Postpartisanship (Born, November 4, 2008 — Died, February 9, 2009)
Postpartisanship, which was born only a few short months ago and was destined to usher in a new era of American politics and government died yesterday in a traumatic accident in the White House East Room where President Barack Obama was holding his first news conference as President.
President Obama, while denying any responsibility for the incident, nonetheless could be seen and heard at the scene attacking Republicans and downplaying the need for their input in his stimulus package as he blamed all the country’s problems on the eight years of the Bush Administration.
When postpartisanship, who was seated in the minds of the assembled reporters and pundits, heard those comments early in the press conference, it had a violent seizure and collapsed in those same reporter’s and pundits minds. Efforts to revive it were unsuccessful.
This has been a bad few weeks for the Partisanship family. Just last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi caused a similar accident with Postpartisanship’s cousin, Bipartisanship, when she said at the House Democrats’ retreat in Williamsburg, “Washington seems consumed in the process argument of bipartisanship, when the rest of the country says they need this bill,” seemingly sweeping aside the Obama administration’s initial desire to have broad GOP support for the plan.
Bipartisanship was pronounced dead at the scene.
Postpartisanship and Bipartisanship are survived by the many foster parents who tried in vain to keep this myth alive. They include Katie Couric, Harry Smith and Maggie Rodriguez of CBS News and the CBS Morning Show, Brian Williams, Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira of NBC News and the Today Show, Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos of Good Morning America and ABC News, the entire team at CNN, the New York Times editorial page, Chris Mathews of MSNBC, E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post and scores of liberal commentators and pundits from around the country as well as many ivory tower Ivy League professors and academics and many liberal think-tanks including the Brookings Institute.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Well, that didn’t take too long. The Era of Postpartisanship lasted exactly 21 days. It coincides with President Obama’s frustration with actually having to govern and fulfilling his promise of bipartisanship because the going got a little tough. And Republicans finally found their voice and stood together against this $800 billion plus Christmas tree laden with the Democrat’s wish list that rewards its many constituencies but creates very few jobs or does much stimulating of the economy.
It also indicates that the man now in charge of President Obama’s agenda in the White House is not Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. The man now in charge is his political guru and the man most responsible for his election, David Axelrod.
Axelrod has dusted off the old playbook that worked so well during the campaign. It has two components. First, blame everything that happened over the last eight years on George Bush. And that means everything, forgetting that the economic problems we are currently experiencing have a thousand fathers.
The second part of the Axelrod strategy is to travel the country and do what Obama does best, campaign.
Barack Obama doesn’t seem to like governing. In the Illinois Legislature, his favorite voting position was to vote “present” and there is no major legislation that he authored and worked through the process to completion.
Elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, he did very little governing there and his Senate record is as thin as a strand of spaghetti. There are no pieces of legislation that bear his name and he was a backbencher at best, albeit one who could give a great speech aided by the teleprompter. He seems to have spent his time in the Senate preparing to run for President and being careful never to take any stands that could, in the words of Bill Clinton when dodging the draft, ruin his “future political viability”.
So when you are weak in one area, you play to your strengths. In Obama’s case, his strength is campaigning and we can expect a steady diet of campaign appearances for the next four years as Axelrod’s “permanent campaign” substitutes for governing.
Democrats will haul poor George Bush out frequently for virtual public floggings as the voters increasingly question their plans. They will say they have to spend us into oblivion because of the mess Obama “inherited,” as he said many times last night. Well, Mr. President, every president “inherits” problems. That’s the nature of the job. If he wanted to start with a clean slate, he should have chosen another line of work.
But if Axelrod and Obama think that strategy can carry them for four years then and on to re-election in 2012, I have a bloated stimulus package and a bank bailout I would like to sell them.
George Bush is gone, and at some point President Obama must take ownership of the problems facing America because everything and anything that happens now is on his watch. Blaming your predecessor for four years won’t cut it.
And the American people are not fools; they will only listen to this campaign rhetoric for so long. At some point, they actually expect Obama to govern, however inconvenient he thinks it is.
Perhaps he should heed the advice of his favorite President, Abraham Lincoln, who famously stated, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”.
Time to cowboy up and start governing, Mr. President.