President Barack Obama was in Florida yesterday, talking up his bullet-train-to-the-future initiative. He's now calling for good feelings all around:
"Nothing that human beings do will be perfect," Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, said as he capped a town hall at the University of Tampa, where he was received with boisterous support.
"But we shouldn't sort of assume that the other side is either heartless or doesn't care about sick people or is some socialist/communist who's trying to take over the health care system," the president said. "We start getting into these caricatures. They're so damaging."
Just how far to go in working with Republicans has been an evolving calculation for the White House. Obama ended up muscling through a giant economic stimulus plan with little help from the opposition party and was poised to do the same on major health care legislation until Democrats lost the super-majority they need -- 60 votes -- to overcome delays in the Senate.
Obama takes responsibility, but not blame.
He still casts Republicans as a party of "no" and calls that their political strategy."I want the Republicans off the sidelines. I want them to work with us to solve problems," Obama said. And then he added: "I don't want an attitude 'If Obama loses, then we win.' I mean, that can't be a platform. ... All of us should be rooting for each other."
More here. I think it's fully appropriate that Obama use Biden as a prop to underscore the fallibility of human efforts. Especially when talking about bogus train boondoggles, given that Biden is an Amtrak devotee (even appearing as the cover boy on this month's Amtrak mag).
It's wunnerful, too, that Obama is now calling for a new spirit of fellowship, though it's a bit disconcerting that he only came around to this POV once his super-duper-majority in the Senate hit the skids. And that he can't go longer than a short newspaper story without calling out his legislative foes.
As Year 2 of the Obama era gets underway, take a couple of minutes to revisit Reason.tv's Hopes and Fears for an Obama Presidency: