Having worked as a Washington journalist for more than 2 decades, I'm not a big believer in post-partisanship. If one side agrees with the other, why have two sides? Besides, we're not a post-partisan nation. The religious right rarely agrees with the urban left on anything cultural. And even though the crumbling economy has pushed gay rights, abortion and guns to the sidelines for the moment, social issues are not sidelined permanently.
Yes, it helps if lawmakers on opposite sides of the aisle form personal friendships. There's a tiny bit of common ground to mine. But rare is the professional pol who will cast aside party interests and personal beliefs in the name of friendship.
Even the prospect of a looming Depression hasn't pressed Republicans to the point where they will cave on all Democratic demands for voluminous spending. This is what Senator John McCain had to say on one of the weekend talk shows:
Senator McCain, who lost the presidential election to Mr. Obama in November, said that he planned to vote no unless the bill were changed.
"We need to make tax cuts permanent, and we need to make a commitment that there'll be no new taxes," Mr. McCain said. "We need to cut payroll taxes. We need to cut business taxes."
"We need to have a commitment that after a couple of quarters of G.D.P. growth that we will embark on a path," he said about the gross domestic product, "to reduce spending to get our budget in balance."
So much for post-partisanship. And President Obama hasn't even been in office for a full week....