Obama Steps Up Confrontation

White House Seeks to Rally Supporters With Aggressive Tone Against Opponents

Jonathan Weisman
The Wall Street Journal
3/30/2010

President Barack Obama, after a year of fitfully searching for compromise, is taking a more aggressive tack with his Republican adversaries, hoping to energize Democratic voters and possibly muscle in some Republican support in Congress.

On Thursday, the president challenged Republicans who planned to campaign on repealing his health-care bill with, “Go for it.” Two days later, he made 15 senior appointments without Senate consent, including a union lawyer whose nomination had been blocked by a filibuster…

…A senior Democratic official said the push was a textbook case of taking advantage of political momentum as the campaign season begins. Republicans are “on the defensive,” the official said, “and as long as they’re not cooperating, we ought to keep them there.”..

…The partisanship “may be more visible, and he may be more resolute about it, but as far as most of us are concerned, this is business as usual,” said Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, a member of the Republican leadership.

But Mr. Alexander said the recent moves are broader, more public swipes that will hurt the president in the end.

He conceded that Republican leaders have tried to maintain unity in opposition. “When you have 40 Republicans, with your back against the wall and the gallows are right in your face, you’re going to do your best to be unified,” Mr. Alexander said.

The onus, however, is on the president to build relationships with minority leaders, Mr. Alexander said.

“If you’re the president or a governor and you don’t have a good relationship with the other party, that’s your problem to solve,” he said…

Read the complete article at The Wall Street Journal

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