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January 30, 2010


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Indeed, this has been described as almost unprecedented. In my mind, what's equally important is the presence of the press. Each party's spin (and the reactions of the "opposition") is visible for the first time since the electoral debates, really. But now the stakes are completely different.


I gave some money to Obama's campaign in 2007 and 2008. With this appearance, I received a rich dividend. I am so proud of the president and pleased with the House Republican Caucus for inviting him.

Beneath the policy specifics, Obama was asking the Republicans to tether their proposals to reality, to stop trying to scare the public about every Democratic (they would say "Democrat") idea, and to cease opposing ideas they once supported, simply because they come from Obama. I don't expect that plea to work directly. I don't expect many GOP Reps left the meeting thinking they would now give Obama's ideas a fairer hearing. But Obama may have shifted the political debate in his favor. More people may come to see the GOP as intransigent, as relying on scare tactics, and as lacking in sound policy ideas. I think Obama helped himself mightily, even if he didn't change a single mind in that room in Baltimore.

A secondary question -- It seems the House Republicans feel that it's Nancy Pelosi who's the intransigent one. Is she really more partisan than past speakers, such as Newt Gingrich? What's that about?


From where I'm sitting I get the impression that Pelosi combines a fiercely partisan attitude with incredible tenacity and relentlessness as a vote-whipper (much more than Newt I imagine...?). That is bound to make her unpopular with the other side (and some on her own side). She's not a great public face for the Dems and she and Obama disagree on much politically and differ in attitude to politics...but she's a highly effective whip which makes her pretty indispensable. She's a very useful bad cop. Although that she's so necessary probably tells you something about the state of Washington these days.


That's the man I voted for!


I hope reporting of this went beyond the political junkie sphere so that John Q Citizen has a chance to see!

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