Saturday, February 7, 2009

Over So Soon?

Is President Obama's honeymoon over?

Newt Gingrich compared Obama's approach to his "stimulus" bill, to the poor congressional relations that existed when Jimmy Carter was president. 32 years ago, Carter was in a position similar to that of Obama. He was a new Democratic president, with large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. Carter is generally thought to have wasted that opportunity, by underestimating the need to "woo" Congress. Two years later, those majorities were sharply curtailed, and a further two years later, Carter was sent back to Georgia.

In the Senate, Obama's bipartisanship can apparently be described as "minimalist". According to this New York Times report from yesterday, Democrats are working on a deal with the three left-most Republicans in the Senate, Specter of Pennsylvania, and Collins and Snowe of Maine. That would give them enough votes to guard against a filibuster, but would not be much of a show of bipartisanship.

If Secretary of Commerce-designate Judd Gregg is still in the Senate when the final vote comes up, it will be interesting to see how he votes.

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