Posts tagged ‘compromise’

All the Way (with LBJ)

HBO presented the Tony winning play from Broadway this weekend with Bryan Cranston leading an ensemble of amazing actors to put life into that time when LBJ did actually transform the nation.  It was an amazing perspective on reality, personal frailty, and what it took to really change America.  It was also a window into everything that is going on today and anyone watching it could not help asking themselves, does history never stop repeating itself?  There was the South fighting any change that might give blacks (negroes in those times) real equal representation.  They are still fighting that change today 50 years later in the form of gay and transgender rights.  They still use the Bible and claims of freedom to spew their discrimination.  State’s rights is still code for hate and disenfranchisement.  I don’t mean to pick on the South, but there it is.

Probably one of the more interesting tug of wars that is so important today is between doing what is right and the reality of politics.  LBJ delayed the Voting Rights Act because he could not get the Civil Rights Act through Congress with the resistance from Southern Democrats.  It in many ways was the lesson of Abe Lincoln on freeing the slaves.  The right thing to do (Emancipation Proclamation) was down the road from the compromises he offered the South until we escalated into civil war.  So fast forward till today and we have the Bernie/Hillary fight where Bernie wants radical change and Hillary wants incremental change. Oh, and the Republicans want no change.  Is the lesson here, like for LBJ, that we must be politically practical and drag the conservatives kicking and screaming into the future?

I would say yes and no.  It has become fairly obvious that the conservatives have just about everything wrong, whether it is LGBT rights, or the economy, much less global warming.  If we had rational politics and we saw some movement then I would agree with incrementalism.  But we simply don’t and most people are in denial about that.  We are actually moving backwards as a conservative loaded judiciary has destroyed the Voting Rights Act, we see religious rights as a tool to discriminate again, and nothing, absolutely nothing that moves the country forward is going to get through a Republican controlled Congress.  There are no levers that we saw LBJ wield.

So the lesson of LBJ using his political skills to move the country forward may not be viable anymore.  That is what Barack was trying to do. The outrage shown by the more radically prone blacks in All the Way was resisted by Martin Luther king seeing (and being helped to see) that winning a battle was not winning the war.  But today?  Global Warming is now irreversible, economic inequality is growing like an aggressive cancer, and conservatives again want to use state’s rights as an excuse to disenfranchise people they don’t agree with.  And they have shown us they won’t compromise unless the compromise is capitulation by the other side.  We have been trying incrementalism and we are back sliding.

So all in all, the lessons of All the Way are that nothing really changes.  The forces of fighting change use the same tired rhetoric and lies to keep us all from advancing.  Sometimes you have to compromise to move forward, and people and politics are complex.  Strength may appear as weakness, and weakness may actually be strength. But the lesson of today is if the other side is unwilling to compromise, and politics of yesterday don’t work, we may have to try something new.

Oh, and I saw All the Way on Broadway and Bryan Cranston and the cast had me riveted in my seat.  Maybe that is why it won the Tony for best Dramatic Play, and best Dramatic Actor.  It was riveting again last night as I watched the film production.  I see another Emmy coming Cranston’s way.

The President’s Commencement Speech

I caught the whole thing, and I listened closely.  There was real wisdom here.  Between that and Bernie Sanders interview on Friday night with Rachel Maddow, there was a real contrast between cartoon America and people trying to solve real problems.  Cartoon America is of course the Republicans.  But in the instance of President Obama’s speech he made a plea for reasonableness.  It was something I listened closely to because in many ways, he was not served well by his reasonableness with the Republican Congress.  Here is some of what he said:

“If you think that the only way forward is to be as uncompromising as possible, you will feel good about yourself, you will enjoy a certain moral purity, but you’re not going to get what you want,” the president said, adding that such an approach leads to “a downward spiral of more injustice and more anger and more despair, and that’s never been the source of our progress.”

