| Bipartisanship didn't last long in Obama's first 100 days
| Monday, April 27, 2009
|By Dana Bash
But the slew of legislative achievements during Obama's first 100 days have come at the cost of bipartisanship.
The president's stimulus package passed with three Republican votes.
Obama's budget blueprint passed the House of Representatives and the Senate without a single GOP vote. And the $410 billion bill to fund the government turned into a partisan clash.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, opened the Senate in January declaring that "when we allow ourselves to retreat into the tired, well-worn trenches of partisanship, we diminish our ability to accomplish real change."
Now, that feels like ancient history.
So does Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's more hopeful tone in January.
"If we see sensible, bipartisan proposals, Republicans will choose bipartisan solutions over partisan failures every time," said McConnell of Kentucky.
In the blame game over the breakdown of bipartisanship, Republicans said Democrats shut them out and never really considered GOP ideas. Democrats accused Republicans of making a political calculation to be the party of "no."
But the real reason for the partisan divide may be genuine philosophical differences, especially when it comes the No. 1 issue during the president's first 100 days -- the economy.
Republicans working to recover from their drubbing during the last two elections said they are trying to return to their small government roots. That means opposing Obama's economic prescriptions.
"We've been throwing trillions of dollars around like it was Monopoly money," McConnell said in the heat of the spending bill debate.
"A way of looking at it is we have spent more in the first 23 or 24 days of this administration, in other words, charged more, than it cost post-9/11 for the war Afghanistan, the war in Iraq and the response to Katrina already."
Yet most Democrats fundamentally believe government spending is the only way to jump-start the economy.
"We're going to have to spend some money to get out of this hole. The government's the only body that has any money," Reid said.
|posted by citizen jerk @ 3:30 PM