Obama's Outreach To Republicans

The Rove meme, dutilfully dictated to Fred Barnes, is that Obama's talk of bipartisanship is belied by his three years in the Senate. Anyone who believes that should read Hilzoy's post here. It's the definitive account based on the actual facts, which is why you won't hear much about it in the MSM. They're busy covering Jeremiah Wright, a man who, last time I checked, was on no ticket for public office. Money quote:

His legislation is often proposed with Republican co-sponsorship, which brings me to another point: he is bipartisan in a good way. According to me, bad bipartisanship is the kind practiced by Joe Lieberman. Bad bipartisans are so eager to establish credentials for moderation and reasonableness that they go out of their way to criticize their (supposed) ideological allies and praise their (supposed) opponents. They also compromise on principle, and when their opponents don't reciprocate, they compromise some more, until over time their positions become indistinguishable from those on the other side.

This isn't what Obama does. Obama tries to find people, both Democrats and Republicans, who actually care about a particular issue enough to try to get the policy right, and then he works with them. This does not involve compromising on principle. It does, however, involve preferring getting legislation passed to having a spectacular battle. (This is especially true when one is in the minority party, especially in this Senate: the chances that Obama's bills will actually become law increase dramatically when he has Republican co-sponsors.)

In many ways, it's hard to find any of Obama's thoughtful legislative initiatives that did not involve outreach to Republicans.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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