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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Obama Finally Learns the Secret of Bipartisanship

     Ed Kilgore, and Ron Brownstein think that despite the impressiveness of the "Obama coalition" that has performed so well in the last 2 elections and with the plan to use it beyond Obama for the larger Democratic party in the future, in the near term at least, the Dems still need some "white, moderate votes" at least in the Congressional elections.

    "Brownstein does note the “Obama coalition” cannot produce regular congressional majorities, a structural problem that involves the small-state domination of the Senate, gerrymandering and “vote distribution” in the House, and the midterm turnout advantage of the GOP that isn’t going away any time soon."

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2013_02/have_demographics_liberated_ob042778.php

   For this reason, Kilgore argues that simply trying to be "bipartisan" however, is a losing strategy.

    "But there’s another question that is equally important: does Obama really have any choice? Will a more “moderate” policy direction or message produce anything other than confusion at a time of asymetrical polarization when there is virtually nothing he can do to force Republicans into serious negotiations? And even if he somehow can, will that produce policies that actually help the country, or just create an incoherent and self-canceling mess?"

    "I’m increasingly convinced that Democratic centrists would be better advised to promote their favored policies on the merits instead of as bipartisanship-bait, which at the moment just is not a credible approach. And if Democrats do indeed need to improve their performance among elements outside the “Obama coalition”—and in the short term, they do if they ever want a sizable congressional majority and control of a majority of states—they should focus on what these voters actually do and do not favor instead of assuming “moderate” rhetoric will do the trick."

     http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2013_02/have_demographics_liberated_ob042778.php

     I agree that trying to be bipartisan is a waste of time. More importantly though I think that the mainstream Democrats are now the centrist party. Basically the fight in American is between the Far Right and the mildly Left of Center. I don't really see today's Democratic agenda as in any sense on the "Extreme Left."

    More importantly still, is that we actually are getting bipartisanship now. Have you followed the immigration discussion lately? Even Limbuagh has implicitly embraced immigration reform-by accepting Rubio's plan. Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity have long accepted it after the election.

    In fact we've had enough bipartisanship already to pass tax hikes on the rich, Sandy relief, and raising the debt ceiling. This is more bipartisanship than we saw in the entire last two years.

    In 2009 Obama came to town talking postpartisanship and wanted very much to be bipartisan. Meanwhile the GOP planned the same day he gave a very bipartisan inauguration speech to oppose him categorically on everything even things they agreed with.

    Now he's given up on being conciliatory-to crystallize the change compare the speech he gave a week and a half. Hardly any "bipartisanship" at all. Yet he's getting tons of it now. There's a lesson in this.

    To get bipartisanship don't make it the goal. Reagan didn't back in the 80s yet Tip Oneil's Democratic Congress worked with him and gave way to him again and again.

    Bipartisanship is the result of when one of the parties is demonstrably stronger, not roughly of equal strength-which seldom happens anyway.

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