A middle-aged man dreaming of the day when he can stop begging for scraps and write for a living.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bipartisan Politics

Digby writes eloquently about the current Village Voice hypocrisy about bipartisan governance. She quotes former Oklahoma Democratic Senator David L. Boren:

"Electing a president based solely on the platform or promises of one party is not adequate for this time," Boren said. "Until you end the polarization and have bipartisanship, nothing else matters, because one party simply will block the other from acting."

She correctly points out that Boren and his fellow "backstabbers" were nowhere to be found during the fifteen years of Republican one-party partisan rule, when they effectively locked the Democrats out of the process of government. So, she assumes, it's okay if the Republicans do it, but not when the Democrats do it.

Her deconstruction is spot on, but she misses one thing that I think is critical to the discussion. Since assuming the majority role in 2006, the Democratic leadership in Congress have been doing nothing but push bipartisan politics. Pelosi bent over backward in the House to give the Republicans everything they wanted, as if they were still in the majority. Reid did the same, including honoring any "hold" on legislation from the Republicans, and ignoring the hold put on recent legislation by his fellow Democrat, Chris Dodd. You can not look at the past year in politics without truthfully acknowledging that the Democrats have distinctly not pursued partisan politics, and it has us very annoyed. The Republicans have demonstrated their gratitude for this cooperation by mudslinging, obstructing and doing everything in their power to make the Democratic majority look bad. They've succeeded brilliantly.

So I agree with Digby and Matt Yglesias that we need more partisanship from our leaders, not less. It's time to show the American people who is really responsible for the weight of the problems they're worried about, and who is responsible for blocking every solution to those problems. The Republicans aren't interested in bipartisanship, they're interested in talking about it to make the Democrats look bad. When it comes to politics, they allow only two possibilities: their way or no way. And the media is helping them get away with it.

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