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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bipartisanship: this is not it

It looks like the Democrats and even the Obama team have misinterpreted what the voters wanted when they railed against all the partisanship. Re-establishing the old boys club slapping Joe Lieberman on the back, much less the wrist, is definitely not it. That’s exactly what Obama seemed be saying is going to change. Acting as if the disgraceful conduct of Lieberman is unimportant – he went far beyond registering a supposedly honest disagreement over foreign policy, and into the right-wing talking point of the day, lying and either making himself or abetting slimy personal attacks on Obama – is the exact opposite of what voters for Obama were seeking.

In the case of Lieberman, as with a capital crime, it is hard to separate retribution from standing up for principle, so call it what you will. Lieberman committed the most serious capital crime in political terms I can remember in my lifetime (wild-eyed Zell Miller was relatively unimportant). As a matter of principle as well as retribution, Lieberman deserved a proportional punishment.

What voters have been objecting to is not insufficient “bipartisanship” in the chambers of Congress and the Georgetown cocktail circuit, but the overweening partisanship of personal attacks of the Republican Party – period. We run-of-the-mill Democrats out here in the hinterlands – you know, we flaming left-wingers whom the pundits say Democrats would do well to ignore even though we are almost half the population and 80% of the people who voted for Obama – wanted to see principled treatment of Lieberman. We also want to see the end of Karl Rove’s rotten, poisonous influence on the political conversation in this country. Period – out, out, out! And that’s where the moderates and the independents who are so much the focus on all this joined the movement: they, too, wanted to see the end of Karl Roveism, not Beltway politicians holding hands across the aisle. In fact, the whole kit-and-kaboodle of the Obama constituency wanted both at the same time: the end of rabid Rovian-style partisanship, and the end of too much collegial bipartisanship among the politicians (as well as the K Street lobbyists) in Washington. Why do they think we hated both Karl Rove and David Broder anyway?

The only way ridding ourselves of Roveism is going to happen is through Obama’s persistence via a bully pulpit – shining a continuous floodlight on the problem and its sources. Yes, first things first in terms of a legislative agenda and executive orders, and there is nothing wrong with sticking to the high road and avoiding the very thing you want to see ended. But let’s keep one thing clear: it is not bipartisan to refuse to even try to get the poison out. Getting the poison out is the high road. If the poison is being injected entirely by one side, and it most certainly has been, so be it.

Lieberman’s role in this campaign was, indeed, poisonous, so this who-cares attitude was not a good start. Fixing the problem is bipartisan. We who voted for Obama voted for him to go in and fix problems. This is one of the biggest problems we have as a country. Letting this fundamental building block of a decent society continue to languish – some level of civility in political discourse, with the end of all forms of Swiftboating – is avoiding fixing a very big problem. Let's end the confusion on this.

5 Comments:

Blogger Tim said...

If they get a 60-seat majority (with a happy and indebted Liebermann) in the senate, is it okay then?

3:38 PM  
Blogger walldon said...

Lieberman won't be happy and indebted. He's proven time and again that he doesn't feel indebted. Remember that Obama sided with him when he was running against Ned Lamont. Did that make him loyal to Obama? Hell no. Now, he's going to be in charge of presidential oversight. He did nothing to oversee Bush, but you can bet he'll be carping about everything Obama does. And, now, the Dems need a 60 vote majority to strip him of his chairmanship.

4:31 PM  
Blogger walldon said...

Lieberman won't be happy and indebted. He's proven time and again that he doesn't feel indebted. Remember that Obama sided with him when he was running against Ned Lamont. Did that make him loyal to Obama? Hell no. Now, he's going to be in charge of presidential oversight. He did nothing to oversee Bush, but you can bet he'll be carping about everything Obama does. And, now, the Dems need a 60 vote majority to strip him of his chairmanship.

4:31 PM  
Blogger marketingace said...

Lieberman apologists wear sheep's clothing. Rewarding him is the wrong way to secure a 60 vote majority. Lieberman is a means that end cannot justify. He is a well poisoner and Obama could die from drinking from it.

1:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Either you like Bull Shit, or you join another team. Me I opted to go to hell, everyone there is a Bad REP or a Good Dem. That should tell you where the test of the DEMs are. Hell the only place where DEMS think they really rule.

5:14 PM  

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