November 20th, 2008
05:50 PM ET
10 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. rachel

    Obama's transition team sure is leaking a lot of things lately.

    November 20, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    "Obama's style is different ,,, the "Whazzup, dude?" approach to politics." How trite! Obama is not some cool, TV idol dude. Rather he's a very intelligent, thoughtul, disciplined and hard-working person who will soon be everyone's President.

    November 20, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  3. CAW in MD

    Obama does seem to understand that there are good ideas to be found on both sides of the aisle. My fear is that there will be too much incrementalism, not enough bold strokes. Some of the problems we have require boldness rather than incrementalism. For others, incrementalism will suffice. Having the judgement to discern between the two will be his greatest challenge.

    November 20, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  4. Independent

    "Generation O: the "Whazzup, dude?" approach to politics."
    LOL...this describes Obama so much too.

    November 20, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  5. mitch

    i thought we would get a new defense dept. head that would start an immediate withdrawal from iraq? WTH? let's just drag it on like bush/mccain wanted. put the hillary [war-supporter] in as SOS? ugggh! president barack, you must do better than this.

    November 20, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  6. Matt

    I applaude the effort to reach out I really do. But Barack also needs to put his money where his mouth is and have some republicans and independents in his cabinet and a smart choice for Secretary of State like Richard Holbrooke. He may not have the name brand like Clinton but he also does not have the baggage as well. And he actually has foreign policy experience unlike Clinton who has only met the wives and spouses of foreign leaders and imaginary sniper fire.

    November 20, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  7. please

    Texas Lady –
    It is really quite amazing that you can read an article and then spew something that was not even close to being in the article. I applaud you...good job, I guess......

    November 20, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  8. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    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.

    Common! what is this comment! Sounds more like a comment for his clothes than for his new politics!

    I would hope and I would think that the new politics for this generation O (or is it generation Jones) is to bring every generation to acknowledges their accomplishments, their mistakes and face their new challenges and possibilities in uniting with every generation own's life journey to better and unite the country! Call it generation-fusion!

    November 20, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  9. Tex Ann ~~~~~~~

    I'm chuckling as I read this story- because Rahm Emanuel puts the fear of God in the hearts of all those holier-than-thou Republicans.

    November 20, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  10. Shane

    Texas Lady: What does Cuba have to do with anything?

    November 20, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  11. Independent

    Alice well what do you expect some people are so stupid it should be a sin. I mean look how many people believed John McCain would bring change cause he chose Sarah Palin.

    November 20, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  12. happy thanksgiving

    all for one and one for all.

    November 20, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  13. Stamp

    I love how the doubters are talking about how P.E. Obama and his administration have already failed. Reaching out to the GOP is a good thing, I think this man is a lot smarter than most of us, And who is to say that sliding a few Clinton cronies in there is a bad thing? The '90's were good times. He ran an airtight campaign and even republicans have to give him that, so how can we be so quick to say he won't run the country the same way?

    November 20, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  14. chris from STL

    Pete ... wake up. Where the hell are you living.

    Obama is our last savior .... The current dude in the white house and his cronies are useless idiots who took this country in to depression.

    November 20, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  15. California Gold

    I'm certain his approach is disarming. Think those who are contemporary or can embrace contemporary ideas "get it". If they don't "get it" or refuse to "get it" there is always Rahm Emmanuel. LOL. Judging from Lieberman's acknowledgment of Obama's olive branch, I think he "gets it".

    November 20, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  16. Aaron of Maryland

    Yeah really refreshing, War Hawks, Zionists, and Corporate Elites, finalizing drafted war plans for Israel to start a conflict with Iran, and shadowy Clintonites who deregulated Wall Street to allow the current robbery of our economy to the Central Banks. Change? We've had enough of this kind of change, the last eight years.

    November 20, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  17. Willy Brown

    So what did he do, cuss them out?

    November 20, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  18. Charles in Atlanta

    I am impressed by President-Elect Obama's integrity. He appears to be comfortable in his own skin and therefore does not feel threatened by intelligent, competent people. He is following through on his stated intent to find the "best and brightest" to deal with the complex and challenging issues our country currently face.

    November 20, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  19. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    Anyone who thinks we don't have problems in our nation just read some of the posts here, like the one from the guy named Cabrera from Indiana. After I read that I KNEW we needed some new politics and Obama is just the one to steer the ship right into the port.

    November 20, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  20. paul (staunch Moderate)

    Texas Lady November 20th, 2008 6:04 pm ET

    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.

    If you had half the knowledge you SHOULD – or THINK you – have about how the U.S. government works you wouldn't be spewing this kind of stuff.

    November 20, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  21. An Independent

    I've been impressed by Obama's actions so far. I applaud him getting the hyperpartisans in his own party to back off on the revenge against Lieberman. Making an effort to work with Sen. Clinton, Sen, McCain, and the Republican leaders is a very promising sign.

    I think Sen. McCain and a few other Republicans (e.g. Sen. Collins) will be willing to work with the new administration to craft beneficial legislation. I fear that the majority of the Republicans, however, will not. Most of the reasonable moderate members of that party are gone now and what's left is mostly the rabid extremists that act like spoiled brats and will not give an inch on anything. If they don't get exactly what they want, they won't play. That's why I was happy to see the Democrats get close to a filibuster-proof majority. Without that, the right wing extremists that have done so much damage would obstruct any attempt to fix the mess they've created.

    November 20, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  22. Thad, MO

    He's getting off to a good start. We're finally getting somewhere.

    November 20, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  23. Ghuman

    I think a lot of folks here are confused about "Change"; what it means and how it happens. Perhaps its because some of the people are missing the picture. Let me explain with an analogy.

    If you eat a dish every day, you get sick and tired of it and look for a change. The new dish will most likely have same ingredients but the master of change is the Chef. The Chef takes the same ingredients and by using his creativity, imagination and skills cooks up a brand new dish that can be rejoiced by the diners.

    Yes, on surface, Obama is picking qualified people who were in some shape or fashion part of some previous administrations. These are smart people who understand the issues (like the ingredients of the dish mentioned above). However, the "Chef", in this case Mr. Obama, will hopefully, using his creativity, imagination and intelligence will cook a new dish that entire America can rejoice.

    Love for All – Hatred for None.

    November 20, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  24. Latina-Indepedent-4-OBAMA

    TO THE FAR-RIGHT-HATERS: Why don't you take a deep breath and get some professional help.

    This IS NOT Cuba. The MILLIONS of Americans, who voted for President-elect OBAMA are not insane, we are fair-minded, THINKING Americans who have been disgusted and disturbed a by the failure of the Bush/Cheney presidency.

    The far-right-nuts know how to condemn, judge and criticize but LOOK at the DISASTER we are facing! The failures of Bush/Cheney are many, why don't you take a good long look at the TRUTH for a change?!

    Wall Street melt-down, thanks to the DE-regulations of the GOP Congress (Jan. 1994-Jan. 2007!)
    10,000 Americans losing their homes daily
    September 11th, yeah, it happened on Bush's watch!
    Over a MILLION jobs lost, this year alone!
    A budget DEFICIT of ........ONE.....TRILLION......ETC., ETC.


    November 20, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  25. Zaga

    What do you get when a qualify leader pick an experience team?

    November 20, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
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