Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Bipartisanship? What's That Really Mean?
Today's Washington Post has a 3 pager purporting to show that independents favor cooperation between the two parties and less partisan warfare.
The backbone is a study the Post did with the Kaiser Family Foundation that polled 3,000 randomly selected adults designed to 'to explore the views of the growing number of people who decline to pledge allegiance to either party.'
We've seen what the WaPo's polls are like before, and as usual,the WaPo declined to post a link to the mechanics, but the entire flavor of the article can pretty much be sampled by the opener:
President Obama and Mitt Romney are waging one of the most partisan campaigns in recent memory, energizing their bases with heated rhetoric and harsh tactics. But among political independents, some of the most prized voters in the electorate, speaking more softly about the other side may be a key to winning their support.
This is insidious and biased on a number of levels.
The entire theme of "a harsh, partisan campaign" was absent from the pages of organs like the Washington Post for months while the Obama Campaign and its surrogates were calling Governor Romney a tax cheat, a felon, a racist who wanted to put black people back in chains and a murderer. No one had much to say about commentary that appeared with sly digs at his religion, or his wife, or claimed that his father would be ashamed of him.
The WaPo, to my knowledge, didn't even call President Obama to account when he outright lied in yesterday's press conference about his deliberately negative campaign.
The dinosaur media first deigned to notice the negative campaigning when Governor Romney finally had enough and told President Obama, "take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago."
It was only after that speech that we saw dozens of articles in media outlets like the WaPo commenting on how 'negative' and 'partisan' the campaign had gotten.
So for the WaPo to now to refer to the two campaigns as being equally partisan with "heated rhetoric and harsh tactics" is the height of cynicism and partisanship in and of itself.
And it also gives rise to a good look at what bi-partisanship and cooperation between the two parties means to the WaPo and other media organs like them.
The dinosaur media often refers to 'moderate Republicans'. It's a cute phrase that essentially means one thing: Republicans usually willing to vote for all or part of the Democrat's agenda and it's commonly applied to people like Maine's Senator Olympia Snowe.
Think about it. You never see the phrase 'moderate Democrat' used. There are very few Democrats who vote with Republicans all or part of the time, as you'll see if you examine the roll calls on votes.The Democrats have almost completely driven them out of the party, as they did to Joe Lieberman. But the rare Democrat that does vote with Republicans even part of the time is invariably described not as 'moderate', but as 'conservative'.
If you examine in your own mind the connotations the word moderate has, you'll see this is no accident.
Because what the Washington Post and their brothers and sisters in the dinosaur media really want when they make calls for 'bi-partisanship' and 'a softer tone' is not for Democrats to move from the left to the center, but for Republicans and Republicans only to move towards the left. They want all Republicans to be 'moderates' and vote for the Democrat's agenda.
And most of all,they want Republicans to put up with the most scurrilous and bitter attacks from Democrats without responding.
Speaking as an independent myself, I reject this out of hand.
Politics is indeed the art of the possible, and quid pro quo concessions are part of what makes a democracy work. But to demand it of the right side of the aisle while giving the left a pass is not a call for concessions but a demand for a full scale abandonment of principle.
During President Obama's first two years in office, he had a veto proof majority in congress. During that time, when ObamaCare and the so-called stimulus were being crafted, the Republican minority was locked out the room - literally. Long standing rules in the senate and the House were thrown out at the Democrat's whim in order to get their agenda passed, and even the reconciliation process was misused in order to get ObamaCare passed.
There were no calls for bi-partisanship and softer rhetoric then. Certainly no one in the dinosaur media wrote pieces like this crying for it. Instead, they were busy cheer leading for the Obama Administration and how historic and wonderful the new regime was.
No, the call for bi-partisanship and the articles about the bitter divide in Washington came after the 2010 midterms, when the Republicans took the House and enough Senate seats that they couldn't simply be locked out of the room and abused any longer.
Personally, I'd be more than happy to see the two parties working together. And in fact when both parties honored the basic principles on which this nation was founded, America benefited from that co-operation..
Where there are Democrats prepared to be moderate and work for fiscal sanity, the sanctity of private property, freedom of choice in other areas besides killing babies, the full use of America's energy resources, the downsizing of government and a strong national defense - in short, for the good of the country rather than to appease special interest groups - I welcome them and their ideas as part of the solution.
In the absence of that, they're merely part of the problem, and I could care less about bi-partisanship that involves them.
In fact, I reject it utterly. Because it has no meaning.