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.


    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora