Earlier today, ThinkProgress highlighted “Obama’s wasted efforts at bipartisanship.” Reporting on the same subject, The New York Times’ Peter Baker writes that Obama advisers concluded that they mistakenly “allowed the measure of bipartisanship to be defined as winning Republican votes rather than bringing civility to the debate.” Center for American Progress President and CEO John Podesta said the problem was “wishful thinking“:
“I’m not sure I would describe it as naïve, but wishful thinking,” said John D. Podesta, a former White House chief of staff who ran Mr. Obama’s transition and still informally advises his team.
The White House will be able to “pick off” individual Republicans on individual issues, Mr. Podesta predicted, but will not be able to change the calculation made by the opposition party to be in opposition.
“What would make it change?” Mr. Podesta asked, referring to the Republican determination to challenge Mr. Obama. “If you’re going to do this at the moment of greatest need, at the height of his popularity, what sort of thing would get you to change?”
“Yes, we’ve learned some lessons from this,” said Obama adviser David Axelrod. “But primarily we’re happy with the way it turned out.”