My New Year's Resolution: To Be Partisan

A lot of irrelevant, has-been politicians are making noises about the need for bipartisanship, now that there's even a remote possibility that a moderate Democratic agenda could be enacted. Just say no to Compulsive Centrist Disorder; be partisan!

From the New York Times, here's what I'm talking about:

On Sunday, the mayor will join Democratic and Republican elder statesmen at the University of Oklahoma in what the conveners are billing as an effort to pressure the major party candidates to renounce partisan gridlock.

Former Senator David L. Boren of Oklahoma, who organized the session with former Senator Sam Nunn, a Democrat of Georgia, suggested in an interview that if the prospective major party nominees failed within two months to formally embrace bipartisanship and address the fundamental challenges facing the nation, "I would be among those who would urge Mr. Bloomberg to very seriously consider running for president as an independent."

And what partisan gridlock would that be? The only partisan gridlock on the Democratic side that is occurring is when the Democrats roll over and play dead in the wrong spot, and a Republican accidentally trips over them. To the extent that the Congress can't get anything done, it is partisan: that is, the record number of Republican filibusters might have something to do with the 'gridlock.'

But what is worse than the revisionist history put forth by the Bipartisans is the mind boggling stupid inability to place blame where it lies: on the Republican Party. Foolishly, time and time again, Democrats have extended an olive branch (e.g., taking impeachment off the table, up or down votes on judicial appointees), only to have the olive branch snatched from their hands by Republicans and subsequently be beaten with the damn branch.

This is nothing new. Partisan conservative activist Grover Norquist referred to bipartisanship as "date rape", explicitly stating the Republican concept of governance (and also proving that he is a misogynist asshole). Since Sept. 11, 2001, Republicans have accused those who disagree with them about anything of treason and disloyalty.

For thinking, and rightly so, that invading the wrong country, and that outsourcing the hunt for bin Laden to Afghan drug lords was murderously foolish, our sons, brothers, fathers, our friends, our lovers were called fifth columnists, traitors, and weaklings. Even though we were right, and the Republicans were wrong.

For thinking, and rightly so, that pastors, preachers, and prelates have no more legitimate say than any other citizen to decide whom she may and may not love, and when life begins, our sisters, our daughters, our mothers, our friends, and our lovers were called sluts and whores. Even though teen pregnancy in the U.S. is rising, and pregnancy-related deaths are still unacceptably high in the developing world. We were right, and the Republicans.

For thinking, and rightly so, that economic policies such as that awful bankruptcy bill, cutting taxes on the wealthiest among us, and allowing predatory lending would cause economic hardship, we were derided as 'protectionists' and 'unserious.'

Where were these Bipartisans then?

No matter how loudly the Republicans screech, how loudly they rattle the bars, how much excrement they smear on the walls, it does not change the reality that, when Republicans are allowed to be Republicans, they hurt and break everything. No matter how loudly they shriek that 2 + 2 = 8, it does not.

And the Bipartisans who think that, well, "let's just say that 2 + 2 = 6, and call it a day" are wrong too. The problem is not 'partisanship', the problem is that one group of partisans, known as Republicans, are staggeringly wrong. They are the problem. In a sane world, Bill Kristol and all of the others would not be writing for the New York Times and showing up on the teevee machine, they would be pushing shopping carts and wearing tin foil helmets. Other than that they bathe regularly, professional Republicans are every bit as crazy--and far more dangerous--as your typical mentally-ill homeless person. They are the political equivalent of flat-earthers and creationists (when they aren't the one and the same).

Instead, the Bipartisans want to take these nutjobs seriously. If that's the alternative, partisanship is a great idea.

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Democracy was used as a tool to destroy monarchy and and be forced down the throat of humanity, as the answer to all the evils of monarchy.

But so far, it seems it is more evil than monarchy.

I am in favor of abolishing politics completely, outlawing military coups and handing power to enlightened people in various countries.

Only enlightened people have eyes and can lead others into paradise.

When blind people lead others, they all will fall into ditches and hell and these are where we all are right now, in hell.

It is time for republican party to go the way of the whigs. The republicans of today represent nothing more than our worse natures. No longer does the republican party represent any of its funding ideals. The great realignment marches on,hunderd years and going strong, peeling ever more moderate republicans into the democratic party. With an ever rightward tilt of republican primaries, republican party cannot find the center again, so it must dissolve.

With Republicans gone, two new paties, I hope will arise to take the place of the current two party system. These two parties will be the progressive democratic party, the center-left party, and the liberal democratic party, the center right party.

Despite the ever dwindling nature of the republican party, they are the ones that hold the every bugeoning coalition that is the democratic party together. The result isn't always healthy, as the results dissatisfy every one, but the alternative is even worse. Only with the republican party gone, will a stronger political system take shape, with debates held on a substantive level. Sure democratic party will split into two, but the result will truly reflect american political landscape.

By Jianying Ji (not verified) on 01 Jan 2008 #permalink

I think Jianying points to an interesting dynamic. The Republicans have certainly been banking far rightward, but the benefit of that is that they only have to appeal to a smaller coalition. The Democrats, having to appeal to both progressives and centrists has been forced to accomodate a larger and more diverse coalition.

I think the problem with this argument is that in focusing on the question of whether partisanship is good, it sometimes accidentally grants the idea that the people arguing for "bipartisanship" are, actually, arguing for bipartisanship. This second, usually-implicit claim is probably more important than the first one, and it's wrong.

The real goal of the "bipartisanship" fetishists, it seems to me, is basically to redefine bipartisanship itself; they're trying to remove the element of "we should look past our differences" and replace it with something more like "there should be no differences, because everyone should agree with me". The thing they advocate when they use the word "bipartisanship" is in fact a real, bullet-point-specific partisan agenda; claiming that anyone who does not accept without question their partisan goals is themselves being partisan, is just a tool they are using to advance that partisan agenda. It's unipartisanship, really-- the belief there should be one party, one ideology, with maybe a little split allowed within the Biparty on abortion or something.

I think there's a legitimate discussion to be had about "partisanship", what it should mean, whether it's a good thing, and whether it has part in our political system. But it seems to me having that discussion in the context of the Bloomberg/Broder axis is a bad idea since it accidentally kind of plays into their hand, by having exactly the discussion they want to have (is it good to be partisan?) while ignoring the discussion that would really hurt them and their goals (are bloomberg/broder bipartisan?).

No longer does the republican party represent any of its funding ideals.

... and here I thought they represented only their funding ideals ...

llewelly,

Good Catch! I meant 'founding', as you already know. And you're point is quite on the nose... Sometimes what slips out unintentionally are more interesting...

Thanks for the laugh...

By Jianying Ji (not verified) on 04 Jan 2008 #permalink