Monday, February 02, 2009

bi-partisanship is a four letter word

The Republican Guru Grover Norquist was recently quoted to the effect that "bi partisanship is the equivalent of date rape."

There's an image!

I see his point, though, and I see his point of view. I don't agree with him, but I understand where he is coming from.

He sees the world as black and white, us versus them, we are right and they are wrong. Politics is a zero sum game. If someone else is in power that's unacceptable. They have no right to govern because they are wrong. He is smart, anyone who disagrees with him is not only wrong but criminal or crazy.

Makes complete sense that there can be no reconciliation or cooperation, if that's how one sees the world.

That is not, however, the way the world really is.

It is true, though, that the last eight years were dominated by a continuing "date rape" perpetrated by the Republican Party--even when the Democrats were in the majority, toward the end. A president with the slimmest margin of victory in history (if, indeed, he had any such margin) governed as though he received 80% of the vote and he got away with it.

There was no give and take, during the Bush administration. It was all take--unless you worked for a living and received wages, then you gave, and gave, and gave.

Mr. Norquist seems to be projecting, then. What his "side" did is what he thinks will be done to him because that is what he thinks reality is.

It would be nice if it could be shown that he is wrong--that compromise is possible in which everyone gives a little to get a little.

I don't know if that will happen, but there is a danger even if it does.

It is entirely possible that so many compromises can be made that what is done is ineffective and then the doer will be made to look wrong in the future when the compromise turns out to have sabotaged the mission the legislation set out to accomplish.

The income tax, for example, was so watered down by concessions made to get it implemented that it's not really progressive and there are plenty of ways that middle class tax payers have had the burden of funding government shifted to them (can you say capital gains income versus income on salaries--including social security).

And asking for compromise after compromise after compromise can become a tactic to blunt the effort and so ensure Democratic failure that Republicans can run on in two years.

Date rape. Yeah. If Norquist continues to use that phrase then, like "class warfare," those I hear use it the most will be, in my mind, the most likely to engage in it.

So, a Lily to Mr. Norquist.

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