BOTH INFURIATING PARTISAN AND INFURIATINGLY BIPARTISAN
Which Obama is infuriating you? The bare-knuckle partisan described by Politico's Jonathan Martin? Or the bend-over-backwards excessive bipartisan described by Jeff Zeleny of The New York Times?
...As the top tier of his Cabinet begins to come into focus, ... it looks increasingly unlikely that Obama will break new ground when it comes to fashioning a bipartisan government.
Instead, he appears to be taking a check-the-box approach that would differ little from the pattern set by predecessors Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
They both made a nod to the opposition party in their Cabinet selections but in the main did not depart from Washington's to-the-victor-goes-the-spoils tradition in their personnel choices or the policies that flowed from them....
In the third week of his transition to power, President-elect Barack Obama is working to build a cordial relationship with Republicans by seeking guidance on policy proposals, asking for advice on appointments and hoping to avoid perceptions of political arrogance given the wide margins of his victory.
Mr. Obama has made calls to Republican leaders, and he dispatched Rahm Emanuel, his new chief of staff, to meet with them on Capitol Hill....
The bipartisan concessions have infuriated many liberal Democrats....
Politico tells us that reappointing Robert Gates as defense secretary "would hardly signal a dramatically new style of partisan bridge-building" (because he's not a frothing right-winger). The Times says actual Republicans think it would be seen as a sign of bipartisan outreach.
If the journos see can't agree on whether he's trying very hard or not trying nearly hard enough, then maybe he's just about where he needs to be to neutralize the question altogether.
(Politico story via Steve Benen.)