Friday, October 12, 2012

Pants On Fire # 4: Failure of Bipartisanship

The Lie: The Obama administration has been unwilling to deal with the Republican Party to make bipartisan legislation that will help solve some of our nation's problems.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) repeated this lie when said to V.P. Joe Biden in last night's debate, in the middle of a discussion of tax policy, “You know, I understand you guys aren’t used to doing bipartisan deals …”

The Truth: The Obama administration has bent over backwards to make deals with the Republicans to try to get bipartisan legislation passed during the last four years. 

But, as Ryan hopes the rest of us are forgetting, it was the Republicans themselves, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who met with other Republicans on the very day Pres. Obama was inaugurated to make this plan: 

“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

Really? Yes, really. The Republican Party has put this goal ahead of every other goal for the past four years, to the detriment of public policy in this country, operating with what Andrew Leonard calls "extreme partisanship unprecedented in modern American history." 

Quoting again from Andrew Leonard:

   "No party has ever abused the filibustering process as much as Republicans have done since the Democrats took control of the Senate in 2006. No party has ever abused procedural rules as part of a strategy to block or delay votes on White House appointees as doggedly as the current Republican Party. Obama’s health plan was designed specifically to incorporate conservative ideas and preserve a role for private sector insurance companies, but did not receive a single Republican vote in the Senate. Obama’s stimulus incorporated huge tax cuts explicitly aimed at courting Republicans but received only three votes from Republicans — at a time when warding off an oncoming depression was the single most important task for the government. In the struggle to reach budgetary and debt ceiling votes, Obama repeatedly offered larger concessions than his own party was comfortable with making, and still was rebuffed by the opposition.

   "Paul Ryan — a member of the Simpson-Bowles Commission — voted against the commission’s budget recommendations primarily because it included revenue-generating measures that the current Republican Party deems anathema.

   "It’s certainly true that Republican obstructionism appears to represent constituent desires. Fair enough. Republicans have a legal right — and, in their own view, a moral obligation — to block President Obama’s initiatives. But what they can’t do is then turn around and accuse Obama and Biden of being insufficiently bipartisan. The record indicates otherwise."

Madame L remembers people on the Left and Progressive sides of the Democratic Party getting mad at Obama for making so many concessions  to try to get legislation passed (while moderate Republicans mostly held their tongues and went along with the travesty). So Madame L adds that if it's true that the Democratic Party isn't "used to doing bipartisan deals," that's only because the Republicans have stomped on every bipartisan effort the Democrats have made. 

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