Transcript of Rahm Emanuel Monitor Breakfast
(Page 12 of 12)
What’s interesting is that they’re at their lowest point after two national elections, in which the country voted against their defence of the status quo.Skip to next paragraph
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Usually after these moments, if you go in history – am I right or wrong, Amy? OK. Charlie? So there are your factoids – you get a rebound. You don’t go lower! They not only had just one, they had two national elections in which their defense of the status quo got repudiated by the public. They are today lower than they were after both ‘06 and ‘08. That doesn’t happen.
Now one of the reasons they’re there, is because, not only they defended the status quo in two elections, they continued to do it, a la health care, and they’re a party that doesn’t have Senator Chafees. What happened in ‘06 and ‘08, is they went from a national party to a regional party. And that regional party does not represent a national breadth.
And if they had more Chafees, who were willing to speak out and speak to address issues with policies, I believe rather than recognizing the change, recognizing what the results of the election were, recognizing that they have an alternative to that that speaks to change, rather than that, the party today has become a party that defends the status quo. And they are farther behind than they were both after ‘08 and after ‘06.
You are right, that makes getting quote unquote bipartisanship done hard. But lemme challenge you here. As I did on immigration, but I will do this as I said after the Recovery Act. The test of bipartisanship is not just how many Republican votes you have. If I can get one thing across to this esteemed group of Washington journalists – I hope you appreciated that –
DC: I did. It will probably keep me employed for another two months, I do appreciate it.
RE: Usually the word esteemed and Washington journalists don’t go together.
If I can say it this way: The test of bipartisnahsip is 3 different ways. One, did the bill have bipartisan ideas? That is a test that the president laid out, and he has said it repeatedly. This will be bipartisan. There will be ideas from both parties and individuals from both parties in the final product. Whether Republicans decide to vote for things that they’ve promoted will be up to them.
So one test of bipartisanship is, did you include ideas advocated by the other side, and the president’s tried to do that.
Second, for it to be bipartisan, or appreciated for its bipartisanship, the president has to try. As I said after the recovery act, everybody said, oh you didn’t get Republican votes, but the American people saw the president trying. They saw the Republicans, implicit, instinctually and reflexively just rejecting any effort in the height of an economic recession as severe as the depression.
So the bill will be bipartisan. It will have bipartisan ideas. I do believe you will get bipartisan votes for it.
Then you’ll get into the measurements that we have – oh, you didn’t get this many.
I think there’s a number of ways of grading bipartisanship. And I still think this all reverts back to the way you asked whether it was –
There isn’t the Chafees, the Republican Party doesn’t have that voice anymore. It makes the quote unquote vote counting and bean counting part of bipartisanship hard. But that doesn’t mean we failed.
It means those who have defended the status quo have failed.
And the biggest test of this to date is we’ve had a test: It was in upstate NY, there was an election in a special election, in a congressional seat, that the Republican Party had a 75,000 vote margin. They had a state rep, we had a novice, for lack of a – I shouldn’t say novice. A person who had not run for office before. They by all historical measures, and by the measurement of that district, should have won that seat. And they made the race, by choice, a referendum on the president in a historically Republican upstate seat, and the voters of that district issued a verdict.