December 27th, 2010
11:35 AM ET

Obama administration, Congress brace for new political reality

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/12/26/new.reality/t1larg.bipartisan.meet.wh.jpg caption="President Obama meets with Democratic and Republican leaders at the White House on November 30." width=300 height=169]

Tom Cohen

Washington (CNN) - A new political reality hits Washington next week, with the first split Congress since 2002 raising questions about whether the bipartisan cooperation of the recently concluded lame-duck session can continue.

Conventional wisdom says the shift from one party controlling both chambers, as Democrats have done since 2006, to the GOP taking over the House and holding a stronger minority stake in the Senate means increased partisan impasse over the next two years.

But that same conventional wisdom got turned on its head after November 2, when the electoral "shellacking" delivered to President Barack Obama and the Democrats was followed by one of the most productive post-election congressional conclusions in history.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs attributed the new bipartisanship of the post-election period to the Republican gains in the November vote.

"There was a responsibility of government that I think the Republicans got in the November elections and they began to understand that responsibility a little bit more in this lame-duck session than they had in the previous, quite frankly, 18 months or so," Gibbs said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

Republicans can no longer afford to "simply sit and say no," Gibbs said, referring to the obstructive posture that GOP leaders generally struck in Obama's first two years in office. Instead, he called for Republicans to be part of a constructive conversation, at least in 2011 before the presidential campaign of 2012 really heats up.

Some liberals accused Obama of giving in too easily to Republican demands on some issues, particularly in cutting a deal that extended Bush-era tax cuts to everyone after Obama had campaigned on allowing tax rates of the wealthy to return to higher levels.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Frank/ ny

    In reply to the tax cuts for the wealthy. I feel this is also needed since this recession has affected all levels of income. My dad and i are in the upper income levels. We have real estate investment, blue chip stocks, and government bonds. We both had catastrophic losses. My dad is 80 years of age and it was the worst he has gone thru financially.
    I also feel that it is the upper class that is the solid back bone of the country that should be better valued and protected.

    I also feel there is no reason to increase taxes until our Government, States and County agencies stop wasting tax dollars with high salaries, high retirements, and too many agencies. Also stop government, state and county corruptions and wasted overtime, bonuses and wasteful perks. This is how they can raise monies and protect it's tax payers that they all work for.
    Also immigration laws are out of control causing a burden to tax payers. Immigrants need to be limited that can enter the United States. Especially countries we are having problems with in particular.

    Tax payers are not fools nor do they waste or spend there money like this. Naturally if people like me did, i would not have any money saved and would not pay what i do in income taxes.
    If my businesses were also run as such we would be very unsuccessful.

    When some of these issues are adressed then you will see a big change in the future of America again. America needs to be rebuilt and regain trust again. Lots of Americans know the stimulus plan is not addressing the real problems in Americas' future. Where is washington?

    January 11, 2011 at 3:46 am |
  2. J.V.Hodgson

    You know what, I dont think it is so much Obama and his administration that have to "brace for a new political reality" the Republicans are in the same boat as they control the House.
    So now they have to fulfill thier pledges
    1) Cut 100bn out of discretionary budgets = 21% of said total spending pledge. Boehner has eliminated other huge areas for review like defense national security, and lets put another perspective on this $100bn. That takes 140 years to eliminate the deficit at $14trillion!!
    2) Those cuts wherever imposed by a Republican majority bill from the House have to be done without damaging the employment situation!
    Why is all the above true according to CNN polls 22% dont see the Deficit as the first priority but a huge majority sees Employment as
    the first priority.
    Where are the New republican ideas for job creation and don't tell me the rich tax cuts extension that is status quo not a new initaitive.
    QED they can no longer hide behind just NO, NO, NO, but have to produce results no economist believes can be done on employment short term.
    They now face the music of NO and NO.

    December 28, 2010 at 2:41 am |
  3. Kim

    "Takin' It To The Streets..." Pharmaceutical Industry to Hospital Supply for Drug Shortage welcome to America and come in please. Wax your sled and ride fast ! The reality of policy implemented on health care and FDA + drug stocks + investors = capitalization. "I'm sorry you can't have your operation today and we're out of morphine and the drugs you need. Are you kidding ? No,we're working on Congress to fix this problem but you know how that goes. What's next ? The hospitals pass out a bottle of whiskey like the old cowboy movies to take the edge off the pain cause they're out of pain medication but the FDA needs Congress to do something about it ? Oh no and see policy health care reality ! Ya see American citizens are in charge of Congress and this situation needs to be fixed today.What hospitals and where ? What drugs are they out of ? Who are the CEO's of all US Pharaceutical Companies in the USA and what are they saying ? Ask Michael McDonald with the Doobie Brother's if we can borrow his song on this issue ! Get up 70's generation and this is crazy and is not going to be our American citizen reality or a worry ! Spare us the political rhetoric and fix the problem now ! What is the solution today ?

    December 27, 2010 at 1:36 pm |

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