Wednesday, December 22, 2010

POLITICS - More Hints of Bipartisanship?

"Shift in Support for Nuke Treaty Marks Policy Win for Obama" PBS Newshour Transcript 12/21/2010 (includes video)


GWEN IFILL (Newshour): And it is kind of striking that, in a couple of weeks, when we saw a tax cut bill go through that the Republicans didn't stay lockstep on, don't ask, don't tell, and now this, one wonders whether this is the new face of bipartisanship or whether I would be getting carried away to say that.

NAFTALI BENDAVID, The Wall Street Journal: Well, the White House is certainly pushing the idea that we do have a new era of bipartisanship, that the president is reaching out more, and that Republicans, now that their presence in the Capitol is growing, realize that they have to take some responsibility for governing.

Personally, I would take a wait-and-see attitude. I'm not convinced that, from now on, we're in this new golden era. But it is kind of remarkable that the president -- the president's party really took a beating in the last election, just a few weeks ago, and, since then, he's kind of rolled up one success after another.

There was the tax cut bill that you mentioned. There was the food safety bill. There was the repeal of don't ask, don't tell. Now it looks like we're going to have this treaty ratified tomorrow. So, really, it's a very unusual political moment, where somehow the president was able to take a real defeat at the polls and turn it into political success.

And, by the way, that's something that wasn't lost on the Republicans. It started creeping into their statements, that they were very aware of the fact that approving this treaty was going to give the president a political victory.

GWEN IFILL: Do they also think that approving this treaty was more about U.S. credibility abroad than about this president? Was that persuasive as well?

NAFTALI BENDAVID: Well, I think that, certainly in their comments, in their statements, they were not talking about how it was going to affect the president. They were talking about national security.

They -- a lot of them, you know, said that, in fact, they didn't want to let Russia push them around, you know, that Russia had made some take-it-or-leave-it kinds of statements that they didn't want to respond to simply by adopting the treaty.

I think it was more of an unspoken argument that this could affect U.S. credibility abroad. I think that there's no question that it does so and it strengthened President Obama's hands when he talks to foreign leaders. But that was a topic that was left more or less undiscussed during the debate itself.

Bold-blue emphasis mine

I certainly hope this leads to more bipartisanship.

But I look at the Republican strategy of holding hostage issues (examples; tax-cuts, START) that are good for America and our people, and I am pessimistic. I doubt Republican skunks will really change, they'll still stink.

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