While I’m reasonably happy with the passed version of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, I’m still having deja vu all over again (to steal Yogi Berra’s phrase) regarding Obama’s attempt at bipartisanship. Virtually every Democrat, regardless if they were liberal or conservative, and a bunch of Democratic-leaning independents that I know, not to mention the entire Democratic-oriented blogosphere (which includes people who are definitely not liberals or leftists) realized what would happen with Obama’s call for bipartisanship:
- Democrats would negotiate away lots of things, even before the negotiations actually begin.
- Republicans would screech and fling shit around like a bunch of crazed monkeys.
- Democrats would make even more concessions.
- Republicans would then refuse to support the bill anyway.
It reached the point where bloggers were sarcastically using phrases like “No one could have predicted…” and “Lucy and the football” (a reference to the character of Lucy in the cartoon Peanuts who always promises Charlie Brown that she won’t pull away the football when he’s trying to kick, and then proceeds to do so). This was so goddamn obvious.
What I don’t get is why the Obama administration actually believed that the Republicans would behave any differently than they have in the last decade. Ever. I don’t believe for a moment that this was some deep strategy: Obama and company got hosed, and Pelosi pulled their nuts out of the fire (chief of staff Emanuel has admitted as much).
What makes this all the more astonishing is that both Obama and Emanuel have spent considerable time in politics. How could they have not seen this coming? Did they really believe their own bullshit?
But at least they seem to have learned their lessons. If Jamison Foser is right, the national political press corps(e?) still hasn’t.
That’s why I referred to deja vu: this is prognostication that was far worse than the run-up to the Iraqi War. Iraq was much harder–people were screwed by 9/11, it’s a different culture and country and so on. But how could pundits miss the predictable and predicted Republican response, which occurred literally in their backyard? There are no cultural differences, no language barriers. They still, with few exceptions, realize that, with this GOP, there can be no bipartisan efforts.
The mind boggles.
So why do you think this is so?