Thursday, January 29, 2009

The end of bipartisanship

Yesterday there was a rare display of bipartisanship when 11 Democrats joined all of the House Republicans in voting against the stimulus package. The Obama, angry at the defiance of mere mortal Republicans, has decided to unleash the campaign dogs:

Gibbs declined to comment on a labor union media onslaught designed to heap pressure on a handful of Republicans to support the plan in the Senate, saying Obama was "not going to referee" the actions of outside groups.

"We have a responsibility -- the president and Congress, Democrats and Republicans -- to do something for the American people," Gibbs said as US unemployment claims hit a 26-year high and home building fell to half-century lows in the latest tidings of economic woes.

The strategy called for millions of union members to telephone Republicans from hard-hit states, coupled with an aggressive television advertising campaign targeting potentially vulnerable Republican senators.

The ad invites voters in Maine, New Hampshire, Alaska, and Iowa to tell their senators to "support the Obama plan for jobs not the failed policies of the past," according to the script.

And the White House did not deny a report by that it planned a state-by-state effort, highlighting job losses, to pressure lawmakers on the stimulus plan -- even as Republicans called on Obama to repudiate the threat.

So much for the Obama team changing the tone in Washington.