November 20th, 2008
05:50 PM ET
6 years ago

Schneider: A sign of new politics?

 Emanuel met with Republicans on Capitol Hill Thursday.
Emanuel met with Republicans on Capitol Hill Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - What's the significance of Obama sending Rahm Emanuel to meet with Republican leaders of Congress?

It's one more piece of evidence that President-elect Obama intends to pursue a new kind of politics.

President-elect Obama reaches out to his former rival Hillary Clinton to be his secretary of state.

He meets with John McCain to discuss issues they agree on. Obama described that meeting between his former opponent as "a good conversation about how we can do some work together to fix up the country."

The President-elect advises Senate Democrats not to be too harsh on Joe Lieberman for being disloyal to the party. Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee, is now a Independent Senator who is allied with the Democrats. But Lieberman was a major supporter of Republican John McCain during the presidential campaign and there were many Democrats who were hoping Lieberman would be punished for those actions by the loss of his chairmanship of the powerful Homeland Security Committee. Lieberman kept the chairmanship, and credited Obama, saying "I know that my colleagues in the Senate Democratic Caucus were moved not only by what Senator Reid (the Senate Majority Leader) said about my longtime record, but by the appeal from President-elect Obama himself that the nation unite now to confront our very serious problems."

Now Obama sends the man he's named as his White House Chief of Staff to meet with Republican leaders of Congress.

Emanuel said he hopes the meetings will spread "good will for ideas from both parties to solve challenges."

Could this be the new kind of politics Obama promised to bring to Washington?

"Understand, if we want to meet the challenges of this moment, we need to get beyond the old ideological debates and divides between left and right," said Obama on November third, the day before the presidential election.

Obama will not be the first President who set out to end the red-versus-blue divide that has defined American politics since the 1960s. Bill Clinton called himself a New Democrat and promised a third way. George W. Bush talked about "compassionate conservatism" and said he would be a uniter and not a divider.

But the two Baby Boomer presidents ended up being defined by the cultural divide. Clinton by his liberal values - gun control, gays in the military, abortion rights - more than his centrist policies. Bush by his conservatism more than his compassion.

Obama was born at the tail end of the Baby Boom. The new generation he brings to power – some call it "Generation O’’ - does not identify with the left-right battles of the sixties.

In his book, "The Audacity of Hope," Obama writes about moving beyond "the psychodrama of the Baby Boom generation, a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago."

It was Hillary Clinton who ran as the tough partisan fighter, saying "If I tell you I will fight for you, that is exactly what I intend to do."

Obama's style is different. Not partisan or ideological like the Baby Boomers. Obama's style is casual, cool, connected, like Generation O: the "Whazzup, dude?" approach to politics.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. Shrimp Barnicles, NJ

    Obama should pick Chuck Hagel as Secretary of State. I am waiting to see which republican he picks for his cabinet. Obama's cabinet is starting to look too partisan.

    November 20, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  2. Ron from Baltimore

    Well, this is exactly what we believed we were voting for in Obama. So far, this exceeds all expectations, ours and the rest of the world's.

    November 20, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  3. Texas Lady

    It wasn't an olive branch, it was a 2 x 4 to let the Reps know that it doesn't matter what conservatives think, it will be all far left wing – and if they argue, then off with their heads.

    Cuba wanted change in 1959 – look what they got. The good ole US wanted change – and it's time to start looking for ways to heil to the new ruler.

    November 20, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  4. CLINTON

    "Whazzup, McCAIN?" LOL, YUP, THAT'S BABY BOOMERS.

    November 20, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  5. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Pundits are whining about "Clinton People." Obama is picking the best and the brightest... and those with the experience, worked in the Clinton years.

    With the complex challenges facing this country, the change comes from Obama's vision ... not by picking Joe the Plumber because he is a "new face."

    Qualifications & experience: both sides of the Senate are looking forward to working with Daschale... because he knows how it works!

    November 20, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  6. James F

    President-elect Obama is got to be one of the smartest, politically savvy people this country has ever elected. He knows that he must cross partison walls and recruit as much support for real solutions. This is so refreshing and I hope will work for all of us.

    November 20, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  7. Lee-- Dallas, TX

    This nation has too many problems for these continued divisions. It is time for all sides to come together and bring about the solutions that American's want and need.

    I hope that this will be part of the foundation in which Obama build's his Administration

    November 20, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  8. Proud American in a Big City

    I fervently hope that Obama and his administration will live up to these hopes, and that we as the American people will support them and one another through these trying times.

    May God's love be with all of us.

    November 20, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. William

    This is a sign of a NEW POLITICS. The same old "divide" has really gotten us nowhere in the last 50 years.
    In my opinion, this is exactly as I visualized it and it is a strong sign that President-Elect Obama is keeping his word about "CHANGE".
    This is a good sign and fortifies my faith in this new leader of ours.

    November 20, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    "Obama's style is different... the "Whazzup, dude?" approach to politics." Trite analysis that. This is NOT some cool dude, some TV idol, but rather a very intelligent, hard-working, thoughtful and determined adult who is now everyone's President.

