Georgia Unfiltered

Search This Site

27 January 2010

Chambliss & Marshall Agree: Obama Should Work More With Republicans

Writing in his book The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama said, "Genuine bipartisanship assumes an honest process of give-and-take, and that the quality of the compromise is measured by how well it serves some agreed-upon goal, whether better schools or lower deficits. This in turn assumes that the majority will be constrained — by an exacting press corps and ultimately an informed electorate — to negotiate in good faith."

Obama continued:

If these conditions do not hold — if nobody outside Washington is really paying attention to the substance of the bill, if the true costs . . . are buried in phony accounting and understated by a trillion dollars or so — the majority party can begin every negotiation by asking for 100% of what it wants, go on to concede 10%, and then accuse any member of the minority party who fails to support this ‘compromise’ of being ‘obstructionist.’

For the minority party in such circumstances, ‘bipartisanship’ comes to mean getting chronically steamrolled, although individual senators may enjoy certain political rewards by consistently going along with the majority and hence gaining a reputation for being ‘moderate’ or ‘centrist.’

Sargent, Greg (2009-2-17). Conservatives Hit Obama With His Own Words About Bipartisanship. The Plum Line. Retrieved on 2010-1-27.

Wednesday, two members of Congress from Georgia suggested that President Obama should heed his own words and listen more to his political opponents in order to get things done.

8th district Congressman Jim Marshall (D - Macon) and U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R - Moultrie) told the Macon Telegraph had bipartisan agreement on many of his domestic policy proposals, including health care reform, but should have consulted more with the GOP in passing legislation enacting his top initiatives.

"His number one priority from day one has been to reform the health-care system in this country,” Chambliss said. “He had bipartisan agreement that changes needed to be made but he did not seek bipartisan help. They knew Republicans were not going to agree with that and at the end of the day we ended up with nothing.

"The president came into the office with great promise and possibilities that he could provide leadership from the center, attracting the right and pulling the left together addressing the huge challenges we’re facing," Marshall said. "He still has that promise. He just needs to make governing from the center a reality."

Abdullah, Halimah (2010-1-27). Obama gets mixed grades from Georgia delegation. Macon Telegraph. Retrieved on 2010-1-27.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, the lessons learned from Republican Scott Brown's victory in the Massachusetts U.S. Senate special election are that more centrist policies are needed.

Congressman Jim Marshall is correct when he says that President Obama must hear the Republican ideas, and "weave those into his policy." That's what made Bill Clinton such a good president. He wasn't afraid to work with the GOP or take on his own Democratic Party when necessary to move the country forward.

The United States is not an extreme left-wing or right-wing country. We are a centrist country, and it is time for President Obama to govern from the center.