WHAT IS LINCOLN CHAFEE TALKING ABOUT?…. This is just bizarre.
One of Barack Obama’s high-profile Republican endorsers during the campaign said he was “stunned” that the president could muster only three Republicans votes for his stimulus package and put the blame squarely at the president’s feet.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, former Sen. Lincoln Chafee, who endorsed Obama during the Democratic primary, acknowledged that the president’s post-partisan appeal was suffering from a dearth of moderate Republicans in Congress. But he added that the “onus was on” Obama to get broad backing on his first major piece of legislation. And by this metric, he failed.
“The whole appeal of the Obama candidacy was post-partisan, and to get off to that start I thought was surprising,” said the Rhode Island Republican. “Ultimately, the chief executive has so much power, and just as a spectator, I thought the onus was on him to just to make it happen. Get 80-or-so votes on your first big initiative, whatever it is.”
Chafee added that the White House should have done “whatever it takes” to get more Republican support and make the vote bipartisan.
I’d hoped we were past this.
In the House, 95% of the Republican caucus — 168 out of 178 — wanted a stimulus plan that included nothing but tax cuts. In the Senate, 90% of the Republican caucus — 36 out of 40 (with one abstention) — did the exact same thing. President Obama tried reaching out to them, but the GOP lawmakers were never serious about the process or the seriousness of the crisis.
Obama should have done “whatever it takes”? Yes, of course. The president should have done far more to make his economic recovery package weaker and less effective. Obviously, it’s more important to make the failed and discredited party happy than it is to get a good bill. If Republicans aren’t happy, it’s the president’s job to make them happy.
Please. Chafee has been listening to Mark Halperin a little too much.