Friday, January 29, 2010

Why Can't We Be Friends?….or President Obama visits the Republican Caucus

Today, the political shows are abuzz with the live question and answer session that took place today between President Obama and the Republican caucus. All the shows have reflected on the public’s general distaste with the partisan vitriol in Washington in both parties. To combat this image, President Obama made overtures for greater bipartisan work in his State of the Union on Wednesday and today visited the Republican caucus to participate in a “free exchange of ideas.”

What’s interesting is that the public and media seem to believe that this Republican vs. Democrat political culture is the most viscious its ever been in American politics. That may be, but I don’t believe that to be necessarily true. For example, I wish we could see a similar exchange of ideas from the 1790s era of American politics when Federalists so hated Democratic-Republicans (and vice-versa) that they would cross the street rather than share the sidewalk with someone of an opposing party. I won't even get into the antebellum and civil war years. That said, I found today’s events to be quite an anomaly. Certainly, previous presidents have spoken at meetings of their opposition in attempts to increase feelings (or the appearance of) bipartisanship. However, today’s meeting was the first such event to be taped and aired live.

Here is the full question and answer session:

[Image via mentalfloss]

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