Feb
19
2009

David Broder Goes to the Mat for Bipartisanship

With left-of-center columnists critiquing the Beltway obsession with bipartisanship even in outlets like the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, it's no wonder that David Broder is upset (Washington Post, 2/19/09). He calls the idea that Obama should stop worrying so much about attracting Republican support "the worst advice he has received," warning that without reaching out to Republicans, Obama won't be able to "offset protectionist impulses among Democrats," and "Democrats will never tackle Social Security." Horrors! To be fair, Broder does suggest that Obama can only achieve some other more progressive goals via bipartisanship, but his argument on these […]

Feb
19
2009

Bipartisanship Amid 'the Charred Ruins of American Prosperity'

Calling it "obvious" that "promises to get beyond partisanship are the most perfunctory sort of campaign rhetoric, almost as empty as the partisanship itself," the latest from Thomas Frank (Wall Street Journal, 2/18/09) explains the corporate media's fetish for bipartisanship: For the Beltway commentariat, however, transcending partisanship is the most meaningful of issues, more important, one senses, than the economic problems that trouble those people at town-hall meetings. "Nothing was more central to [Obama's] victory last fall than his claim that he could break the partisan gridlock in Washington," wrote the Washington Post's David Broder a few weeks ago, in […]

Feb
02
2009

In Big Media, Bipartisanship Beats Policy

Sometimes iconoclastic Washington pundit E. J. Dionne Jr. comes up with a winner (Washington Post, 2/2/09) in this description of the crucial media role in political chicanery on the national level: If achieving bipartisanship takes priority over the actual content of policy, Republicans are handed a powerful weapon. In theory, they can keep moving the bipartisan bar indefinitely. And each concession to their sensibilities threatens the solidarity in the president's own camp. That's why last week's unanimous House Republican opposition to the stimulus plan was so important. For the most part, the Republicans escaped attack for rank partisanship. Instead, what […]

Nov
07
2008

Getting Serious About Getting Serious About Bipartisanship

You see some absurd standards being set for how far President-elect Barack Obama should tip his cabinet to the right. Al Kamen in the Washington Post (11/7/07) writes that if "he's serious about this bipartisan thing…then he's going to have to do better than his predecessors, probably putting at least three non-D's in the cabinet ranks, or it will look much like same-old, same-old." He then suggests turning over the departments of State, Defense and Energy to Republicans–because nothing spells "change" like allowing the party in power to keep setting foreign, military and energy policy, does it? Conservative New York […]