    November 20, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  11. Dave

    Finally, it looks like we're going to get past the divisive tactics we've experienced the last 8 years. I'm cautiously optimistic.

    November 20, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  12. Daniel Cabrera

    Hello everyone;

    Oh! but that should not surprise anyone, right?Course not!,...wait until pres elected Obama takes the helm in Washington,...he-he THEN! IS WHEN WE ARE GOING TO DROP LIKE LEAD DOWN -DOWN TO THE DEEPST ABYS OF FINANCIAL TOTAL OBLITERATION.And then, we become the weak nation as our enemies wanted us to be just like almost magic!

    I Told you Obama is a 'TROJAN HORSE FACTOR' for the downfal of our great country,...nobody want to look hard on this , everybody is like still hypnotized by the 'Obama collective-syndrom' ,...pity!,...we are aproaching the point of no return.

    Not too far in the near future all those COCOZOIDS, who voted for Obama, will wish to have a TIME MACHINE to go back in time and undo what is done.

    Well, sleep well in your illlusions, until the big crack emerges.

    Sincerely,
    Daniel Cabrera
    Merrillville, Indiana

    November 20, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  13. Fla. Voter

    President-elect Obama is using an intelligent, pragmatic approach to inclusive politics. What a refreshing sign of great potential ahead for our country!

    November 20, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  14. Meka

    President Obama, will be the best President in American History!

    Obama '12

    November 20, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  15. gallimimus

    It's funny how some folks are soooo disappointed that the PE has not brought about the change that he was talking about prior to the election. Give it time people, he is not in office and needs time to prepare for the good things that are going to happen when he has had some time in office. This is just the beginning and it's looking good so far!

    November 20, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  16. Once upon a horse

    Really it appears the main thing pres-elect Obama is doing is making the neo-cons and the far right VERY nervous. The main thing they do NOT want is a successful Obama presidency, it would totally ruin their agenda and may put the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity off the air. One thing Obama has shown so far is that he is not stupid and although some may not agree with some of his chosen adminstration, (and it's the anti-Obama and far right zealots mainly that don't) he is putting together a bright and diverse group. He even wants to show that Democrats and Republicans CAN work together even is they don't agree upon everything. Obama has been handed quite a mess to deal with, the far right will be watching him closely rooting for him to stumble and when he does make an error they will pounce like a cat on a mouse. Hopefully they won't get to pounce too often.

    November 20, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  17. Greed is not good

    Yes the wedge issues need to stay-out of the federal govt. and brings progress to a screaching halt.

    No more talk about gun control, abortion, gays!!! Enough wasting time on activist issues already!!!

    November 20, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  18. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    REMEMBER OBAMA IS ABOUT CHANGE, HE DIDN'T SAY HE WAS STUPID AND THAT'S A BIG DIFFERENCE.

    November 20, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  19. Pete

    Talk is cheap, although it bought Obama the presidency! I guess he thinks it can buy him some other things.

    His actions won't match his words, just as his past actions didn't match his campgain words.

    November 20, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  20. Cynthia - Arkansas

    This administration will be made up of the best and brightest. It will truly be a turning of the page. If the Republicans want to be a part of it, fine. If they want to show out and act badly, then they can sit over in the corner by themselves. We don't need them anyway. If the talking head would give Obama a chance, I think they will be impressed. If the Republicans start attacking him, I think it will only make them look worse. Americans are tired of all the loud mouths like Hannity, O'Reilly and Limbaugh. Haven't they figured that out after two election cycles of losing?

    November 20, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  21. Lexington Green

    Also, there's little risk in reaching out to the Minority Republicans, given their recent performance. They are clearly a group that doesn't know what to do. In meetings, would Rahm Emanual be hearing anything different than what he, and we, have heard over the last 8 years:

    "The economy is sound. We're close to victory in Iraq, don't quit now. The health care system is fine, we just need to give a few more people 'access'. As soon as we've made the world safe, we'll start working on smaller government . . . "

    November 20, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  22. Barbara in NC

    I wish you "experts" would leave the criticism outside the newsroom until this man actually becomes President.

    I'm tired of you all stirring up controversy over nothing, or "possibilities", or "probabilities", or "undisclosed sources say".

    LEAVE IT ALONE – wait until Jan. 20, 2009

    Who will be to blame when the HATE FILLED people in this country read your "Tabloid News" and take it as gospel? YOU WiLL

    November 20, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  23. Pua, HI

    I really like President-elect Obama's style of politics. It is so refreshing to watch things unfold. And for those who are not aware of where he was born... in the Aloha State... Hawaii... he has Aloha in his heart and lives in the spirit of Aloha. I would call his style... politics of Aloha...

    November 20, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  24. LisaB

    Yes! New politics!
    Lord knows the "old politics" wasn't working!

    November 20, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  25. K. B. Denver, Colorado

    Let us hope this "good will" meeting sets a precedent of bipartisanship
    everywhere in government and just maybe it will spread to these ornery stubborn partisan Blogger's You Know Who Are...

    November 20, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
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