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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In case you missed these tidbits of information, here they are:

1- Bush got a shoe thrown at him by an Iraqi reporter in Baghdad today during a news conference. Read the Huffington Post’s account here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/14/bush-visits-iraq-for-fina_n_150832.html

2-Obama wants to retreat to Chicago during his breaks instead of Crawford Texas or Kennebunkport, Maine and other “exotic” locations. I feel sorry for his neighbours. Then again their property values just went way up last month when Obama won. So they have nothing to complain about.

3-Mccain scolded his fellow Republicans today on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, asking them to focus on the stimulus packages instead of looking for a scandal around Obama’s association with Blagojevich.  Is this the Old-New McCain?

And finally, yesterday’s post on Blago & Obama generated quite a response out there and there were a few things that got misinterpreted on various blogs that referenced my post.  So let me just reiterate the gist of my point:

Rod Blagojevich is a politician; a stupid politician, but a politician nevertheless. His major mistake in this whole scandal was that he allowed himself to be taped while he talked about the misdeeds he wanted to perform.

 Now, while I accept that he was planning illegal acts and fully  disapprove and condemn his plans, I cast them alongside the acts of other politicians everywhere who always make nominations or select accolytes for positions based on previous good deeds. I scratch your back, you scratch mine as the cliche goes. For us simple citizens, it appears improper and it is improper because we vote for these individuals thinking that they will select the best qualified candidates for these jobs and serve the county, the state or the nation to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, many of them are only making sure their mortgages (on all their homes) are paid.

But we must not despair because for every Blagojevich out there, there is an FDR doing his/her best. We have to believe that, otherwise democracy crumbles and we might as well just pack our bags and move to Baghdad where the shoes are still flying high and democracy is laying low.