Transcript: Senior WH Adviser Valerie Jarrett

MYERS: Well, I think after some consultation in the early weeks and months, they ran up against the reality. It's true the president has in some ways changed the tone, but he's also in these nine short months, 10 short months shown the limitations of bipartisanship. You can talk a good game, you can go meet with people and you realize they're just not going to be for you and so that leaves you no alternative than to secure your base. You have to get the votes out of your base. And if you can pick off one or two people in the middle like Olympia Snowe, moderate Republican, to call the bill bipartisan, great. But if not, then you have to be able to pass legislation with Democrats.

BROWNSTEIN: These are much more structural problems than really dealing with one president in their control. We are moving much closer to something like a parliamentary system in this country where each party is now much more the base, the coalition is much more ideologically homogeneous than it was a generation ago and that exerts tremendous and typical pressure for legislators on one side to stand with their side against the other on almost every major issue.

I think Obama wants to bring in Republicans but he wants to do so by addition. He's willing to add Republican ideas, I think, to his package. Republicans need -- really need subtraction.

I mean that even if, for example, you have medical malpractice reform in the health care bill, there are very few Republicans today who could vote for an individual mandate, which is the cornerstone of the bill, even though that was the Republican alternative to Hillary Clinton's plan in 1993.

I think the parties are structurally moving apart, and it is very difficult for either side to win substantial support on their legislative priorities from the other. That is just a reality of our politics today.

MYERS: But it's worth noting that twice as many people, American people, think Obama and the Democrats have tried harder to reach across the aisle than Republicans.

WILL: But the reality is the Democrats have a very clear agenda, unified theory of this administration and it is equality, understood as equality of outcome. And, therefore, every proposal the president has from dealing with General Motors to the United Autoworkers to health care is to increase the number of Americans equally dependent on the federal government for more and more things. And I don't think the American people at the end of the day want that.

SHARPTON: Well, I think that you cannot get by Dee Dee's point. I think that the American people have said very, very clearly that they think that this administration and the Democrats have been the ones to reach out. We're waiting to see the Republican that emerges that reaches back. Even on education reform, the president has Newt Gingrich and I touring together. I mean, you can't reach out more than to try to get Newt Gingrich and I to go on tour together.

I think that he has reached out. I think at some point, there will be a tremendous backlash on the Republicans when they don't reach back. And I think that that is the problem that they're having in a lot of these pollings that we're seeing.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...