Pundits large and small criticize Obama most mercilessly for his bipartisan strategy. And perhaps it is a great mistake. But what I find striking is that the critics always attack a straw man, and never the mention the likely argument in favor of a bipartisan strategy. In fact the critics appear to be strategically challenged in the extreme.
The straw man: Obama believe that if he’s nice to Republicans long enough they will come around.
Here’s a paragraph from Paul Starr’s book Remedy and Reaction , on Health Care Reform.
The search for bipartisan support had advantages beyond whatever Republican votes it might net. Even a few Republican votes for the bill would provide political cover for Democrats from states that went for McCain. Some extra Republican votes for the legislation would also reduce the ability of any individual senator to extract special-interest concessions. And the effort to work with Republicans fulfilled Obama’s promise of an open-minded, inclusive process.