American Politics – Debating Partisanship

The spirit of The Capitol has been bipartisanship...

I read an item today by Associated Press’s Charles Babington about a meeting between President Barrack Obama and Republican Senators.  It was a lunch.  The meeting appeared to go as expected with a number of the Senators having a serious go at Obama and perhaps to a degree it showed that the President is not as “thick-skinned” as perhaps he would like us all to believe.

What interested me in this event and reporting by Babington is the subject of both sides accusing the other of failing to support bipartisanship. The Obama Administration certainly has complained, and to a large degree I have agreed, that the strong far-right, Tea Party and even religious right were the main instigators of polarizing American politics over the last 10 to 12 years.  That they will claim scandal, abuse, criticize and show obstinacy in every move – simply because it is “the other side”.  Simply put the Right (I consider myself centre-right) had to a degree embraced radical politics).

The item showed an interesting point, that many of the Republican Party Senators complained that Obama and his Administration that has been going it alone, that the Health Bill, Finance Bills and other important decisions were railroaded through both Houses in the Capitol because they had the numbers.  In other words, breached the political vision of what is American Governance by open debate and attempting to find consensus on important issues.   That for me is a strong accusation and one that needs to be looked at.   During the epic process of assuring his candidacy for the Presidency, Obama frequently condemned partisanship and talked about the needs and importance of consensus and though I am not American, live on the other side of the Atlantic and am from the right, these arguments of making a change rang loud.    Babington’s item has instilled doubts.

Charles Babington, veteran political reporter and journalist

Babington’s item is called “Obama gets an earful in clash with GOP senators” (linked via Yahoo News)  and as per my policy I recommend you read the original item in full.

To highlight the areas that interest me are:

The item started by showing that Obama asked for the meeting because it “would ease partisan tensions in Congress” and it probably did not.   This remark implies that Obama is doing the good thing.

That “GOP senators accused him of duplicity, audacity and unbending partisanship“, OK that got my attention.

“Bob Corker of Tennessee, a first-term senator who feels the administration undermined his efforts to craft a bipartisan financial regulation bill”.  

“Four people who were in the room said Obama bristled and defended his administration’s handling of negotiations. On the way out, Corker said, Obama approached him and both men repeated their main points.”  

“I told him there was a tremendous disconnect from his words and the actions of his administration,” Corker said.”

Republicans hope for big gains, maybe even control of the House. They are banking on voter resentment of Obama initiatives such as the new health care law, and many see little point in cooperating with Obama and Democratic lawmakers at this point.”   –  I found this a score toward Obama actually, if anything hypocritical in that the accusations towards the current Administration is that they have the votes so they do not talk and thus the schoolyard rebuke of well in that case we will not talk to you also!

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., complained to Obama about the partisan genesis of the health care law, enacted without a single Republican vote in Congress. Administration aides repeatedly have said GOP input was welcome, but none within reason turned up“. 

“What’s really important is not so much the symbolism of bipartisanship as it is the action of bipartisanship,” Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., told reporters later.

Citing the scant or zero Republican support for the health care law, financial regulation bill and last year’s financial stimulus, Thune said, “What we haven’t seen is sort of the matchup between the rhetoric and the actions to follow through.”

President Obama called for Change and a return to Bipartisanship

Returning to the relationship this has with my blog on radicalism and context, there is no doubt that polarization in American politics has grown worse.  Much of what makes the US Democratic model work so well is the foundations that it was created on along with a capacity in the end to join together and work towards a goal – once the elections are over……. .  To do otherwise and the system falls down to radical elements.

I certainly placed, and still place, the major component of radicalism injected into American politics from the far-right as the far-left is overly fringe and just not in the American psyche to get a hold.  Though this article from Babington is very interesting and shows that arguments and accusations point in both directions, there is nothing to change yet my perspective greatly but nevertheless is further disappointing to me.

About donny2811
Trots Nederlands, goed gereist en een begerige politieke centrist met een speciale afkeer voor basissen.

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