Obama, Rahm And The Stimulus Outreach
Not everyone is thrilled with President Obama’s insistence that reaching across the isle to Republicans is of the utmost importance. I, however, believe it is crucial. It is one of the reasons (the many reasons) I voted for Mr. Obama. And I have no love for Republicans as a whole. Particularly those who still believe the Bush Administration was a good thing for America and the world. Those individuals and myself live in two different countries of mind. But… We do share the same country so far as physical geography goes and we share the same laws and neighbors. And I would love to see that country be one where we are adult enough to work together to help sustain what has the potential to be the greatest country in the world. Not a superior country, mind you, but an admirable, enviable one. An example for others, as it were. A role model. We have not been that for some time now. Not that all is bad in Shangrila, but we have some serious growing up to do. And I strongly admire that President Obama has been trying to take us there. No easy task. No short road. And I’m glad to see that, when push comes to shove, he will eventually do the right thing and stand up for his own beliefs when he must. It’s a shame the stimulus package turned out not to be the area where the two parties could come together. Though not for lack of trying.
Following an interview with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, the Wall Street Journal reports:
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel conceded President Barack Obama and his team lost control of the message for selling their massive stimulus bill last week, fixating on bipartisanship while Republicans were savaging the legislation...
Mr. Emanuel owned up to one mistake: message. What he called the outside game slipped away from the White House last week, when the president and others stressed bipartisanship rather than job creation as they moved toward passing the measure. White House officials allowed an insatiable desire in Washington for bipartisanship to cloud the economic message a point coming clear in a study being conducted on what went wrong and what went right with the package, he said.
But, he said, Washington should have learned something about Mr. Obama as well, with the shift from bipartisan overtures to outright mockery of his opposition.
He has an open hand, Mr. Emanuel said. But he has a very firm handshake.
The Huffington Post adds:
According to Emanuel, the White House “lost” control of the message for four days. He suggested that the president decided to change his tone after the House vote, when not a single Republican voted for the bill…
When the president spoke to House Democrats at a February 5th retreat in Williamsburg, Virginia, he’d moved from courting Republican support to attacking them as obstructionists who clung to “”false theories of the past.”
A top aide added:
“The President’s always going to reach out to people in both parties. I mean we have these upcoming summits, one on fiscal reform, and another one on health care. There’s gonna be Republican participation, and that will never change.”