Obama’s Bipartisanship

Photo courtesy of WhiteHouse.gov.


Whenever someone tells me that Obama has reneged on his commitment to bipartisanship, I always come back at them with some less articulate version of what Nate Silver is saying here:

…bipartisanship, as Obama intended the term, should not necessarily be confused for “compromise”. Rather, it implied behaving in good-faith — hearing out opinions from different sides of the aisle and identifying the best ideas regardless of their partisan origin. Bipartisanship, to Obama, was a process rather than an outcome. He could plausibly have been acting in a bipartisan manner, even if he hadn’t gotten many Republicans to go along with his agenda.

In his election night victory speech, Obama repeated a line he had used throughout the campaign: “There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.” I think as president, Obama has fulfilled the promise he made in that line. But listening to someone is one thing; doing what they say is another entirely.

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