So Much For Obama’s Bi-Partisan Unity Theory

Today in the Washington Post in a front page story they recount the disaster that was a less than one week alliance between John McCain and Barrack Obama in his first year in office. Here’s the first three paragraphs:

Obama, McCain Forged Fleeting Alliance
Efforts to Collaborate on Ethics Reform Fell Apart Within a Week

A year into his tenure on Capitol Hill, Barack Obama (D-Ill.) approached John McCain on the Senate floor to propose the two work together on a lobbying and ethics reform bill. The four-term Arizona Republican, 25 years Obama’s senior, quickly saw a willing apprentice to help shake up the way business was done on Capitol Hill.

“I like him; he’s probably got a great future. We can do some work together,” McCain confided to his top staffer.

Instead, what began as a promising collaboration between two men bent on burnishing their reformist credentials collapsed after barely a week. The McCain-Obama relationship came undone amid charges and countercharges, all aired publicly two years ago in an exchange of stark and angry letters. Obama questioned whether McCain sided with GOP leaders rather than searching for a bipartisan solution; McCain accused Obama of “typical rhetorical gloss” and “self interested partisan posturing” by a newcomer seeking to ingratiate himself with party leaders.

“Please be assured I won’t make the same mistake again,” McCain wrote Obama on Feb. 6, 2006.

So much for Senator Obama’s experience at creating a new ‘unity‘ atmosphere, which is his central campaign thesis, on The Hill. Since this was very public with letters and statements from both sides why are we only now hearing about this in the Primary Election? Perhaps the Barack Obama media blackout is lifting.

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13 Responses to So Much For Obama’s Bi-Partisan Unity Theory

  1. Darrell Prows says:

    But doesn’t this also say as much about McCain as it does Obama?

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  3. Janis says:

    Darrell: Nope. Trust me, I’ve worked in PR, marketing and media relations for years. When I read that Obama had released a letter unilaterllay to the media without first passing it through McCain’s office, I actually sucked in my breath. When McCain says you don’t do that, it’s true — you do not do that. Not in government, not in corporate. If you are partnering, you simply do not unilaterally contact the media on behalf of both parties. It’s high-handed and seen as blatant shoving of the other person aside for your own ego. Even the perception of having done that is a significant problem.

    And the damage control was also clumsy and badly handled. The appropriate thing to do is not to swing back, “counterpunch” as it was stated, when the other guy has taken what was in retrospect reasonable offense. You smooth the ruffled feathers and move on. (Especialyl when you have cast your entire political being as a bipartisan uniter.)

    If Obama wants to sit down with old enemies — and he’s said that he is open to sitting downa nd talking with anyone without preconceptions — he needs to be able to defuse stuff like this so that it doesn’t even get to the point where punches and counterpunches are thrown. If you get to that point, it means you screwed up earlier on. I still can’t believe his office sent out that letter without first running it past McCain’s office, or that they weren’t working on drafting something together officially. The Dem party leaders were also remiss in letting their newbie go so far off-leash without some minding.

    It’s no secret I can’t stand Obama, but that was the diplomatic equivalent of belching in the choir.

  4. coldH2Owi says:

    Let’s see, Democratic Daily folks, Janis says McCain is better for America than Obama, in fact she “can’t stand Obama”; an earlier post uses the low-life, but wealthy, Scaife as a new supporter of Sen. Clinton, & over at Talk Left, they approve of Karl Rove’s words regarding Sen. Clinton. What the heck is going on here? I thought the ReThugs are our enemy, not each other. I sure hope this doesn’t end bad. McCain is a dangerous person, but…, but…, he’s a maverick & knows all about the inner workings of the Senate. Frankly, who cares. We needed that when LBJ got all of that great stuff through, but right now, we don’t. We need to make sure no ReThug sits in the White House for a long time.

  5. coldH2Owi

    “I thought the ReThugs are our enemy, not each other.”

    Interesting reflection from someone who tends to treat Hillary Clinton as the enemy here.

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  7. Janis says:

    Pamela, also interesting reflection coming from someone whose candidacy has been a rosy picture of bipartisan reaching across the aisle with people now called “Thugs.”

    If they’re thugs, what the hell is your guy supporting bipartisanship with them for? And if they aren’t, they why are you trying to paint Clinton as evil because she’s supposedly so much like them?

  8. Janis says:

    Also cold, what we need is to make sure that no one but no one gets in office AGAIN by exclusding any single states’ results. When Bush rigged florida and then Ohio, it was a travesty. Now, the Dems plan to do the same? WTF’s the difference at that point?

  9. coldH2Owi says:

    As usual, you two are making a lot of assumptions. Sen. Clinton & Sen. Obama are the people’s enemy, as long as they continue along the corporate political road. It’s interesting how you two justify Sen. Clinton’s errors by claiming Obama made the same error. What’s up with that? My dear, departed Mother used to say two wrongs never make a right. It must be different these days. & yes, they are ReThugs – must I draw you a picture? (Apologies to Billy Bragg, now there would be a good President, so would Pink.)

  10. coldH2Owi

    Thank you for sharing – I will take either over John McCain anyday.

  11. Cold says:

    Sen. Clinton & Sen. Obama are the people’s enemy,

    Ok, that’s enough info for me to stop listening to that source as a serious analyst.

    Janis: Loved your first post above with a PR/media view. Absolutely dead on. You do not treat the senior member of a relationship which in terms of Senate power and seniority, (a serious matter in the Senate), as if they didn’t exist. Hell, you don’t do that in any relationship.

    That doesn’t mean McCain is any better for America, it means that the alliance must be treated as such. Hell, Obama choose McCain #1 visceral issue then started acting like he, Obama, was in charge. Bad move.

  12. Janis says:

    cold, be specific — what “error” are you talking about? Sending out a press release without clearing it past the other office?

    Regards Scaife, I’m not badmouthing Obama for wanting to talk to anyone. I’m saying that Obama supporters who deride her desicion to sit down with the guy and talk, and then turn around and support Obama’s plan to talk to damned near anyone are being hypocritical.

  13. coldH2Owi says:

    Stuart O’Neill:
    You’re right, I’m a DFH who was against this damned war from the beginning. Oh, I forgot, being right means a person is not serious. Thank you for sharing.