A lot of irrelevant, has-been politicians are making noises about the need for bipartisanship, now that there’s even a remote possibility that a moderate Democratic agenda could be enacted. Just say no to Compulsive Centrist Disorder; be partisan!
From the New York Times, here’s what I’m talking about:
On Sunday, the mayor will join Democratic and Republican elder statesmen at the University of Oklahoma in what the conveners are billing as an effort to pressure the major party candidates to renounce partisan gridlock.
Former Senator David L. Boren of Oklahoma, who organized the session with former Senator Sam Nunn, a Democrat of Georgia, suggested in an interview that if the prospective major party nominees failed within two months to formally embrace bipartisanship and address the fundamental challenges facing the nation, “I would be among those who would urge Mr. Bloomberg to very seriously consider running for president as an independent.”
And what partisan gridlock would that be? The only partisan gridlock on the Democratic side that is occurring is when the Democrats roll over and play dead in the wrong spot, and a Republican accidentally trips over them. To the extent that the Congress can’t get anything done, it is partisan: that is, the record number of Republican filibusters might have something to do with the ‘gridlock.’
But what is worse than the revisionist history put forth by the Bipartisans is the mind boggling stupid inability to place blame where it lies: on the Republican Party. Foolishly, time and time again, Democrats have extended an olive branch (e.g., taking impeachment off the table, up or down votes on judicial appointees), only to have the olive branch snatched from their hands by Republicans and subsequently be beaten with the damn branch.
This is nothing new. Partisan conservative activist Grover Norquist referred to bipartisanship as “date rape”, explicitly stating the Republican concept of governance (and also proving that he is a misogynist asshole). Since Sept. 11, 2001, Republicans have accused those who disagree with them about anything of treason and disloyalty.
For thinking, and rightly so, that invading the wrong country, and that outsourcing the hunt for bin Laden to Afghan drug lords was murderously foolish, our sons, brothers, fathers, our friends, our lovers were called fifth columnists, traitors, and weaklings. Even though we were right, and the Republicans were wrong.
For thinking, and rightly so, that pastors, preachers, and prelates have no more legitimate say than any other citizen to decide whom she may and may not love, and when life begins, our sisters, our daughters, our mothers, our friends, and our lovers were called sluts and whores. Even though teen pregnancy in the U.S. is rising, and pregnancy-related deaths are still unacceptably high in the developing world. We were right, and the Republicans.
For thinking, and rightly so, that economic policies such as that awful bankruptcy bill, cutting taxes on the wealthiest among us, and allowing predatory lending would cause economic hardship, we were derided as ‘protectionists’ and ‘unserious.’
Where were these Bipartisans then?
No matter how loudly the Republicans screech, how loudly they rattle the bars, how much excrement they smear on the walls, it does not change the reality that, when Republicans are allowed to be Republicans, they hurt and break everything. No matter how loudly they shriek that 2 + 2 = 8, it does not.
And the Bipartisans who think that, well, “let’s just say that 2 + 2 = 6, and call it a day” are wrong too. The problem is not ‘partisanship’, the problem is that one group of partisans, known as Republicans, are staggeringly wrong. They are the problem. In a sane world, Bill Kristol and all of the others would not be writing for the New York Times and showing up on the teevee machine, they would be pushing shopping carts and wearing tin foil helmets. Other than that they bathe regularly, professional Republicans are every bit as crazy–and far more dangerous–as your typical mentally-ill homeless person. They are the political equivalent of flat-earthers and creationists (when they aren’t the one and the same).
Instead, the Bipartisans want to take these nutjobs seriously. If that’s the alternative, partisanship is a great idea.