Rahm Emanuel : We were too bipartisan
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel conceded President Barack Obama and his team lost control of the message for selling their massive stimulus bill last week, fixating on bipartisanship while Republicans were savaging the legislation.
Mr. Emanuel owned up to one mistake: message. What he called the outside game slipped away from the White House last week, when the president and others stressed bipartisanship rather than job creation as they moved toward passing the measure. White House officials allowed an insatiable desire in Washington for bipartisanship to cloud the economic message a point coming clear in a study being conducted on what went wrong and what went right with the package, he said.
But, he said, Washington should have learned something about Mr. Obama as well, with the shift from bipartisan overtures to outright mockery of his opposition.
He has an open hand, Mr. Emanuel said. But he has a very firm handshake.
Could it be that Obama is inching towards becoming the partisan ass-kicker we progressives long for? The Republicans seem to be giving him every incentive to do so. The administration seems to have learned a lesson here. They could have spared themselves the trouble if they had listened to the left-wing blogosphere. But maybe it's better this way: people will see that he reached out, and that Republican's weren't interested in supporting him. That's fine. They disagree. So let's get on with the business of fixing this country without trying to appease them.