President Barack Obama promised bipartisanship in his administration. Perhaps the President’s definition of bipartisanship does not match the definition to which the Republicans ascribe. Based on the reports from Washington and beyond, the President’s idea of bipartisanship is to use his charisma to convince Republicans that he is right instead of listening to what the Republicans have to say. The times when bipartisan agreements are achieved include some give and take by both parties not the wholesale purchase of the other side’s idea. In order for “bipartisanship” to work, the President and his sycophants need to be open to changing their positions as they are so eager for Republicans to do. Basic tenets of mediation and negotiation require some exchange.
If not, the President will find there will be little “Bipartisanship” whatever the definition. Republicans are finding traction with now skeptical voters who see the massive waste of TARP money by people who receive annual salaries that far exceed the income of some local communities. How can legislators support a bill they haven’t even read? How will those legislators who did justify that vote to taxpayers who now carry the burden of the sinking economy and fear that their personal economy will be impacted more severely?
A vote in favor of the bill without some give by the Democrats would be like selling one’s soul without any benefit whatsoever. Why would Republicans do that?
Bipartisanship implies some agreement between the parties or members of two parties. Unfortunately, the Democrats behave now like a “ruling party” of parliamentary governments instead of like a majority party of U.S. legislative history. So long as the Democrats maintain an attitude of supremacy, the Republicans will have little choice but to question the new establishment and fight the Democrat party line. Until the ruling party finds some humility, the news out of Washington will continue to ponder, as a New Times article today, the challenges of “bipartisanship.”