Bipartisan Dialog is Messy

As readers of this blog already know I have mixed feelings about the current stimulus bill, but I think most of the discussion on the progress of the bill is measured against a wrong standard.

Despite complaints to the contrary, President Obama has taken a bipartisan approach to formulating this bill. There are Republican ideas in the resulting bill–some of which are things I don’t like. Whether or not he has gotten Republican support does not determine whether he has listened to Republican voices.

The problem is that people are expecting a smooth path to passage such as might be produced by a well-oiled political machine. But a process of dialog is never that tidy.

I don’t know how the White House is measuring this. But I don’t think they should be embarrassed by a messy process. If they continue to listen, they may find that eventually there are places where, contrary to the public rhetoric, barriers have been broken. I believe a little annoyance is a small price to pay in the long run.

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