Tuesday :: Feb 17, 2009

Redefine Partisanship

by Deacon Blues

It's been mentioned around these parts for a couple of weeks now, but one of the best ways for Obama to operate with a cabal intent on obstructing progress is to shine a light on them, marginalize them, and work around them directly with governors. The New York Times today notes that while the House GOP marched in lockstep with the far right punditocracy, Republican governors found a willing partner in the Obama administration. In fact, if it were up to these GOP governors, the final stimulus bill would have been several times larger.

You build your alliances where you find allies. GOP governors can't afford the detached and mindless rhetoric of GOP legislators, who only hear the voices of the wingnut base in their districts and right wing media. Obama can reach beyond this firewall of opposition by building a political alliance with the nation's governors over the next four years, all of whom have unmet needs and would look for federal help with as few strings as possible to balance the books and show their voters they can get more from DC. For his part, Obama can highlight how extremist the GOP caucus is in each chamber by pointing out how his policies are aimed at helping states rather than growing the federal government, and telling voters he's not here to play the same old games of district-by-district pork and earmarks, but to actually help people and create jobs directly on Main Street, through the governors.

This doesn't mean more of the same bipartisanship blather from Team Obama, but rather a redefinition of it. There is nothing wrong with partisanship; even our founders knew this. Partisanship is all about convincing voters you have a better agenda than the other side, and then rolling over your opposition. Rather than setting this up as Democrats versus Republicans, Obama has a chance to recast the political scene as a battle between those who want the status quo for the elite few versus those who want progress and problem-solving for the many, namely Main Street. Membership in the second group knows no party ID, and both the White House and these GOP governors should not shy away from touting the perils of being held hostage to an extremist do-nothing cabal bent on destroying the village.

Deacon Blues :: 6:11 AM :: Comments (5) :: Digg It!