Libertarian Hawk


So Now Democrats Want Bipartisanship

January 26, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Miscellaneous

Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

Ever since Democrats suffered historic, butt-spanking losses in the 2010 midterms, they’ve been whimpering for “bipartisanship,” “cooperation,” “compromise,” “togetherness,” “shared responsibility,” and “national unity.”

President Obama has been coaxing House and Senate Republicans to work together with Democrats to get things done.

Recently New York Senator Charles Schumer, one of the most viciously partisan individuals on the planet (you might say he’s full of “vitriol”), suggested it might be melodious for Democrats and Republicans to sit mingled among one another at Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address, rather than hunkering down battalion-style on opposite sides of the room.

Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn was the first to stupidly take the bait, followed by dozens of other Congressmen including Charles Grassley, Pat Toomey, Mark Kirk, Olympia Snowe, and—surprise!—John McCain.

Obama, it should be remembered, campaigned for president on the promise that he would usher in a “new era of bipartisanship.”

If the Democratic 111th Congress took Obama up on his idea, they had a funny way of showing it.

When they weren’t shutting Republicans out of committee meetings to write the 2009 stimulus bill and health care reform act, they were failing to post bills online with enough time to allow Republicans to read them and offer input.

Democrats rammed health care through inappropriately using budget reconciliation, because they couldn’t keep their 60-vote coalition after Massachusetts elected Republican Scott Brown.

The health care bill was so partisan and calculated to exclude a single strand of GOP DNA that not one Republican voted for it—not because Republicans were stubborn, but because the bill was so egregious that even 34 House Democrats voted against it.  As Governor Haley Barbour noted, the only thing bipartisan about ObamaCare was opposition to it.

Despite the misconception that the GOP covered their ears during the health care reform debate and refused to offer suggestions, House Republicans introduced dozens of their own bills during 2009.  These acts proposed innovative free-market improvements such as allowing sale of health insurance across state lines; expanding tax deductions, vouchers, and health savings accounts for routine care, prescriptions, and long-term care; and enacting medical malpractice tort reform.

None of the Republicans’ bills left the referral stage.  None of the GOP’s suggestions was included in any of the Democratic versions of the bill.

For that divisive, impenetrable firewall between Democrats and Republicans, you can thank then-House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and her sterling “bipartisanship.”

Ditto for the cap-and-trade legislation that passed the House in 2009 but stalled in the Senate, and not for Democrats’ lack of trying.  (Coincidentally, the partisan energy bill squeaked by in the House with the same vote as ObamaCare, 219-212.)

The bill, cosponsored by über-leftists Henry Waxman and Ed Markey, was so odious and economy-wrecking that 44 House Democrats voted against it.

(Hey—maybe the 111th Congress was bipartisan, only not in a way that anybody predicted!)

Now that cap-and-trade has died in the Senate, Obama is scheming to have Lisa Jackson and other far-left appointees at the Environmental Protection Agency implement an emissions-limiting plan over the objections of most Americans.

To be clear, I don’t favor bipartisanship for the sake of bipartisanship.  I wouldn’t have expected Democrats to capitulate to Republicans on everything when they had a majority in both chambers just to be nice.  (I would have expected them to capitulate on everything because they were wrong.)

There are significant philosophical differences between the two major parties.  One party is based on mob rule and is incongruent with the foundational nature of our country, which is not a democracy.  The other party is based on individual rights, rule of law, an inviolate Constitution, and representative government and is congruent with the foundational nature of our country, which is a representative, constitutional republic.

In his speech last night, Obama declared, “[W]e are still bound together as one people… we share common hopes.”  No we don’t, Mr. President.  Liberals hope for the government to take over every aspect of our lives, and conservatives hope to be left alone to figure it all out for themselves.

While conservatives try desperately to cut spending in Washington, Obama’s speech was dominated by pledges to blow trillions more we don’t have on green research and jobs, college degrees for everybody, and high-speed rail and Internet.

Conservatives want to protect us militarily against our enemies, whereas Obama’s speech covered everything under the sun until it meandered into the realm of foreign policy, and even then mostly bragged about the end of the Iraq War, troops returning from Afghanistan in July, and the useless Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

So I favor any action, symbolic or otherwise, that clarifies and amplifies the philosophical, partisan differences between the parties, including maintaining the traditional seating arrangement of one party on each side of the aisle.

Republicans should never fall into the bipartisanship trap Democrats set.

Democrats’ idea of bipartisanship is asking Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman what they think, then doing what Harry Reid wants.

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