Newsham: Republicans will keep killing bipartisanship

Bipartisanship is dead.

For the time being, at least. It really shouldn’t be. In fact, Democrats have done a lot to try to keep it alive. They left single-payer healthcare off the table, ultimately voting on a plan that was very similar to a Republican Senate bill of 1993, with certain passages nearly identical to the Massachusetts law signed by Mitt Romney and bearing elements of a strategy co-authored by Bob Dole. The plurality of the stimulus package that Congress passed consisted of Republican-friendly tax breaks.

The President, meanwhile, has made so many calls for bipartisanship that it would be pointless to quote him here. During debate over the health care bill, he signed an executive order preventing federal dollars from financing abortions. While pushing for immigration reform, he ordered an unprecedented increase of security at the U.S.-Mexico border, deploying 1,200 National Guardsmen to the area and requesting an additional $600 million in security funding. These steps reduced the number of illegal immigrants in the United States by 1 million by the end of 2009.

But the right is dead-set on keeping bipartisanship as dead as possible. Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell demands that if Obama wants cooperation, he’ll have “to move in our direction.” Speaker-elect John Boehner has made it clear now that he’s on top that “now is not a time for compromise.” Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has said the GOP is “not going to compromise on raising more debt.” Simply put, the Party of No isn’t out to change their image, especially not after such an electoral windfall.

A quick review of the past several decades reveals what’s going on. Every time Republicans are in control of government, they defund it and run it into the ground; be it Reagan’s tax cuts for the rich and military spending sprees or Dubya’s, well, tax cuts for the rich and military spending sprees, the GOP has consistently been the most fiscally irresponsible party in Washington. Their recent proposals to extend $700 billion in tax cuts to the richest Americans are made all the more negligent for their only token budget cuts — such as ending promotional signage for projects financed by the stimulus and cutting the petty $2 million in federal funds NPR receives annually. Despite their ambiguous calls for fiscal responsibility, it looks like the batch of Republicans that took power last week is no different.

Of course, when they aren’t in control of government, the right kicks, screams and drags its legislative feet. As the minority party, the GOP applied an unprecedented number of filibusters and one-man legislative holds, decrying the legitimately elected Democratic majorities as some socialistic “tyranny.” What no one is saying is that this behavior is entirely in keeping with a tradition of right-wing obstructionism. From Strom Thurmond’s speech against the Civil Rights Act that lasted more than 24 hours to the 1995 federal government shutdown orchestrated by Newt Gingrich, the current Congressional GOP is simply maintaining a longstanding tradition of tantrum-throwing and nay-saying.

So, expect another shutdown of government. Don’t be surprised if Joe “You lie!” Wilson has another outburst during the State of the Union address, and don’t hold your breath for censure from his fellow Republicans. If you’re gay, shelve your hopes for equal rights. If you’re poor, give up on a higher minimum wage. If you’re old, I certainly hope you weren’t expecting an increase in your Social Security payments. If you’re still unemployed, 99 weeks is all you’re getting.

It’s going to be a long two years.

Jack Newsham is a freshman in Morse College.

Comments

  • Madas

    My God, Jack, do you realize disingenuous arguments like this are the reason the Republicans cleaned your clock last week?

    > during debate over the health care bill, he signed an executive order preventing federal dollars from financing abortions. While pushing for immigration reform, he ordered an unprecedented increase of security at the U.S.-Mexico border, deploying 1,200 National Guardsmen to the area and requesting an additional $600 million in security funding.

    That’s the best you’ve got? Two years into big O’s presidency and you can name two executive orders? How about substantive legislation? How about some serious policy concessions in writing landmark legislation? Also, Sending a few firefighters to a long-neglected conflagration on the border isn’t a “concession” it’s brain-dead common sense.

    Jack, I was going to politely suggest you do a little research next time rather than just recap the nightly cable news roundup for me, and then I SAW THIS:

    > What no one is saying is that this behavior is entirely in keeping with a tradition of right-wing obstructionism. From Strom Thurmond’s speech against the Civil Rights Act that lasted more than 24 hours to the 1995 federal government shutdown orchestrated by Newt Gingrich,

    First of all, linking Newt to segregationists is just shameful. SECOND, STROM THURMOND WAS A DEMOCRAT during that fillibuster. OK, he switched parties later, but there were dozens of Democrats opposed in the Senate. Over 80% of Senate Republicans voted for the bill vs. only 69% of Democrats. So can we please drop the “rightists are racist” garbage?

    Start being honest with yourself and your readers, or, God willing, it’s going to be a long decade at least.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Politicians go where the votes are: Thurmond later had an African American Chief of Staff.

    Note: “The venerable [100-year-old] senator has had four children by his current wife, Nancy Moore, former Miss South Carolina, whom he married when he was 66 and she was 22. His previous wife was also a Miss South Carolina, whom he married when he was 44.

  • Hrm

    Wha’? You ignant? This is the most biased, misleading thing I have ever read. People like you are the reason politics cannot be discussed–nobody knows anything other than garbage they tell themselves to sleep at night, and the crud they ever-so-tightly grasp onto in ignorance.

    (Okay, maybe not the most biased, etc. Still–you, sir, deserve a slice of that cake.)

  • TannerSmith

    You gotta be kidding Jack are you looking for getting one of those Soros 100 NPR slots?

    Actually I was looking for the debate between Joe “You Lie” Wilson
    and Alan “Gramma got run over by a Republican”Grayson. Perhaps at 20 paces on the cliffs of New Jersey.

  • robert99

    Geez, I thought that the democrats were ramming thru all kinds of things without any input from the other side. Like health insurance for example.

  • Goldie08

    What 22 year old would marry a 66 year old man? Gross, and also pisses me off.

  • pablum

    The above six comments prove that, given enough time and access, any online newspaper, including the YDN, will end up looking like the FreeRepublic message boards.

  • TannerSmith

    To pablum; How about a real Woodward and Bernstein investigation on how the Senate will sit the two newly elected Democratic Senators immediatly while there seems to be a delay in sitting the newly elected Republican Senator from Illinois? Appears to be a paperwork problem yeah and Rosemary hit the wrong button.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Goldie 08:

    Don’t knock 66-year-olds. We rock.

    PK

  • Yale12

    Madas, you seem to be buying pretty handily into the pundits’ assertion that Obama has done nothing in the first two years of his presidency. I suggest you visit http://whattheheckhasobamadonesofar.com/. Or just do some independent research.

  • pablum

    @TannerSmith: Ask Illinois state officials. The President has absolutely nothing to do, except in your wildest conspiracy theories, with the certification of state election results.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Yale 12:

    Are you sure that isn’t http://misreadthewillofthecountry.com?

    PK

  • Hrm

    Yale 12:

    If you read correctly, you will notice that Madas does allude to more that Obama has done–what he mocks is how Jack only brings up two of those things that do not fully support his point.

  • TannerSmith

    @pablum So it’s just a coincendence that this happens in Obama’s former (old seat would be a biographiclly wrong.) Senate seat? Sure and there is no gambling in Casablanca.