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July 21, 2009
Hey, Barry...about that 'post partisan' presidency you promised
William McGurn in the Wall Street Journal has an excellent Op-ed today where he traces the evolution of the phrase "post partisan" which was all the rage last summer with the press when they were pimping Obama's candidacy but that now has devolved into something totally different.
In recent weeks, Obama aides have redefined post partisanship to include the amazing formulation that Republican votes on bills are not necessary for that to be true, only "Republican ideas" incorporated into a bill.
The president himself endorsed this redefinition during Rose Garden remarks delivered after a Senate committee passed a health-care bill on a strictly party-line vote. Perhaps only someone who truly embraces "the audacity of hope" could see healthy bipartisanship at work in the complete lack of GOP votes. Here's how he put it: "It's a plan that was debated for more than 50 hours and that, by the way, includes 160 Republican amendments-a hopeful sign of bipartisan support for the final product."
Let's leave aside specific complaints from Republicans, who note that the "Republican" amendments the president cited are mostly technical in nature. The larger point is that the White House's new definitions of bipartisanship are just like the fake "jobs saved or created" numbers Mr. Obama used to justify the stimulus at a time when the economy was in fact shedding tens of thousands of jobs. And the press should call him on it.
Honest reporting would seem especially important at a time when the future of a large and vital segment of the American economy is at stake. In addition to higher costs, other Republican objections to the president's health-care proposal include the establishment of a government-run insurance plan that will compete with private insurers-and the refusal to equalize the tax treatment between individually purchased and employer-provided health insurance. In all these areas, the president has shown no interest in compromise.
McGurn quite rightly exposes Obama for the partisan he truly is:
Six months into the president's term, you don't read much about this post-partisan future anymore. It may be because on almost every big-ticket legislative item (the stimulus, climate change, and now health care), Mr. Obama has been pushing a highly ideological agenda with little (and in some cases zero) support from across the aisle. Yet far from stating the obvious-that sitting in the Oval Office is a very partisan president-the press corps is allowing Mr. Obama to evade the issue by coming up with novel redefinitions.
Read the whole thing and discover why even some Democrats are criticizing Obama for his overt partisanship.