Sonntag, Januar 25, 2009

Bipartisanship and Reality...

This will perhaps come as a surprise to some readers, but if you've ever spent any length of time in DC, it's not.

Bipartisanship has two meanings. One if you're a Democrat, another if you're a Republican.

For a Republican it can be best exemplified by what John McCain represents: someone who is willing to make compromises for the good of the country, to get things done while accepting sometimes unpleasant agreements. Of working out a quid pro quo, funding something your opponent wants while getting something important done that you want.

That's the normal business of Washington. Scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. Of course, in the process you may be manipulated by small movements into giving in on bigger items, and you might find that after you've scratched someone else's back, they simply keep on going and you realize that your side of the deal is that you've been screwed. Sometimes you can recover, sometimes you can't.

But now we see what President Obama and the Democratic Party mean by bipartisanship, and to be honest: duh. This is something I've seen over the decades I've lived in and watched DC, and it is apparent to me that this is what is fundamentally wrong with the Democratic Party as well.

After less than a week in office, Mr Obama's presidency is already encountering the very partisan bickering he had pledged to stamp out during his first 100 days.

He faces mounting criticism over his $825 billion economic stimulus plan, from Republican leaders who say the legislation has been drawn up without the input which Mr Obama had promised to allow them.

The president responded with a clear signal that he is prepared to ram the bill through without the bipartisan consensus he promised to construct, telling Republican leaders from the House of Representatives: "I won. I'm the president."

He then told them to break free of the confrontational mindset epitomised by Mr Limbaugh, the highest paid talk show host in America. "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," Mr Obama said.

See the pattern? This is one that we will see repeated and repeated.

The pattern is that bipartisanship for the Democrats means that the Republicans go along with them in order to avoid a confrontation. They are to be subservient, the only thing that counts is that they had better toe the line or nothing that they want will be ever considered.

That's the Democratic position on bipartisanship in reality. Anything else is fantasy.

President Obama himself will provide the greatest impetus for the Republican Party to return to its roots in Ripon

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