Obama’s bipartisanship can’t be argued when it comes to offering congressmen rides on Air Force One as he seeks crucial votes.
Monday, it was declared “no” vote on health care Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and “undecided” Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) who rode on Air Force One to Ohio with the president, in what the Washington Post called the “the ultimate pressure cooker.”
Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) can relate. Three months after being elected to Congress, Schock was invited aboard Air Force One as the president flew to Schock’s district campaigning for the stimulus bill.
“I think it’s expected,” Schock said of the president’s latest invitation to Kucinich.
While Schock said it’s a privilege to be invited on Air Force One, he feels the Obama administration is letting a ride on the presidential plane take the place of negotiating on the actual health care legislation.
“Since they can’t offer legislative changes to get people’s vote, since they can’t negotiate on the substance of the bill, the only thing left to offer are perks,” Schock said.
But in both cases, the plane ride was just the first part of the gauntlet. Next came a public calling out in Obama’s speech to the representatives’ constituents. The Washington Post also reported that one of the references Obama made to Kucinich in his Ohio speech was in response to a constituent shouting ‘vote yes.’
“I think it’s much more effective to have the conversation directly with the member than to try and use his bully pulpit to try and shame members into doing what he wants,” Schock said of the president’s methods. “But I think this is in keeping with his practice since he’s been…president. If he feels comfortable shaming the Supreme Court in his State of the Union address when he disagrees with their decision, it doesn’t surprise me that he would do the same to a member of Congress he disagrees with.”
Schock said in the case of his trip on the stimulus vote, the “overwhelming” response he received from voters was asking him to vote against it, and he did.
Kucinich announced Wednesday morning that he had switched his ‘no’ vote on health care to a ‘yes.’