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The new politics: Obama takes post-partisan theme, runs with it

President Obama, in his 2012 reelection bid, likely will push the need to get beyond the partisan divide -- as he did in 2008. The GOP, meanwhile, will point up what they see as the president's failings since he first sounded that theme.

April 04, 2011|By Michael Muskal | Los Angeles Times

“We knew that how we approached international policy, trying to stand on our own without thinking about how we could mobilize the international community as a force multiplier, that that was not going to work given the incredible number of challenges that we faced,” Obama said. “And most of all, I guess we understood that unless we changed our politics, unless we changed how we did business, that the same problems that we had been talking about decade after decade would perpetuate themselves; that we had to undergo a transformation in how we thought about citizenship and how we thought about each other, and that we had to get beyond some of the old divisions that were holding us back as a people. And so what our campaign tried to do was to resuscitate that notion that there’s something fundamental that binds us together, despite all our differences.”

Post-partisanship sounds good, but Obama’s calls for a new politics have sometimes been greeted by boos – especially from some in his own party who argue that was willing to sacrifice their principles for compromise and a political victory, as in the case of healthcare reform. It was the White House that pushed for almost any kind of bill even if it fell short of what Obama had hoped for in the campaign.

The next big test of Obama’s politics will come soon as Democrats and Republicans wrangle over budget cuts this week as the parties try to avoid a government shutdown, the opening round of months of economic infighting.

Michael.muskal@latimes.com
twitter.com/LATimesmuskal

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