If achieving bipartisanship takes priority over the actual content of policy, Republicans are handed a powerful weapon. In theory, they can keep moving the bipartisan bar indefinitely. And each concession to their sensibilities threatens the solidarity in the president's own camp.
That's why last week's unanimous House Republican opposition to the stimulus plan was so important. For the most part, the Republicans escaped attack for rank partisanship. Instead, what should have been hailed as an administration victory was cast in large parts of the media as a kind of defeat: Obama had placed a heavy emphasis on bipartisanship, and he failed to achieve it.
This week's FAIR radio show discusses how,
after several weeks of media debate, the House passed a nearly $900 billion economic stimulus package. White House efforts to reach out to Republicans resulted in exactly zero GOP voters, leaving some in the media to wonder if Obama was failing to deliver on his promises of bipartisanship.
Hear "what about the stimulus debate was entirely off the mark" on CounterSpin: "Dean Baker on Stimulus Package" (1/30/09)