Even Small Steps Matter for Barack Obama and Partisan Washington on Stimulus Package

Tone matters, too.

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By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Bonnie is rather dismissive of what she describes as the "veiled myth of post-partisanship" in the Obama years, based on the fact that no House Republicans voted for the stimulus package. "If Mr. Obama's definition of post-partisanship is a more cordial, less harsh atmosphere in which to discuss partisan disagreements, then certainly he's done better on that front than President Bush," Bonnie writes, going on to note that she expected post-partisanship to be bi-partisanship.

I think she's got it wrong—even tonal changes can be significant. 

As I argue in my column (which you can read in our U.S. News Weekly), keeping lines of communication open can in and of itself be a worthwhile end. A more cordial, less harsh atmosphere in which to discuss partisan differences is a decent start.

Look: No one should be surprised that Republicans favor cutting taxes as the main way to help the economy; and no one should be surprised either that the Democrats think spending is a good way to stimulate the economy or that, having won the election a couple of months ago, they see no need to accommodate discredited GOP dogma.

But tone now can have an effect later, when there might be legislation with more available common ground.

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