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

Weekend Edition
April 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Slandering Populism: a Chilling Media Habit
Andrew Levine
Why I Fear and Loathe Trump Even More Now Than On Election Day
Jeffrey St. Clair
Mountain of Tears: the Vanishing Glaciers of the Pacific Northwest
Philippe Marlière
The Neoliberal or the Fascist? What Should French Progressives Do?
Conn Hallinan
America’s New Nuclear Missile Endangers the World
Peter Linebaugh
Omnia Sunt Communia: May Day 2017
Vijay Prashad
Reckless in the White House
Brian Cloughley
Who Benefits From Prolonged Warfare?
Kathy Kelly
The Shame of Killing Innocent People
Ron Jacobs
Hate Speech as Free Speech: How Does That Work, Exactly?
Andre Vltchek
Middle Eastern Surgeon Speaks About “Ecology of War”
Matt Rubenstein
Which Witch Hunt? Liberal Disanalogies
Sami Awad - Yoav Litvin - Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Never Give Up: Nonviolent Civilian Resistance, Healing and Active Hope in the Holyland
Pete Dolack
Tribunal Finds Monsanto an Abuser of Human Rights and Environment
Christopher Ketcham
The Coyote Hunt
Mike Whitney
Putin’s New World Order
Ramzy Baroud
Palestinian, Jewish Voices Must Jointly Challenge Israel’s Past
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 100 Days of Rage and Rapacity
Harvey Wasserman
Marine Le Pen Is a Fascist—Not a ‘Right-Wing Populist,’ Which Is a Contradiction in Terms
William Hawes
World War Whatever
John Stanton
War With North Korea: No Joke
Jim Goodman
NAFTA Needs to be Replaced, Not Renegotiated
Murray Dobbin
What is the Antidote to Trumpism?
Louis Proyect
Left Power in an Age of Capitalist Decay
Medea Benjamin
Women Beware: Saudi Arabia Charged with Shaping Global Standards for Women’s Equality
Rev. William Alberts
Selling Spiritual Care
Peter Lee
Invasion of the Pretty People, Kamala Harris Edition
Cal Winslow
A Special Obscenity: “Guernica” Today
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey’s Kurdish Agenda
Guillermo R. Gil
The Senator Visits Río Piedras
Jeff Mackler
Mumia Abu-Jamal Fights for a New Trial and Freedom 
Cesar Chelala
The Responsibility of Rich Countries in Yemen’s Crisis
Leslie Watson Malachi
Women’s Health is on the Chopping Block, Again
Basav Sen
The Coal Industry is a Job Killer
Judith Bello
Rojava, a Popular Imperial Project
Robert Koehler
A Public Plan for Peace
Sam Pizzigati
The Insider Who Blew the Whistle on Corporate Greed
Nyla Ali Khan
There Has to be a Way Out of the Labyrinth
Michael J. Sainato
Trump Scales Back Antiquities Act, Which Helped to Create National Parks
Stu Harrison
Under Duterte, Filipino Youth Struggle for Real Change
Martin Billheimer
Balm for Goat’s Milk
Stephen Martin
Spooky Cookies and Algorithmic Steps Dystopian
Michael Doliner
Thank You Note
Charles R. Larson
Review: Gregor Hens’ “Nicotine”
David Yearsley
Handel’s Executioner
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail