Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Why Bipartisanship Can't Work

Apparently it is because the GOP exercises such rigid control over its members. Unprecedented control that no party has ever exercised before in history. It makes one long for the halcyon days of yesteryear, when Harry Reid allowed all of Bush's judicial nominees an up-or-down vote, Democrats supported the 2003 tax cuts, and they tried so hard to contribute constructive ideas during George Bush's Social Security reform efforts.

Did it ever occur to Fallows that perhaps the GOP's intransigence has as much to do with being locked out of the process from the beginning as it does with the GOP leadership's legendary ideological conformity? (Quick quiz: Which party's voters just elected a pro-choice Congressman with a lifetime ACU rating of only 55% in their Senate primary on Tuesday after the state's leadership quietly cleared out any strong conservative opposition? Here's a hint. The same one that recently elected the pro-choice, "same-sex marriage in Massachusetts is a settled issue" Scott Brown, and whose leadership supported guys like Charlie Crist over Marco Rubio and Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey.)

Don't get me wrong here. I don't know that the Democrats did anything wrong by locking the Reeps out. Once they got Al Franken and Arlen Specter on board, they naturally assumed that they didn't really NEED any Reep votes. Why give things away when you don't have to? It was a natural response to having the largest majorities any of them remember, and I don't fault them a bit for it. However, it's pretty disingenuous for the president and Congressional leaders to now pretend that they went into this process with any intent to listen carefully to Republican proposals or for political pundits to blindly accept the "Party of No" label.