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Quick shots: What happened to bipartisanship?

  • Mary Matalin: Obama hasn't delivered on promise to promote bipartisanship
  • She says the GOP's bipartisan efforts were rebuffed from the start of the administration
  • Ruben Navarrette says poll indicates many Latino voters may sit out the election
  • He says Democrats take Latinos for granted, Republicans write them off

Editor's note: There are 22 days to go before voters cast ballots in the hotly contested midterm elections. In this special feature, CNN's political contributors share their quick thoughts on what's making news.

Mary Matalin, a Republican strategist, joined CNN as a political contributor in April 2009. She has worked for Presidents Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush and served as counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney.

Ruben Navarrette is a nationally syndicated columnist, an NPR commentator and a contributor.

Matalin: Obama has to get serious about bipartisanship

The first half of the Obama term has been marked by policy distortions and political contortions. In Obama World, the stimulus is growing the economy and creating jobs; health care "reform" is cutting costs and expanding coverage.

Whatever isn't working is the fault of (take your pick) Bush, Rush, Boehner, Beck or bigotry. A recurring alternate reality is that the GOP ushered in the current Capitol Hill partisan toxic wasteland.

As electoral judgment day approaches, the president's consiglieri once more reflects the parallel universe of White House thinking. David Axelrod said, "I'm hoping that with more seats, the Republicans will feel a greater sense of responsibility to work with us."

In real life, the GOP's bipartisan efforts were rebuffed from the outset of the administration with "I won"; no serious, substantive meetings between the White House and the GOP leaders occurred on any topic; legitimate GOP policy ideas were trashed as "status quo."

Bipartisanship is not only possible; it is mandatory to pull the economy out of the rut and get the country back together. But the onus will be on the president to kick-start the coming together. He must quit trash-talking the loyal opposition and start walking across the aisle.

The impending enhanced conservative presence in both chambers represents the country calling on their president to provide the bipartisan leadership he promised.

Navarrette: Should Latinos sit out this election?


The recipe for becoming irrelevant to the political process is to be taken for granted by one party and written off by another.

This is where Latino voters find themselves on the eve of the 2010 elections. They've shown themselves to be blindly loyal to the Democratic Party, and so their concerns are routinely ignored. (Got immigration reform?) Yet, Republicans don't consider them a wise investment of time and energy.


Meanwhile, many Latinos are wondering whether it was wise to hand over 67 percent of their votes to Barack Obama in 2008. Obama had done little for Latinos to earn that level of support back then, and he's done even less as president.

Disillusionment has set in. A new survey by the Pew Hispanic Center finds that only 51 percent of Latinos say they are absolutely certain that they'll vote on November 2, compared with 70 percent of all voters. That's bad news for those on the left, since the survey found that Latinos prefer Democrats to Republicans, 65 percent to 22 percent.

Maybe more Latinos should sit out this election. Maybe it'll teach Obama and other Democrats a valuable lesson and, ironically, make this constituency relevant once more.

The opinions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of the authors.