In a move based in bi-partisan spirit, House Republicans today invited president elect Barack Obama to address their conference. In their letter to Obama the GOP House leadership said that they would like to build a positive relationship with the new president.
In part the letter said, “House Republicans stand ready to work with you to restore economic prosperity in America, and we do not want partisan differences to stall achievement in those areas where we share common goals on behalf of the American people. We hope this will be the beginning of a positive working relationship with House Republicans at the start of your Administration.”
Obama opened the door to this by holding a meeting with all the Congressional leadership last week. He has consistently given signs that he wants to work with Republicans on issues where he and they share some common interests. His insistence on tax cuts in the next stimulus package has demonstrated to the Republicans that they do have some common ground.
If House Republicans can get on board with a few issues, this will only help them politically in future elections. This invitation doesn’t mean that there won’t be plenty of policy battles, there certainly will be. The difference is that possibility now exists for each side to talk things out, instead of becoming entrenched in partisan deadlock.
The fascinating dynamic here is that the more open bi-partisanship Obama becomes, the more some of his fellow Democrats complain. Even though Congressional Democrats have the power to ram legislation through, this is not what they should always do. Most importantly, everyone agrees that something needs to be done now with the economy. I think this economic urgency is trumping partisan politics.