Thursday, December 23, 2010

Is this what consensus politics looks like?

President Barack Obama waves as he arrives in Hawaii for his holiday vacation.(Lum/Pool

The New York Daily News began the article accompanying the above picture by saying,
President Obama didn't have much to be thankful for last month, but it looks like he'll have a Merry Christmas after all.
The Commander in Chief can bask in the glow of big legislative wins as he spends the holidays in Hawaii, and a new poll shows 56% of the country approves of the job the President has done this month working with the lame-duck Congress.
Only 41% disapproved of how Obama worked with Congress, according to the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll published Wednesday.
This, just a month after his administration's self-styled thumping.

Jonathan Capehart began a "PostPartisan" column today in The Washington Post this way:
"I am persistent," President Obama said in his "How ya like me now?!" press conference. "If I believe in something strongly, I stay with it." And he has enough legislative victories in this lame-duck session to prove it. The deal on tax cuts and the extension of unemployment benefits. The repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." A new START treaty with the Russians. The passage of the first changes in food safety laws in more than 70 years. And a law to provide for the health care of those who put duty first in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.
 Today's New York Times lead editorial proclaiming that "The Senate Surmounts Politics," begins by saying,
Wednesday was not a good day for Senator Mitch McConnell’s single-minded project to make Barack Obama a one-term president. Over the minority leader’s objections, 13 Republicans joined every Democratic senator to ratify the New Start nuclear arms treaty with Russia, reducing the size of the countries’ nuclear stockpiles and making the world a safer place. The 71-to-26 vote was the capstone to what now shapes up to be a remarkably successful legislative agenda for President Obama’s first two years.
I have always loved Gloria Steinem's retort to the reporter who, 30 years ago now, on the occasion of her 40th birthday told her that she didn't look forty. Ms. Steinem famously (and accurately) replied, “This is what 40 looks like -- we’ve been lying for so long, who would know?” 

Haven't we for years been clamoring for our elected officials to forget politics and actually accomplish something for the public good?  So, is this what's finally happened in the last month?

Or has government been dysfunctionally political for so long, who would know?

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