Bipartisanship: Devil’s tool

Lately, we’ve heard blathering, bleating, and bloviating about the death of bipartisan cooperation in Washington after Obama’s stimulus package got hammered into law with basically no Republican support at all. Well, stand back, because shovel loads of dirt are currently headed in the general direction of “bipartisan cooperation.”

This is no great loss. It’s certainly no shocking setback. Bipartisanship, which occasionally surfaces and provides a few welcome moments of political harmony, is, for the most part, horribly overrated in terms of getting things done in D.C. I don’t condemn the president for holding out an olive branch to Republicans and talking all nice to them when taking the helm in January. I thought it was interesting and even laudatory for him to show up at George Will’s house to break bread with iron-headed conservative pundits like Charles Krauthammer and Bill Kristol. No harm there, one would suppose. But after the stimulus bill passed with only the tiniest peep of Republican support (three senators, zero representatives—ZERO?), we got us a nice little reality check. Bipartisanship in D.C.? If it’s not dead, it’s in a coma.

Who’s to blame for this? Probably everyone. But so what? Why, exactly, are Republican ideas or input needed at this time? After all, these Republicans are pretty much the same bunch of swingin’ richards who took over in January ’01, inheriting a federal government that was FINANCIALLY IN THE BLACK at the time, and then proceeded to do to it what Godzilla would do to your basic peaceful coastal hamlet. That is to say, they took the one remaining superpower on this planet, a country that was fairly rippling with wealth and prosperity, and, in eight short years, plunged us into a couple of bloody, money-sucking quagmires, turned us into an international villain, and, for good measure, brought us to the edge of a jiffy new depression, one riddled with unemployment, foreclosures, and a stultifying loss of confidence in the stock market and banks. Gentlemen, well done!

Here’s the bottom line, and it shouldn’t be forgotten as everybody whips up the bipartisan chatter. The Democrats won. We won big. Not because we’re so dazzlingly brilliant (I would never make that claim), but because the American people finally pulled their collective head out of their collective ass and noticed that the country, on Republican watch, wasn’t doing particularly super. And now, here we are. Knee deep in the ’gator section of the swamp. Bipartisanship gets knocked in the head? Fine. Too bad about that. Somehow, we’ll cope. Republicans, you just keep grooming your latest crop of blue chip prospects, like Sarah Palin. See where that gets ya. In the meantime, the Democrats will try to clean up your hundred-year mess.