Do not assume for a nanosecond that the GOP will come in on bills that offer GOP proposals along with Democrat proposals — as in larding the climate bill with nuclear power plant construction proposals. The Republicans do not want to be bipartisan. They want to suggest that they can govern better than the Democrats. The Obama initiative to the GOP will prove a success only if one of two things takes place:
1. Continued GOP obstruction is made sufficiently noxious to all concerned that they are perceived to be more and more the party of NO. This was the takeaway the GOP wanted to squelch Friday. But the President laid out the price. If they cannot compromise, they cannot govern.
2. There emerges a split among the Republicans, with some coming over and enabling the Obama agenda to pass without reconciliation. This appears to be a pipe dream because ,if it happens, it makes the compromisers vulnerable to attack by their own party and to defeat by Obama Democrats. If I were a GOP leader, I would go with Option 1 and try to counter the party of NO charge.
Now how in the name of the deity can upstanding progressive Democrats counter the above conundrum? Here are a few ideas:
1. Create a Talking Points Site that contrasts reality with hyperbole. Show the positive effects of stimulus and the nasty political rhetoric of the GOP sorts.
2. Begin to move from talk about bipartisanship now to talk of bipartisanship after the 2010 elections. Begin a concerted effort to find both Republican challengers who embrace the Obama agenda and Democrats who will help clear out incumbent Democrats who have essentially obstructed the Obama agenda. The goal will be to bring about a civil politics. Create a second site that is called Civility Watch. Tell Dems to make nice and stick to the facts and flag GOP lapses.
3. Sponsor contests for the videos that best explain the Obama agenda. This can be done in a number of ways.
4. Sponsor public forums shown on CSPAN in which the effort will be to arrive at agreement on specific legislative initiatives. The President should moderate these and the participants on both sides should be chosen by their parties. Such events would be close in feel to last Friday’s encounter.