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Is Obama’s Bipartisanship Destroying the Republican Party?

June 3, 2009

President Obama was vocal about bipartisanship and adding Republicans to his administration when he was still candidate Obama. And since he took office, he has backed up the rhetoric with a number of appointments from across the aisle. Given the size and scope of his electoral victory, these moves were not politically required and therefore appeared magnanimous. Given that the economic crisis and the wars were left to him by a Republican president, they sometime seemed unnecessary. But with the recent appointment of John McHugh as Secretary of the Army, on the heels of Obama’s selection of other northeast and western moderate Republicans to fill posts in his government, commentators have begun to speculate that all the bi-partisan moves are actually an incredibly shrewd tactical maneuver to further marginalize the GOP and to hasten its demise into a southern, hyper-conservative, religiously fundamentalist rump party. Commentary about the McHugh pick from Politico here. An excerpt:

Yet it’s also hard to find a choice better calibrated to meet the Obama administration’s political imperatives. All at once, Obama has selected a nominee who burnishes his bipartisan credentials, opened up a seat prime for Democratic pickup and drained the GOP reservoir of one of the few remaining Northeastern moderates.

It’s an event that’s happening with enough frequency to suggest the presence of a design, a plan that not only sketches the outline of a reelection strategy but manages to drive a wedge into the opposition at the same time. Call it a Sherman’s March in reverse — an audacious attempt by Obama to burn down any lines of escape for Republicans from their one refuge of popularity, the deep South.

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