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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Air Force One to Maine

If Obama can take Air Force One to Williamsburg, VA, about 150 miles away by road, to meet with House Democrats about the recovery and reinvestment plan, then he can take it 600 miles to the state of Maine to help pass the same plan. You can call it the “Gentle Pressure Tour.”

As I mentioned the other day, Maine is the home of moderate Republican Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, who can provide the 60% needed to break a filibuster. It sounds like they agree on most of the bill, but negotiations got bogged down on some of the minor details.

Obama could bring Snowe and Collins along on the tour, and just start pitching the plan in town hall meetings. Then put a conference table at center stage and just start negotiating in public view. The media can cover the highlights.

I also understand that some conservative Democrats were also raising objections. Bring them along to Maine, put Harry Reid to work on them, include them in the negotiations, but let them know they’re next if they slow down the progress. This is no time to break ranks.

The idea behind the “Gentle Pressure Tour” is that if the Senators are too obstructionist, their constituents may not vote for them the next time they run for reelection. Maine was a blue state in 2008, going for Obama 58% to 41%. I would concentrate on only the most liberal Republicans. There has been some talk about broad bipartisan consensus. That’s bullshit. Most conservatives are too far gone. The idea is to get the best deal possible for the American people. Let’s put the Republican paradigm behind us once and for all and never look back.


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