Attention Republicans. Should the American people ever let you back into control of Congress and the White House, instead of “reaching across the aisle” and fawning over Democrats so you won’t get bad press from the New York Times or disinvited to K Street cocktail parties, take a note from Barack Obama about how to handle things:
President Obama listened to Republican gripes about his stimulus package during a meeting with congressional leaders Friday morning – but he also left no doubt about who’s in charge of these negotiations. “I won,” Obama noted matter-of-factly, according to sources familiar with the conversation.
The exchange arose as top House and Senate Republicans expressed concern to the president about the amount of spending in the package. They also raised red flags about a refundable tax credit that returns money to those who don’t pay income taxes, the sources said.
“I won.” He did. Convincingly. Therefore, he and his party get to set the tone and move their agenda forward. And if you Congressional Republicans think for one second that Obama, Pelosi, or Reid give a flying damn about what you want, you’re sorely mistaken. They’re not in this to be “bipartisan.” “Bipartisanship” only cuts one way to them. To them, “reaching across the aisle” means that you come to them, not that you meet each other halfway.
When the wheel turns, as it usually does, and you get back on top? Remember this. And learn well. Have a clear, cogent agenda, articulate it to the American electorate, and if they give you the chance, enact it. In other words, lead. Say what you will about Barack Obama, he doesn’t look to be scared of actually leading…unlike most of the Republican leadership since about 1996.