Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Thursday, May 27, 2010 :::

"The more [Obama] talked, the more he got upset," Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said. "He needs to take a valium before he comes in and talks to Republicans and just calm down, and don't take anything so seriously. If you disagree with someone, it doesn't mean you're attacking their motives -- and he takes it that way and tends then to lecture and then gets upset."
I would guess that, in a prepared statement, Senator Roberts would reword "don't take anything so seriously." I don't think he's suggesting that the issues under discussion don't matter, just that disagreement can be handled maturely.

It's that last sentence that strikes me, though. Attacking one's opponents' motives strikes me as quintessential Obama. If he thinks that most of the people protesting him is bought off by one of the special interests that he hasn't bought off himself, maybe he assumes that any of the rare few who do have good motives assume that he doesn't. Maybe he has trouble with the concept that two well-intentioned people can disagree on something. Note, though, that this is at odds with what we heard from those who knew him in law school.

The White House said that Obama made a plea for bipartisanship on some of the country's most pressing issues — and he urged Republicans to stand up to their base and compromise with the Democratic Party.

It's reasonable for the majority to expect the minority to meet them more than half-way, but not all the way, and there will inevitably be some issues on which no compromise can be reached; the majority will simply have to pass a bill and both sides will take the issue into November. But if Obama was looking for compromises and comity, maybe he shouldn't have spent the whole health care campaign accusing those who disagreed with him of working for the special interest groups that he had coopted and the Republicans in Congress of not offering any proposals of their own.

UPDATE: More on that lunch here.

::: posted by Steven at 12:29 PM

I had imagined, before reading this, that this tic of his was likely confined to his rhetoric -- that he understood that many of the people who disagree with him do so in good faith, but believed it useful to suggest otherwise. Perhaps he's more sincere than I gave him credit for.
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Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

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