An olive branch or a stick in the eye?

What will "bipartisanship" mean to George W. Bush now?

Tim Grieve
November 8, 2006 8:36PM (UTC)

George W. Bush is getting a lot of credit this morning from talking heads who say that he's ready to work across the aisle with the newly empowered Democrats. On CNN a few minutes ago, a reporter declared that the president is already "trying to move past the divisiveness" of the midterm elections.

We won't know much on this front until the president holds his post-election press conference this afternoon. Two points in the meantime.


First, while we're feeling as olive-branchy as the next guy, let's not forget that the president himself was plenty divisive in this election cycle, traveling around the country -- or at least in the parts where he still feels welcome -- saying things like, "However they put it, the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses."

Second, we should remember that the president's definition of "bipartisanship" has always been "You come around to my way of thinking." Maybe things will be different this time around, but the early returns give us little reason for hope. As the election results came in at the White House Tuesday night, Tony Snow said that both parties have a lot of work to do. "The president has got a very active agenda for the next two years," he said, " and you're going to need both parties" to advance it.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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