Who needs bipartisanship?

Nate Silver, the statistics guru who migrated from baseball to politics and runs the site FiveThirtyEight.com, notes that Barack Obama’s approval ratings have dropped and comes up with three things the president appears to have learned.

It’s #3 that may be the most signfiicant, because it’s less about him and more about us:

3. The benefits of “bipartisanship” are dubious. The public says they want bipartisanship, and a large majority of the public believes that Obama acted in a bipartisan fashion during the stimulus debate. And yet, his approval ratings fell significantly during this period.

There are, obviously, a lot of factors to keep in balance here, but more than anything else the public seems to be seeking strong leadership from Obama; they don’t want him to be deferential to either Congressional Democrats or Congressional Republicans.

So, are we done with the whole “working together” thing?

  • Larry DeVries

    There never was any bipartisanship. When Democrats talk about bipartisanship, they mean that Republicans must come to their positions and visa versa. What we really need is a balance between the parties. One legislative body or the other should be an opposition body. Unfortunately, when either party controls they whole government, they behave in unseemly behaviors. Look for the Democrats to have their share of corruption and scandal. It is virtually inevitable.

  • An independent political advert on bipartisanship:

    Against the Duopoly

  • JohnnyZoom

    Why does this remind me of the “God Bless America” episode shortly after 9/11?

  • Let’s hope “bipartisanship” is dead. For starters, it has never been that; when the Democratic Party is in power, it inevitably means “Republicans acting like Democrats” (As, indeed, it did when Bush had control of Congress; Bush spent like a Tip O’Neill Democrat).

    What Larry said. The point of having multiple parties is to have *debate* and *dissent*. Too much agreement (except where national security is at stake) is dangerous.

    Partisanship is good.

  • bsimon

    “The point of having multiple parties is to have *debate* and *dissent*.”

    Indeed. And it can be an effective system when the parties involved negotiate in good faith.

    In this case the President seems to be asking for bipartisan input in good faith – he seems to be sincerely interested in debating the merits of various alternatives for stimulating the economy. Congressional leadership, on the other hand, is having a difficult time breaking old habits – and I say that in a nonpartisan way; I think both D and R leadership leave much to be desired.

  • Paul

    I know this is going to sound partisan, but remember I am NOT a democrat. As near as I can tell, Republican’s have created this mess (with the occasional support of republocrats like Bill Clinton) with their idiotic magic plan economics. The Republican agenda is to erase the 20th century and they are still pursuing that agenda. I’m tired of watching these jerks screwing up my country and I want to see results. I want health care fixed, I want the disparity of wealth diminished, I want an economy organized around good paying jobs with good benefits instead being organized around investors and banks. I’m sick of A-Hole’s turning personal opinions about abortion, religion, and “values” into wedge issues that render any intelligent discussion of legitimate public policy issue impossible- I want this stopped.

    Now, I want results. As long as it’s legal and constitutional I don’t care if it’s bipartisan. I’m not impressed by any attempts to make nice with jerks who boast about screwing the constituents they’re supposed to be representing. These guys that don’t want aid to the states… fine, don’t send aid to their states- let em live the dream of small government and local control.

    At the end of the day people respond to results, they’re not gonna care whether or not it was done in a bipartisan way. It would be nice if some day we have two parties who are both centered in reality, and interested in solving and developing good policy for the nation, but we got what we got now and if you’re not part of the solution your part of the problem.