What Bipartisanship Should Actually Mean.
Let’s end the idea that we should “work together” just for the sake of working together.
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden recently made headlines once again for a controversial statement, in which he said once Donald Trump was out of office there would be an epiphany of sorts among his Republican friends, and they would be willing to reach across the aisle and work together with democrats. According to CNN:
“The comment is the latest demonstration of Biden’s effort to clash with Trump directly while also appealing to moderate Republicans, showcasing a broad appeal that could help him win a Democratic nominating contest in which voters are more concerned than usual with candidates’ perceived electability. But it also highlights a major rift within a 2020 Democratic primary field in which other candidates — particularly Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — are casting Trump as just a symptom of a GOP and a government now controlled by special interests.”
Really, Joe? Really?
The Obama era sometimes really does feel like it was an eternity ago, but has it really been so long that Biden has forgotten just how far Republicans were willing to go just to stand in the way of anything actually getting done?
Bipartisanship has turned in to a pipe dream of sorts over the last ten years, and even before then when it actually happens there’s very little good coming from it. Over the last few decades, we’ve seen “bipartisanship” bring us legislation like the 1994 crime bill, the patriot act, and votes for the Iraq War just to name a few. We’ve seen with the Affordable Care Act as well that even when Democrats start from the middle with their hands across the isle, without even fighting for their ideal goal, their hands are slapped away and everything they’ve a “accomplished” is actively fought against. Let’s also remember that the Affordable Care Act is a RIGHT WING approach to healthcare, birthed from a right wing think tank (The Heritage Foundation) and enacted by former Republican Governor Mitt Romney in Massachusetts.
It is blatantly obvious to anyone outside of the Washington bubble that obstructionism within the Republican Party did not start with Donald Trump. True bipartisanship does not start with democrats outright dismissing what their base wants to accomplish as unrealistic, and caving in before they’ve even begun negotiations.
Of course, leave it to our freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to show us that authentic bipartisanship, and finding common ground in order to get something accomplished is still possible. On twitter of all places, she reached a tentative agreement with far right conservative and Texas Senator Ted Cruz to work on legislation that would ban lawmakers from going in to lobbying after they leave government, at least for a period of time. She has made it absolutely clear that she will not go in to this agreement unconditionally, but if he is serious about approaching this in a non-partisan way, she is willing to talk.
That’s what bipartisanship is.
Bipartisanship is not about caving on your principles and pretending the other side’s intentions are always honest. Bipartisanship should mean identifying common ground, and vetting the intentions and motives of the other party in order to make sure that what you want to accomplish can actually be done, without it being dismantled by countless amendments and undermining language.
I am not interested in bipartisanship just for the sake of bipartisanship. There is a reason that political parties oppose each other, and especially in today’s political climate that has to be taken in to consideration. I am not interested in compromising leftist principles, but I am all for finding issues of real agreement.