Monday, November 17, 2008

Obama and McCain meet in Chicago

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Obama and McCain met today in Chicago, along with Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and McCain sidekick Lindsey Graham. While it's highly unlikely that McCain will be offered a position in Obama's administration -- and it's likely he doesn't want one -- the two should be able to find common ground on key legislative priorities going forward, such as energy, global warming, and the economy.

McCain ran an ugly, divisive campaign, but he ought to be credited, I think, for occasionally (and not nearly as often as his maverick reputation would suggest) seeking bipartisan solutions in the past, whatever his consistent partisanship over the years, and there will no doubt be many opportunities for him to do so again. To be sure, the Republican Party is moving rightward, with many conservatives blaming the Republicans' recent electoral failures on inadequate conservatism, that is, on a selling-out of conservative principles, but McCain could continue to be an influential figure in the Senate.

A joint statement was released after the meeting:

At this defining moment in history, we believe that Americans of all parties want and need their leaders to come together and change the bad habits of Washington so that we can solve the common and urgent challenges of our time.

It is in this spirit that we had a productive conversation today about the need to launch a new era of reform where we take on government waste and bitter partisanship in Washington in order to restore trust in government, and bring back prosperity and opportunity for every hardworking American family.

It is promising to see such magnanimity (however vacuous) on both sides. One just hopes that, for Obama, bipartisanship is not, and never will be, equated with meeting the Republicans halfway, or with selling out liberal, Democratic principles.

As much I would like to see Republican support for Obama's legislative agenda, after all, and as much as it would be nice to see McCain backing Obama, and as much as I realize that compromise may be necessary, it is time for change, real change based on the mandate the American people have given Obama, the Democrats, and the core principles they represent. And if bipartisanship means Republican-lite rule, which it usually does, I want none of it. (When Republicans are in power, bipartisanship means a few conservative Democrats siding with them, but when Democrats are in power, it means caving in and being Republican. Thanks, MSM.)

Also, I just don't trust the Republicans, including McCain, to play nice.

(Photo: AP.)

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