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
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail