To the victors go the…

obama_visits_capitol.jpgSen. President Barack Obama knows how to send a pointed message. On Monday, he granted his first interview to a news organization in the Middle East. On Tuesday, he made his first visit to the Capitol to reach out to congressional Republicans in an effort to get some traction for his stimulus package.

Republicans aren’t ready to jump on the bandwagon, yet. But a ‘tweet” (a message on Twitter) posted by one of the Republicans who attended — Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan — would at least appear to usher in a general spirit of working together.

“Very impressive session with Republican House members.If President carries this on it does open door for a new tone!Let’s hope! Nice job!”

President Obama, himself, said all the right things:

“I hope I communicated a sincere desire to get good ideas from everybody,” he added. “My attitude is this the first major piece of legislation we’ve worked on, and that, over time, some of these habits of consultation and mutual respect will take over, but old habits die hard.”

That phrase — old habits — could’ve been referring to any number of things, but one wonders if it refers — at least somewhat — to Democrats, especially given the comment of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she was asked why there are virtually no suggestions from Republicans being included in the House version of the stimulus package.

“We had an election which was about our differing views. The American people agreed with us.”

So much for the “we represent all Americans” cliche. Never mind that 22 of 50 states voted for Republicans, or that the difference between winning and losing for Democrats in 3 of 4 battleground states was 2 percent of the vote.

That, of course, led to a question for the speaker about what her comments say about bipartisanship.

“It says that some of us have heard the voices of the American people and their desire for change…”

And some have not?

To turn this around a bit, Gov. Pawlenty won an election, too. And yesterday he announced several initiatives including eliminating help for people with traumatic brain injuries and disabilities, as well as older people at risk of nursing home placement, according to a Star Tribune assessment.

Maybe you agree with that. Maybe you don’t.

Does an election make the question moot?

Program alert: At 11 a.m. on MPR’s Midday today, House Republican Minority Leader Marty Seifert and Senate Assistant DFL Majority Leader Tarryl Clark will join Gary Eichten to respond to the governor’s budget proposal.