FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Curse of Bi-partisanship

by DAVE LINDORFF

 

When a wolf and a fox agree on a modus vivendi, the rabbits and woodchucks had better be on their guard.

The same is true about the March 23 agreement reached by 14 “moderate” Democratic and Republican Senators which undermined the looming confrontation between Senate Democrats and Republicans over the issue of judicial appointments and the filibuster.

Anytime you have someone like Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), a cheerleader for the War on Iraq, a stalwart backer of the worst Zionist excesses of the Israeli state, and a man who even endorsed former Attorney General John Ashcroft’s horrific Operation TIPS citizen spy scheme, lining up with Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a guy who headed up the House impeachment campaign against President Bill Clinton, a staunch conservative in moderate clothing (like his over-rated colleague John McCain) who opposes abortion rights and boasts a 5% rating from the League of Conservation Voters, progressives need to worry.

And what’s with this fear of political polarization anyhow? It’s really nothing but a media creation.

Newspaper editors and pundits love to talk about the need for “bi-partisanship” and cooperation as though such comity were an unambiguous public good. Yet it is precisely such bipartisanship that brought us the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act, the North American Free Trade Act, welfare cutbacks, the Anti Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and the new anti-bankruptcy law, and which threaten to bring us a mortally weakened Social Security “reform,” and who knows? Maybe a war on Iran or Syria.

Sure, if the Democrats took a hard-line confrontational approach to the dominant Republicans in House and Senate they’d lose on a lot of things, including the appointment of judges with right-wing agendas. But by standing for principle, Democrats would be paving the way for serious election campaigns on important issues in 2006 and 2008. They’d be rallying the electorate to fight back against the Republican-led campaign to drag the country backwards to the 19th century in economic, environmental and social policy.

Instead, people like Lieberman and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) are paving the way for further electoral defeats for Democrats in the coming election cycles.

By lining up with Republicans on compromises that end up selling out principle (the filibuster agreement will result in the approval, with Democratic acquiescence, of several truly dreadful new appellate judges), Democrats confuse and demoralize their potential electoral base.

By demonstrating that Democrats are no better than Republicans-indeed no different from Republicans-they turn elections into nothing but issueless personal popularity contests, in which most citizens have little or no interest. In fact, their bipartisanship may actually be helping Republicans, because at least those so-called “moderate” Republicans like Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) or Olympia Snowe (R-ME) or John McCain (R-AZ) are showing the spine to buck their President and party leadership in reaching agreement with so-called moderate Democrats.

All the so-called moderate Democrats are showing is political cowardice and lack of principle.

The idea that this kind of Democratic sell-out would be happening when the president is being viewed by a majority of the public as inept, untrustworthy, stupid and politically out of touch, is both astonishing and depressing.

As one Republican operative told the New York Times, the only reason the opposition isn’t having a field day these days in Congress is because “the Democratic Party is brain dead.”

Bipartisanship: a morphine drip for the terminally politically doomed.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 27, 2017
Anthony DiMaggio
Media Ban! Making Sense of the War Between Trump and the Press
Dave Lindorff
Resume Inflation at the NSC: Lt. General McMaster’s Silver Star Was Essentially Earned for Target Practice
Conn Hallinan
Is Trump Moderating US Foreign Policy? Hardly
Norman Pollack
Political Castration of State: Militarization of Government
Kenneth Surin
Inside Dharavi, a Mumbai Slum
Lawrence Davidson
Truth vs. Trump
Binoy Kampmark
The Extradition Saga of Kim Dotcom
Robert Fisk
Why a Victory Over ISIS in Mosul Might Spell Defeat in Deir Ezzor
David Swanson
Open Guantanamo!
Ted Rall
The Republicans May Impeach Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Why Should Trump―or Anyone―Be Able to Launch a Nuclear War?
Andrew Stewart
Down with Obamacare, Up with Single Payer!
Colin Todhunter
Message to John Beddington and the Oxford Martin Commission
David Macaray
UFOs: The Myth That Won’t Die?
Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail