Obama's Sudden Bipartisan Shift

Wednesday, 19 Dec 2012 01:54 PM

By Bradley Blakeman

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What a difference an election makes.

When Obama came to power in 2009 he stated proudly, boldly, and matter of factly that he would “change the tone” in Washington. He promised to put an end to politics as usual and bring civility, bipartisanship and transparency to our nation's Capitol.

obama-on-wednesday-dec--19-2012.jpg
President Obama's sudden move toward bipartisanship appears disingenuous to some.
(Getty Images)
We all know now in retrospect that there was never a serious effort to change the tone, be bipartisan or transparent. Obama and his fellow Democrats knew quite well that they controlled all branches of government with high majorities so; there was no need to be bipartisan, transparent or congenial.

They passed 2,000-page bills on the economy and healthcare that no legislator could have possibly read or absorbed before casting their vote. Obama, Pelosi, and Reid not only muscled and rode roughshod over Republicans, they did it to anyone who got in their way. Even fellow Democrats felt their wrath when they did not march lockstep to Obama’s agenda.

Obama in the past two years only met once one on one with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and did not have standing meetings with opposition leaders of the House or Senate.

Don’t you find it a little disingenuous for Obama to now do what he promised to do when he took office? Now all of a sudden the president is “reaching out” to Republicans? Now he cares what they think and cares for their input? Why? The answer is he doesn’t want to but will have to in order for his legacy.

Republicans however must not hold a grudge or use divided government to get even or settle scores. While the public may have voted for the status quo in governance they will not tolerate it in governing. They need to leverage their new found White House “respect” to work with the president, Pelosi, and Reid to make real and lasting accomplishment for the good of the people.

Obama is the one stuck between a rock and a hard place with regard to the expiring Bush Tax Cuts for example. Obama is boxed in a corner between expiring tax cuts, a bad economy, high unemployment, unsustainable debt, out of control federal spending and his own misplaced but unwavering position of soaking the rich.

This is Obama’s “read my lips” moment.

In Obama’s mind, if he compromises on tax rates, he will violate his long-stated stand and risk inflaming his base and creating fodder for Republicans that could come back to bite him legislatively in 2014.

There must be a deal on taxes, spending and entitlements. The Republicans need to compromise and so must the Democrats. The president cannot afford not to make a deal. After a deal is made, the president has plenty of time to calm his base and do damage control. The same can be said for Republicans.

Republicans and Democrats have to realize now that there are certain things that must be done for the good of the people. It is not about politics. It is about our national economic survival.

If the economy improves both Republicans and Democrats who supported a bipartisan solution will benefit.

Had Obama practiced what he preached in 2009 he would not find himself in the spot he is in 2012.

Mr. President good policy is good politics. It is just that simple.

Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.


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