Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another dangerous idea from the Obama camp

Apparently they're thinking of implementing some major policy initiatives by bypassing Republicans:

"Senior members of the Obama administration are pressing lawmakers to use a shortcut to drive the president's signature initiatives on health care and energy through Congress without Republican votes, a move that many lawmakers say would fly in the face of President Obama's pledge to restore bipartisanship to Washington....The shortcut, known as "budget reconciliation," would allow Obama's health and energy proposals to be rolled into a bill that cannot be filibustered, meaning Democrats could push it through the Senate with 51 votes, instead of the usual 60. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both used the tactic to win deficit-reduction packages, while George W. Bush used it to push through his signature tax cuts."

No, what is contemplated is not illegal, and it's not unprecedented, and yes, Republican presidents used it in the past. That's not the point here.

The point that Republicans and conservatives should make here, rather, is this: this president said he would be different. No partisan games, no more of the old politics, he's going to listen to the other side (he claimed), he wants bipartisanship, he wants to hear ideas from the other side.

But going this route suggests he's abandoning the bipartisanship approach, and thus abandoning a campaign promise. We'll need to remind folks of that.