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What Will Obama's Bipartisanship Look Like?

Ed Kilgore makes some typically smart points about just what exactly Obama might do to fulfill his pledge of bipartisanship. Hint: it might not involve keeping Gates at the Pentagon or finding some out-of-the-way cabinet post for the likes of Jim Leach. 

There is, however, one form of "bipartisanship" that Bush never took seriously, and that is very consistent with everything Barack Obama has said on the subject. Back in 2001, I described it as an "outside-in" coalition:

This variety, typically used by incoming Presidents during their "honeymoon" period, involves the aggressive, direct stimulation of public opinion to push members of the opposing party, especially those from states or districts where the President is popular, to come across the line.

This is essentially bipartisanship (or if you wish, post-partisanship) from the ground up, which reaches out to rank-and-file Republicans and independents to mobilize support for big national initiatives. I contrasted this with the "inside-out" coalition--often known later as High Broderism--which involves deal-cutting in Washington across party lines.

I raise this distinction partly because it's important in and of itself, and also because it provides the essential context for the decisions Obama makes on appointments. It's one thing to appoint Republicans to positions as a signal that the new administration is interested in a broader agenda of bipartisan deal-cutting in Washington. It's another thing altogether to appoint a diverse team of officials who are all pledged to implement a clear progressive agenda.

You have to imagine that the 10 million email addresses the Obama people now have in their system could help, uh, stimulate public opinion to bring reluctant Republicans to Obama's side. Then again, did Obama win many (or any) Congressional districts that are represented by a Republican other than Nebraska's 2nd

Update: Reader MY emails to point out that this will be more of an issue in the Senate, where GOP votes are more necessary--and there you've got Sens Collins, Snowe, Burr, Specter, Voinovich, Martinez, Lugar, Grassley, and Ensign all representing states Obama won. 

Later Update: And, per TalkBacker kyoung, Judd Gregg.

--Jason Zengerle