Obama Mends Legislative Bridges

Congressmen who got used to George Bush’s cold shoulder can warm up to Barack Obama.: “Obama has signaled he will be far more involved with the legislative process than his predecessor and will give lawmakers of both parties more sway in shaping the product from the start,” writes The Wall Street Journal. Obama’s pre-inaugural lobbying for the TARP funds provides an early indicator of how he may operate. Obama personally worked the phones, calling up to a dozen senators, and he dispatched aides like Larry Summers, David Axelrod, and Jason Furman to meetings. Obama also never offered his own public stimulus plan, suggesting outlines, but allowing Congress to hammer out the details of its $825 billion package. “The approach marks a departure from George W. Bush's legislative strategies. On major domestic policy initiatives, such as his 2001 and 2003 tax cuts as well as his Social Security partial privatization plan, Mr. Bush produced detailed proposals upfront.”