News / USA

Analysts: Prospects For US Bipartisanship In 2010 Uncertain

U.S. President Obama renews effort to reach out to opposition Republicans, but upcoming 2010 congressional elections may favor political calculations over cooperation

Multimedia

As he begins his second year in office, President Barack Obama is renewing his effort to reach out to opposition Republicans, despite the fact that 2010 is a congressional election year in the United States. 

After his election in 2008, Mr. Obama promised to try to change the partisan tone in Washington.  After a politically polarizing first year in office, the president renewed a challenge in his recent State of the Union Address for both major political parties to work together, especially opposition Republicans.

"Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it is not leadership.  We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions," Mr. Obama said.

A few days later, the president took the unusual step of answering questions from House Republicans who complained that Democratic congressional leaders routinely dismiss their ideas and proposals.

Among them was Republican Congressman Tom Price of Georgia.

 "What should we tell our constituents who know that Republicans have offered positive solutions to the challenges that Americans face, and yet continue to hear out of the administration that we have offered nothing?" Price asked.

The president said he would do what he could to improve the prospects for bipartisan cooperation in Congress.

"We have to think about tone.  It is not just on your side, by the way.  It is on our side as well.  This is part of what has happened in our politics where we demonize the other side so much that when it comes to actually getting things done, it becomes tough to do," Mr. Obama said.

Public-opinion polls show most Americans would like to see more cooperation between the two parties in Washington.  But finding areas of common ground has proven to be difficult.

House Republican leader Congressman John Boehner of Ohio appeared on NBC's 'Meet the Press' program.

"Republicans have an obligation to stand on principle and to fight these proposals, but at the same time, to offer better solutions," Boehner said.

The polarized nature of U.S. politics has been evolving for decades, but reached a crescendo in the 1990's when Republicans took control of Congress during then President Bill Clinton's second year in office.

Republicans are poised to gain congressional seats in the November midterm elections, and Historian Allan Lichtman says that makes it less likely that many Republicans will be in a mood to cooperate with the Obama White House.

"That is precisely the strategy that Republicans are following today.  We will return to power by pasting as many big defeats as we can on the president of the United States.  And with the victory of Scott Brown [in Massachusetts], the Republican who stunningly took over the seat held by the liberal conscience, Ted Kennedy, the Republicans believe that their strategy of implacable opposition to what Obama wants to do is succeeding," Lichtman said.

Even as the president extends an uncertain olive branch to the opposition, he is also mindful that his own liberal Democratic base needs some reassurance.

Elizabeth Sherman is a professor of political science at American University in Washington.

"I think that he is basically saying we are not giving up, we are not throwing in the towel.  Let us lock arms and march forward.  I think he is saying that not everybody is going to get what they want," Sherman said.

In fact, many liberals believe the president has already shown too much of an inclination to give in to conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans.

David Sanger is Chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times.

"I think that Barack Obama's biggest problem in his first year was that expectations were set this high and the problems were even higher.  And I think that many of his deepest supporters are disappointed that he seems to have moved more to the middle in a very pragmatic way to address those problems instead of bringing about the kind of change that I think they imagined," Sanger said.

Historian Allan Lichtman says the bipartisan overtures are likely to fade as the November congressional election draws near.

"Republicans have two choices.  They can work with [Obama] or they can continue to be simply naysayers.  And if they continue to be simply naysayers, you are going to see the president later on as the campaign approaches challenging the Republicans as a party of simply delay and obstruction," Lichtman said.

Looking ahead to the elections, Republicans appear more motivated at the moment, fueled by opposition to the president's health-care reform plan and grassroots conservative anger at government spending and deficits.  Republicans lost seats in the previous two elections, in 2008 and 2006.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid