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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Obama Separates Sheep From Goats

Allow me to be the umpteenth blogger to recommend for your reading pleasure the remarks that President Obama made yesterday to the House Democratic Caucus retreat.
I do not share the widespread view that these remarks represent some sort of late realization by Obama that bipartisanship is a waste of time, or that he made a mistake not just seeking to ram a Democratic-drafted stimulus package through Congress. In the pertinent passage in his speech, he is simply separating the sheep from the goats–the phony “bipartisan debate” that involves Republicans denouncing the very idea of economic stimulus and/or denouncing refundable tax cuts as “welfare,” from a genuine give-and-take”

I don’t think any of us have cornered the market on wisdom, or that do I believe that good ideas are the province of any party. The American people know that our challenges are great. They’re not expecting Democratic solutions or Republican solutions — they want American solutions. And I’ve said that same thing to the public, and I’ve said that, in a gesture of friendship and goodwill, to those who have disagreed with me on aspects of this plan.
But what I have also said is — don’t come to the table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped to create this crisis. (Applause.) You know, all of us here — imperfect. And everything we do and everything I do is subject to improvement. Michelle reminds me every day how imperfect I am. (Laughter.) So I welcome this debate. But come on, we’re not — we are not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that for the last eight years doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin. (Applause.)
We can’t embrace the losing formula that says only tax cuts will work for every problem we face; that ignores critical challenges like our addiction to foreign oil, or the soaring cost of health care, or falling schools and crumbling bridges and roads and levees. I don’t care whether you’re driving a hybrid or an SUV — if you’re headed for a cliff, you’ve got to change direction. (Applause.) That’s what the American people called for in November, and that’s what we intend to deliver. (Applause.)
So the American people are watching. They did not send us here to get bogged down with the same old delay, the same old distractions, the same talking points, the same cable chatter.

I do agree with those who say that this is the sort of speech the President needs to be making to a broader audience, including the country as a whole.

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