For background, see Felix on Rush, Part I.
This is Part II of my comments on Felix’s anti-Rush Limbaugh post. Felix’s quotes are in italics.
At a community “Obama bash” I went to this Saturday afternoon, a woman questioned that me as a conservative (albeit a moderate conservative that Rush hates with a passion) what draws me to President Barack Obama, I explained that President Obama transcends party politics. Those who feel that it’s cliche to say that he’s a transformational leader—tough, the proof is in the pudding! America is blessed at this time for somebody who dares to look outside the box for a change.
I can understand Felix’s point here, for I had the same impression when I read Barack Obama’s Audacity of Hope. Obama goes out of his way to hear and acknowledge all sorts of perspectives–right, left, and center–and those who knew him as a law professor relate that he was that way back then. I liked the parts of Obama’s book that criticized government bureaucracy, especially when he said he can understand why people get frustrated when they visit their local government office and notice the bureaucrats taking their sweet time.
At the same time, I have no idea why a conservative would vote for Barack Obama. And I don’t just ask this about Felix. I wonder it about Peggy Noonan, or my Republican relatives, or the red state of Indiana. In so many respects, Barack Obama is a liberal. He’s trying to jump-start the economy with more government spending. He’s overturned George W. Bush’s pro-life policies on abortion. He’s a nice guy, and he has good ideas, but he’s not exactly a conservative Democrat.
This brings me to the next quote:
Frankly, the Republicans need to be co-operating with the President but at the same time not compromising their principles. As a conservative, I believe that President Obama needs to listen to the voice of fiscal responsiblity and yes, some kind of fiscal restraint when necessary. This is where the Republicans should come in make their case. Does Rush Limbaugh want the the very liberal, tax and spend wing of the Democratic party to call the shots?
I’ll probably be contradicting myself in this part. Part of me wonders if bipartisanship is truly possible, when both sides have such different points of view. If Barack Obama wants to jump-start the economy through more government spending and “tax cuts” for people who don’t pay taxes, and conservative Republicans find such ideas anathema, then why should they support Obama’s plan?
At the same time, bipartisanship has occurred in the past, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility. There’s No Child Left Behind, the Prescription Drug Benefit, ethics reform, Kennedy-Kassebaum, welfare reform, etc., etc. During the Clinton health care debacle, there were Republicans who proposed alternative plans to address the rising costs of health care. And I remember watching on C-Span a remarkable example of bipartisan cooperation: Conservative Senator Tom Coburn wanted to cut stuff out of farm subsidies, and liberal Senator Tom Harkin said he shared that goal, but didn’t like Coburn’s way of going about it. So they agreed to meet and see what they could come up with.
I’m not sure why bipartisanship sometimes occurs, and sometimes does not. It doesn’t always grow out of a spirit of cooperation, for the balanced budget and welfare reform of the 1990’s emerged after a lot of clashes between Clinton and the Republican Congress. They argued and debated and fought and stalled until finally they could arrive at something that both agreed upon.
What’s my point? I’m not sure. It’s nice when both sides can work together to accomplish something, but it’s not always feasible when the positions are too different. And good bipartisanship doesn’t always require people to roll over and play dead (as Obama seems to want the Republicans to do), for diamonds can emerge out of a knock-down, drag-out fight.
Rush in his narrow ideology believes that the Republicans must seize power, take power for the sake of it.
I don’t think Rush wants Republicans to gain power for the sake of power. He wants them to gain it so they can make conservative policy. Rush’s problem with the Republicans is that they don’t always have that same commitment to conservatism!