A BIPARTISAN TEAM…. I’d welcome input on this from presidential historians in the audience, but as far as I can tell, no modern president has added so many officials from the rival party to an administration the way President Obama has.
President Obama added another Republican to his administration late Thursday, announcing that he had nominated former Rep. Anne Northup (R-Ky.) to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC).
Obama tapped the former five-term congresswoman to lead the CSPC in yet another addition of a Republican member of Congress to his administration.
Northup had served in Congress until her defeat in the 2006 Democratic landslides by now-Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.).
It’s getting to be quite a list. Unless I’m missing someone, Northup would be the sixth Republican with a fairly significant role in the Obama administration — joining LaHood, McHugh, Gates, Huntsman, and Leach — and it would have been seven were it not for the unpleasantness with Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.).
An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released this week asked respondents whether the president has shown a willingness “to work with people whose viewpoints are different from his own.” Only 32% gave Obama a “very good rating” on this, down from 42% in April.
I’m not sure what more the White House can do on this front. Obama has not only repeatedly sought out GOP lawmakers for support on legislation, but he also keeps giving Republicans jobs in his administration, arguably at a level without modern precedent.
Also note that the president’s efforts haven’t generated any goodwill with the opposition party. Obama has added a half-dozen Republicans to his team, and GOP leaders continue to whine about the president being some kind of strident partisan.
If White House officials hope putting together a bipartisan team might lower the partisan temperature a bit and discourage Republican attacks, they’re likely to be disappointed.