"Republicans have not been brought in to the degree we should have been." That from John McCain this morning on a Sunday chat show, discussing the stimulus bill now debated in the Senate. He spoke of how it has been pushed through the House without Republican input.
It is difficult for Republicans to take seriously the statements of any new bipartisan efforts from the majority party in Washington, or from the President, while some of the other talk goes on, especially behind closed doors.
There are reports written about the less than tactful response of the new president to the loyal opposition on the policies - and politics - written into the stimulus package. "I won" was his response to the concerns voiced by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA). The statement is true enough, just not very helpful if you are truly asking for the opinions of others. Of course, he will set the agenda and the demands of legislation. Elections have consequences. To the winner, the power.
Speaker of the House Pelosi was on a Sunday morning chat show claiming that Republicans were not being shut out of the amendment process. Her claim is contrary to what even the mainstream media is reporting.
The good news for Republicans is that Rep. John Boehner and Senator John Cornyn are taking up the gauntlet and pursuing the interests of the other half of the country. Senator McCain stated that he will not support the stimulus package as it is currently being forwarded.
The best news I've heard from Republicans is that the leadership will not repeat the mistakes of the former Democrat minority - they will present alternatives to legislation they oppose. Simply being the party of 'no' is not a winner. No one benefits from that. And, the American voters certainly are fed up with that approach - note the historically low poll numbers of the Congress since the Democrats took it back in 2006.
The new president is just now seeing a bit of a strain in the sickening sweet coverage he has enjoyed since that speech in 2004, at the Democrat convention, when he burst onto the national scene. The press that covered him on the campaign trail put aside the fact that candidate Obama was not particularly forthcoming with them, while blasting the then current administration for 'secretism' and other Watergate invoking adjectives. He was the recipient of some questioning of the decision to be sworn in a second time by Justice Roberts without the White House press corps present or even told of the fact until after the event. Then, only the photo from the White House photographer was offered as acknowledgement of the event.
President Obama made what he thought was a grand gesture by going to the White House press room and greeting his minions. When asked about the secrecy of the second swearing in, he brushed aside the questions and said if the press corps people insisted on asking him questions, then he wouldn't pop in for visits. Think about that. What is the job of the press corp in the mind of the new president? Continued campaigning, working behind the scenes to present the best possible light on him? Hang out and do fist bumps with him and his staff?
"See this is what happens. I can't end up visiting with you guys and shaking hands if I'm going to get grilled every time I come down here."
Better get that dog soon, President Obama.