Monday, February 9, 2009

The Price of the "Bipartisan Cult"

I couldn't have possibly said it better than Jane Hamsher at HuffPo & FDL:

The stimulus package is consistently being attacked because not enough Republicans support it. The fact that the bill received no Republican votes in the House, and "only" three Republicans support the Senate version, is sufficient to conclude that it fails Obama's objective of being "bipartisan."

We'll overlook for the moment that two years ago, any bill Joe Lieberman voted for was considered "bipartisan." When Obama sketched out the goals for the stimulus package in early January, he started negotiating with himself by offering "huge tax cuts" as "a way to defuse conservative criticism and enlist Republican support."

But the biggest ground he gave up to the Republicans was control of the primary objective he set for the bill, that it have "bipartisan" support.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The purpose of the stimulus should NOT be to "show bipartisanship in action". No, the purpose should be putting people back to work and helping working-class people afford the necessities of life. By following the advice of the idiots in the Beltway Insiders' Chattering Class Club and bending over backwards to "be bipartisan" and give the GOP a sharp knife to stab him, President Obama may be undermining his own mandate.

Here's more of what Jane had to say:

If this becomes the template for all future sausage making between the White House and the Hill, progressive interests will continue to be offered up in sacrifice every time the Republicans decide they don't like something so the administration can appear to "rise above it all." And rather than being forced to defend their propositions, dithering "centrists" will continue to be patted on the head for pitching public temper tantrums, holding the Senate hostage and parading before the cameras like a bunch of peacocks until their egos are suitably stroked.

There is no inherent value in bipartisanship, it's the means to an end. If the administration doesn't define what that "end" is and gives the Republicans the power to determine success or failure by a simple refusal to participate, they will continue to do so.

How very true. So again, why do we care how "bipartisan" the process is and how many Republicans get to insert more stupid Bushian sh*t into this bill? Shouldn't we care more about getting a good bill passed ASAP that actually helps people? So go ahead, get as many Republicans as possible to support the best bill possible. But please, let's not forsake our own scruples for the sake of "bipartisanship".


Post a Comment