decepticons.

    by gooners on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 06:12:30 PM PDT

  •  Oh well, to a certain extent ... (8+ / 0-)

    I think Obama had this coming. Post-partisan unity was a major theme of his campaign. I thought it was a bad idea at the time for reasons that have largely been vindicated since the election.

    But this kind of talk won't hurt Obama unless he takes it as a sign that he needs to make more concessions to Republicans.

  •  And John McCain is reduced to sniping (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and acting like a coot over everything Obama does.

    "Forever is composed of nows." Emily Dickinson

    by Leftovers on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 06:24:02 PM PDT

  •  Amen (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gooners, alliebear

    Just because our almost-saint president bangs his head against that brick wall, in no way shape or form does that mean that that was any material part of his appeal to voters.

    As I recall, the polls pretty unanimously said that the coming Great Depression II and getting the hell out of Iraq were on the top of the list of voter concerns.

    Only in the R upside down world must O turn his back on what he promised to do for the country, because there is nothing more important than getting Rs to vote with him.

  •  WE would have voted for anyone (0+ / 0-)

    with a D next to their name. Pres. Obama won places like NE-02 precisely because he promised to be above petty squabbling. Every time he reaches out to the R's he gets love from the Independents and the moderate Republicans - the people we need to elect Democrats. Sure, blood in the street is better theater but it doeesn't elect Democrats and it isn't good government.

    We will fight. We will win. This machine kills fascists.

    by Elvis meets Nixon on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 08:18:03 PM PDT

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