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Monday, March 22, 2010

The "postpartisan" meme
Posted by Jill | 5:32 AM
Does anyone outside the Beltway really care about "bipartisanship"? Yesterday, as it began to look like health care reform was going to pass without a single Republican vote, it started -- the talk at how Barack Obama has failed at his mission to break the partisan gridlock in Washington.

This President has been reaching out to Republicans for the last year. He's met with them, talked to them, thrown the foot soldiers who raised money and canvassed and held car washes and bake sales to get him elected under bus on women's right to control their own bodies, on equal marriage rights for everyone, on the rights of everyone to serve in the military if they so choose. There is not a single issue where Barack Obama hasn't turned his back on his base in an effort to woo Republicans. It's his nature to do so, and it has given us fits that even when the Republicans kept smacking him down, he kept coming back for more like Charlie Brown believing that THIS TIME Lucy won't pull away the football.

I'm not even going to channel-flip past Morning Schmoe today, because I know full well that Scarborough is going to be in full-bore "failure at bipartisanship" mode.

YOU CANNOT BE BIPARTISAN WITH PEOPLE WHO WILL NOT COMPROMISE. Bipartisanship, in the eyes of Republicans and the mainstream media, means cowed Democrats capitulating on everything Republicans want.

David E. Sanger in the New York Times today, laments the terrible cost that Barack Obama will pay for refusing to capitulate to people who shriek "Baby killer!" on the floor of the House and who think that people who cannot afford health care should just lay down and die:
After the bitterest of debates, Mr. Obama proved that he was willing to fight for something that moved him to his core. Skeptics had begun to wonder. But he showed that when he was finally committed to throwing all his political capital onto the table, he could win, if by the narrowest of margins.

Whether it was a historic achievement or political suicide for his party — perhaps both — he succeeded where President Bill Clinton failed in trying to remake American health care. President George W. Bush also failed to enact a landmark change in a domestic program, his second-term effort to create private accounts in the Social Security system.

At the core of Mr. Obama’s strategy stands a bet that the Republicans, in trying to portray the bill as veering toward socialism, overplayed their hand. Fueled by the antigovernment anger of the Tea Party movement, Republicans have staked much on the idea that they can protect the country by acting as what the Democrats gleefully call the “Party of No.”

Now, armed with a specific piece of legislation that offers concrete benefits to millions of people — and that promises to guarantee insurance for many who found it unaffordable or unattainable — the White House and Democrats believe they may have gained the upper hand.


But there is no doubt that in the course of this debate, Mr. Obama has lost something — and lost it for good. Gone is the promise on which he rode to victory less than a year and a half ago — the promise of a “postpartisan” Washington in which rationality and calm discourse replaced partisan bickering.

Has Sanger watched C-Span in the last year? On what planet is he living where he believes that you could still have rationality and calm discourse instead of screaming about killing babies and coddling terrorists and birth certificates and socialism and how Obama is out to annihilate conservatives.

If he knows how to break through this kind of utter lunacy, I wish he'd let Obama know. There ARE saner heads over at the Times, however -- like Krugman, who refuses to let the Republicans get away with the idea that the more extreme claims about health care reform were the work of a radical fringe instead of the core of the party; and Phil Kiesling, who advocates getting rid of the current primary system and replacing it with open primaries, claiming that the primary system tends to cater to the shrill and the hysterical and the extreme.

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