Barack Obama in a display of post-partisanship went to House Republicans and listened to their concerns and responded with a post-partisan/healing/bring us altogether response that we expect from our new President:
During his private meeting with congressional Democrats and Republicans on Friday, President Obama ended a philosophical debate over tax policy with the simple declaration that his opinion prevailed because “I won.”
Democrats called it a light-hearted moment that drew laughs around the table. Republicans said there was laughter but couldn’t recall if any of it came from their ranks.
Guys, could anyone imagine George W. Bush saying something like to Democrats in 2005? I can’t. It’s arrogance illustrated. And Keith Olbermann would name Bush “The Worst Person in the World” for it.
Also, Barack Obama had some interest in advising the GOP on their listening habits if they wanted good relations with the White House:
WASHINGTON — President Obama warned Republicans on Capitol Hill today that they need to quit listening to radio king Rush Limbaugh if they want to get along with Democrats and the new administration.
“You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done,” he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.
Thus we’re beginning to see Barack Obama’s big problem when it comes to bi-partisanship. He doesn’t know where to begin. He has never worked with Republicans on substantive matters. During the year Republicans controlled the Illinois legislature, Obama was an irrelevant backbencher. In the Senate, the one issue he worked a Republican on was relatively minor (earmark transparency.) Comments like today’s won’t help. If Obama can’t get serious Republican support for his stimulus plan, it could get it delayed, while vulnerable Democrats seek cover. If it doesn’t work, Democrats could left holding the bag if it goes wrong.
Plus, what a difference a day makes. Or at least President Obama seems to think so. He was widely expected to lift the Mexico City Policy of funding International organizations that support abortions, yesterday on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Instead, he demurred and issued a tepid statement about the need to reduce abortions. It looked like he was saving his political capital and avoiding too quickly dwindling the good will he had from most Americans, so he waits one day, but still does it:
WASHINGTON, Jan 23 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Friday lifted restrictions on U.S. government funding for groups that provide abortion services or counseling abroad, reversing a policy of his Republican predecessor George W. Bush.
The Democratic president’s decision was a victory for advocates of abortion rights on an issue that in recent years has become a tit-for-tat policy change each time the White House shifts from one party to the other.
When the ban was in place, no U.S. government funding for family planning services could be given to clinics or groups that offered abortion services or counseling in other countries, even if the funds for those activities came from non-U.S. government sources.
Ah, it’s so good to know that my tax dollars now go to organizations that are sending abortion missionaries overseas to spread abortion around the world.
Did waiting until January 23rd help Obama any? Slightly. Obama did it at 5 PM ET, buried on a Friday which is good for limiting media coverage, but the folks who were going to learn about this decision and understand it were never going to hear about it from the mainstream press. Plus, not doing it on January 22nd means not being engaged with a fight on the same day as the March for Life, but Obama’s still fighting the culture war on the left side of the equation.
However, realistically, this is a decision that could have waited much longer-at least until after the stimulus was passed. Most of these dollars have already been designated as to where they’re going. Obama spent political capital that he could have saved for a few more weeks which makes the move a mis-step.
Obama had no choice to do it eventually. He had to pay off his supporters in the abortion rights movement, who like many other industries are looking for a bailout. However, they could have waited a little longer.