Some of my thinking here is based upon some opinions by national columnists and other readings of late, so it is not entitely original.
I have learned in recent readings that FDR in the 1930's largely ignored the Republicans in Congress when he was working to pass certain major initiatives, such as Social Security.
I witnessed with GW Bush that he and the GOP controlled Congress in the first 6 years of that administration largely ignored the Democrats to push through their agenda on various things.
I am tempted to send to our current President a copy of "The Prince."
Obama deserves credit for seeking consensus and compromise. When it can be done, that is a healthy thing. The test of his mettle as a new President is how he will act when consenus and compromise appear to be unattainable in the national health care dicussion.
I had a free afternoon in Austin Texas about a year ago, and I went to the LBJ Library on the UT Campus. The public part of this place understandably downplays the Viet Nam fiasco, and plays up the many things he did accomplish around voting rights, civil rights, and related legislation. LBJ was a powerful personality, and a great deal of what was accomplished in those bills that were passed had to do with his strong persona and an inate instinct to know when to unload the opposition in order to get things done.
The health care policy that will be passed can not please everyone, and at this point, I think Obama needs to look at recent and not so recent predecessors and get his agenda passed with the Congress that enables him to do that, and give up on the notion that he will be able to get the loyal opposition in the GOP to get on board.
It was a noble thing to attempt, but it failed. Time to play hard ball. Bring on Rahm Emmanuel after Labor Day.