In a passage from his 2006 book, “The Audacity of Hope,” he sounds like a Republican complaining about the stimulus. “Genuine bipartisanship,” he wrote, “assumes an honest process of give-and-take, and that the quality of the compromise is measured by how well it serves some agreed-upon goal, whether better schools or lower deficits. This in turn assumes that the majority will be constrained — by an exacting press corps and ultimately an informed electorate — to negotiate in good faith.
“If these conditions do not hold — if nobody outside Washington is really paying attention to the substance of the bill, if the true costs . . . are buried in phony accounting and understated by a trillion dollars or so — the majority party can begin every negotiation by asking for 100% of what it wants, go on to concede 10%, and then accuse any member of the minority party who fails to support this ‘compromise’ of being ‘obstructionist.’
I’m actually not a fan of bipartisanship. If Americans elected a conservative president and a conservative Congress, I’d be urging them to ram through as many conservative policies as they could, without regard to editorial pages lamenting their tactics. Therefore, I can’t fault liberals from wanting the same thing from Obama. But what I absolutely cannot stand is this phony strategy of Obama to force his agenda through Congress without making serious concessions to Republicans, releasing a 1,073 bill under the cover of midnight on the day of the vote, while claiming to be transparent and bipartisan.