Monday, February 16, 2009

Winning, Losing and Bipartisanship

So what became of this bipartisanship that Barack Obama likes to talk about? CNN reports that Obama's defeated rival isn't getting the bipartisan love he and his party feel they deserve:
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said Obama was off to "a bad beginning," out of step with the vow of bipartisanship both men made after Obama beat out the Republican presidential nominee for the White House in November.
"It was a bad beginning because it wasn't what we promised the American people, what President Obama promised the American people, that we would sit down together," McCain told CNN's "State of the Union With John King."
Who is this "we" of which McCain speaks? The two competing candidates for the presidency? As I recall, they responded quite differently to the financial crisis that erupted in September, and voters put Barack Obama in the White House based on that difference in their responses.
After all, as Tom Toles reminds us, politics is still a competitive sport:
Writing in the New York Times, Frank Rich notes that Obama's opponents, when not complaining, are claiming victory in the face of legislative defeat:
But the Republicans are busy high-fiving themselves and celebrating "victory." Even in defeat, they are still echoing the 24/7 cable mantra about the stimulus’s unpopularity. This self-congratulatory mood is summed up by a Wall Street Journal columnist who wrote that "the House Republicans’ zero votes for the Obama presidency’s stimulus 'package' is looking like the luckiest thing to happen to the G.O.P.’s political fortunes since Ronald Reagan switched parties."
As John McCain said the closing weeks of the campaign, "My friends, we’ve got them just where we want them."

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