(Special bonus op/ed)
After the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy last week, a parade of Republicans lined up to bemoan how his departure could spell the end of bi-partisanship in the Senate with regards to the healthcare bill. Because, as we all know, “bi-partisanship is a one-way street in Republicanland”. Kennedy is gone. Ipso-facto, these guys can’t be “bi-partisan” with anyone else, right?
When Democrats are in power, Republicans cry about “bi-partisanship”, how “half the country” lacks representation and “their concerns deserve consideration too”. But when Republicans controlled the White House and both Houses of Congress, they talked of “a permanent Republican majority“. They even denied Democrats the right to hold a hearing inside the House of Representatives, even coming in and shutting off the microphones when Democrats tried to hold an additional day of hearings in 2005 regarding Patriot Act abuses.
To the public, “compromise shows weakness”. The implication is that if you are willing to compromise on your core-beliefs, then they couldn’t of been that important to begin with. President Obama keeps compromising on what “Healthcare Reform” actually means, and repeatedly gets nothing in return. Not only does he not win any Republican support, but he loses public support. When Republicans demand “bipartisanship“, what they’re REALLY demanding are “concessions” from Democrats. How many principles can you name that Republicans have budged on when it comes to healthcare reform? Democrats have moved from “Single-Payer” to “the public option”, and a number of prominent Republicans even reject the wholly inadequate “co-op” compromise if it involves “government backing” in any way, shape or form (the only way a co-op could even begin to influence healthcare costs). What have Republicans offered to compromise on? Please tell me. It’s not “bipartisan” if only one side is making all the concessions. (a satirical op/ed on The Huffington Post last week claiming “President Obama plans to switch Parties because it is the only way to get Republican support” is funny because it is almost plausible.) How does a 40% minority in the House & Senate control the debate over ANYTHING?
(ADDENDUM: Over the August recess, Sen. Chuck Grassley, the leading Republican on the Senate Healthcare Reform Committee, came right out and said that the only way to achieve “bi-partisan” support was to defeat the Democratic plan and force them to renegotiate from THEIR position.)
It is frightening to think that, after the eight-year disaster of the Bush Administration, this country could have voted for another Republican President to replace him. Had Sen. McCain of not torpedoed his own campaign by picking a more competent running mate, the election night results could very well have been a nail-bitter reminiscent of “Bush v Gore” in 2000. If George Bush had been a Democrat that “failed to prevent the attacks of 9/11”, “failed to protect a major American city from Hurricane Katrina” that resulted in “dead bodies floating in the streets” (I’ve linked to the photos in the past if you need a refresher), mired the country in two wars that are costing the country $864Billion dollars a year (May 2009 pdf) with no clear path to victory, and an economic collapse not seen since the Great Depression, there is NO WAY Democrats could have retaken the White House last November.
Think about that for a moment. President Clinton handed George Bush a balanced budget, a National Debt that was smaller than it was when he took office in 1993. and the strongest post-WWII economy the country had seen in over 50 years. Eight years later, President Bush handed Barack Obama an economy that was a total basket-case, having doubled the National Debt, all three of the Big-Three automakers (GM, Ford & Chrysler) all on the verge of bankruptcy, a $750 Billion dollar bailout of Wall Street designed to do nothing but put off the problem until Bush left office, rising unemployment, not to mention two costly wars… and STILL the election could of gone either way. Astounding.
President Obama and the Democrats keep compromising on their principles, and get nothing in return… less actually… losing public support while the Republican opposition appears to be “standing up for their principles” and threatening to “retake Congress” in the next election. Bill Maher put it best when he said “it is time for President Obama to start acting like George Bush“, who didn’t give a crap about being “bipartisan” or spend one minute worrying about what the Democrats want. They called a 52% election night victory “a mandate” that gave them the right to ram their agenda through with fewer votes than we have now. And when Democrats in the Senate complained, Republicans threatened “the nuclear option” to take away their right to filibuster.
Did ANY of that hurt John McCain’s chances of being elected President? I don’t even remember it being an issue. Stop compromising and stand up for what you believe in. The voters will still respect you in the morning. FAR more than they respect people that hold no principle so dear they won’t sell it out.
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