But he had to sit on his hands for reasons he couldn't disclose. "When you get to be on this side of the desk," he told me, "you'll understand."
President Barack Obama is reaching that understanding from his side of the desk as he gets ready to finally sign a hard-fought stimulus package. The struggle demolished whatever visions of bipartisanship he held before taking office. Republicans are still going to be Republicans, Democrats will still be Democrats, and partisan politics is here to stay. Towards the end, President Obama learned he would have to play the game by the old rules, as evidenced in his first prime-time press conference:
Now, my administration inherited a deficit of over $1 trillion, but because we also inherited the most profound economic emergency since the Great Depression, doing little or nothing at all will result in even greater deficits, even greater job loss, even greater loss of income, and even greater loss of confidence.And what about partisan bickering? Just as pork is in the eye of the beholder, so is partisanship, as Nancy Peolsi indicated to Katie Couric:
Those are deficits that could turn a crisis into a catastrophe, and I refuse to let that happen. As long as I hold this office, I will do whatever it takes to put this economy back on track and put this country back to work.
We had an election and it was about a direction for our country. We have strong philosophical difference in the Congress. This isn't inner-party bickering; this is major difference of opinion on philosophy, on how our country should go forward.So much for post-partisan America. If you want to be post-partisan, don't join political parties. Don't vote for them. But sadly, that's next to impossible given political realities. The president is learning all about it on the job.
We reject the failed Bush Administration economic policies, which got us where we are today. The proposals that the Republicans put forth were more of the same. We will not go back.