Not So Post-Partisan

So after all the compromises made on the stimulus bill to get Republican support, the roll call is in. The result?

Not a single Republican vote.

Post-partisanism is a dream, and it always has been. It’s a fiction created by a bunch of Washington journalists who would like the parties they go to to be friendlier, to be party-integrated in a way they haven’t been since Newt Gingrich changed how politics was waged.

It will be interesting to see if Obama keeps playing what Atrios so rightly calls “Football with Lucy”, or if there will be a major shift.

2 thoughts on “Not So Post-Partisan

  1. I agree that “post-partisanship” is a myth if you equate that to mean people are suddenly going to agree on issues and approaches to solve problems after proving different mindsets.

    However, the act of voting your conscience should not be dumbed-down to mere partisanship.

    Now I’m not going to cut Republicans a lot of slack in general: they helped pass stimulus and bailout packages last year, and I expected them to do so again this year.

    But I personally would disagree with most ANY stimulus bill that was not limited to tax cuts, and so I side with legislators who voted against this particular bill. I would not have negotiated. I would have stood my principles, and I applaud my own (Republican) representative, Jason Chaffetz, for doing so.

  2. Well, I’m not going to disagree with that. I actually think that partisanship is good — or as good as the ideas and values that back it.

    What I get upset with is this idea that somehow you are going to negotiate with people who actively seek to undermine what you believe in (and maybe even the success of your administration) and you’re going to get a good result.

    I feel we’ve been through a very dark period in this country, but the political truth is that Bush pushed certain principles of Reaganomics further than Reagan was ever able to, and he did that not by reaching out to Democrats, but by consolidating power in his party. And I really can’t point to a single concession in the period where he had control of the House and Senate that he or the Republicans made to get Democrat support. Why should they? They had the votes, they believed in it. End of story. Get it done.

    And there is an honesty in that. And it’s something we could learn from as Democrats. If you believe that idea A is fundamentally right and idea B is fundamentally wrong, you do everything you can to get as much of idea A in the bill and as little of idea B as possible.

    And partisanship is a way of holding together and expressing that will as a collective — which, if the people are behind you even marginally, increases your chances of get it.

    So I like partisanship, and one of the reasons I did not support Obama in the primary is that I think it’s against the grain of American democracy to say we want to be post-partisan. It’s core to the structure of our democracy, the way the demographics play out, and the historical reasons why there was a post partisan period for a bit in American history are too complex to go into here, but suffice it to say it had a lot to do with how racism played into party id in the south.

    Anyway, I hope Obama does more reaching out to the voters, and less to the Republicans in the future. I’m incredibly upset we stunk up this bill with tax breaks and other non-stimulus measures to get votes on board, and no one came. I’m hoping that wasteful spending can be removed in conference committee.

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