Obama was on The Hill today trying to sell his stimulus plan. The administration hopes to get more than a few Republicans on board so as to have the bill pass resoundingly in both houses. Early victories usually envigorate an administration.

Hopes indeed. There is animosity in both camps that will not disappear overnight.  Hard-core Republicans think small government, tax cuts and less regulation are the best way to stimulate an economy.   Hard-core Democrats think spending programs, more regulation and taxes are the best way to empower the government to help “working people”. These basic ideological stances are not gonna change overnight. So Obama will not get his 80 ‘Yea’ votes in the Senate this time around. But the bill will most likely pass easily.

The signal Obama’s visit on The Hill sends however  is good one. It says: “I am here. I am willing to hear you out. Let’s work together!” And as the cliche goes, it is easy to hate somebody from a distance. It gets harder to hate them once you’ve met them or sat across the table from them. That’s what Obama is banking on. He’s hoping to establish the kind of rapport that will make it difficult for lawmakers to simply reject any future White House proposals on ideological grounds.

He’s learning fast. His approach so far seems to be: take every single thing George W. Bush ever did and do the exact opposite. After all when was the last time you saw W. on The Hill… trying to win over Democrats?

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