There is truth in that and he gave examples of where listening to the other side helped forge compromises that recognized the only progress possible was to work within both sides interests.  This part of his speech could have been lifted from the negotiator’s Bible, Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury.  It is about interests, not positions.  But one of the things that we have to keep in mind is that we have to know what our bottom line is, and what the interests of the other side are.

Listening to this part of the speech, one could say that he was arguing that negotiating with Republicans whose interest was to see you fail, was still worth it.  But in another part of his speech he indicated that you had to know where to draw the line.  I think that later part came later in his administration.  So yes, when you have two parties like Black Lives Matter and the police, both could learn something from the other.  When you have a Tea Party Congress who has no intention of letting anything you want survive, drawing lines and saying No is the only way you keep yourself whole.  The real wisdom here is learning to recognize which situation you are in.

All the Wrong Moves

I am wondering if the way we think about things is our problem.  Here is the big one:  Compromise may not be a virtue, but our downfall.  Let me connect the dots on two news stories today.  First, Leaders Roll up Sleeves on Climate, but Experts Say Plans Don’t Pack a Wallop:

Unless countries develop more ambitious plans, the experts say, the world could ultimately suffer profound consequences, including debilitating heat waves, food shortages and fast-rising seas.

And of course there are competing interests basically short-term pain to long-term catastrophe.  Then you turn to an op-ed that tells us:  An Energy Bill that Needs Fixes.

The bill is a modest attempt at bipartisanship in a Congress that has seen very little of it. Both sides of the aisle put aside their most ambitious energy proposals in an effort to achieve small gains. That is not necessarily a bad thing, given how deeply divided the two parties are on energy and environmental policy.

It contains some good things, “However, it also contains harmful measures that need to be stripped out before it becomes law. Its most problematic provision, a bipartisan amendment advocated by several senators, including Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, and Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, requires the government to consider electricity generated by burning trees and other forest biomass as carbon-neutral.”

So what are we playing at here?  Moving chairs around on the deck of the Titanic?  Things will be better for a while until the whole thing goes tits up?  But special interests get a short-term reprieve over the fate of our children?  Compromising with bad ideas is a bad idea.  Climate science is easy.  We know the end result, except of course for the deniers (Republicans), we know what has to be done.  And we don’t do it because…

Okay let’s take a not so direct example.  Ross Douthat, okay judge the source, wrote a column this morning about Bernie, but I thought the language was telling:  leading a left-wing-youth-movement.  What is left-wing?  Is that single payer health care?  Is it taking money out of politics?  Is it free public universities?  Is it paying more taxes so we can afford these things?

Note we call Bernie an idealist while we call Hillary a pragmatist.  All these labels are laden with meaning.  Left wing is out there.  Idealist is ineffective.  A pragmatist gets things done.  But the labels no longer apply.  If you want universal health care, a single payer system is what the world has shown us is the way to get there.  Isn’t that then pragmatic?  If being an idealist is dreaming and proposing the only real changes that will turn us around, is that idealism, or is it being pragmatic.  If what is political realistic does not solve the problem are you really impractical to propose real fixes anyway?

Let me connect the two ideas.  We are into labeling as ways to send emotion laden messages in code about ideas.  But the labeling is no longer accurate.  Compromise and bipartisanship is not a good thing if the compromise does not solve a problem that must be solved, just makes us feel better about ourselves.  Idealistic is not idealistic if the only way to make our political system work is to get money out of politics.  Right wing or left-wing are emotion and meaning laden words that tell us nothing about whether the ideas they are describing work.  Is it left-wing to want free public college education when to compete and to advance our standard of living, that is the only way we are going to make education affordable for everyone?  Oh, and other countries already do it?

We have reached a point where most conservative ideas are no longer functional.  They worked fine in a frontier society where there was lots of opportunity for everyone.  Today we have competing interests, inequality and a rigged system everywhere, and a complex world where everything we do impacts everyone else.  Just being competent and disciplined in a very unlevel playing field no longer works.  Said simply, working hard no longer guarantees anything.  The solutions we require can no longer tolerate half measures that may not work.  In terms of global warming, it simply dooms our children.  In terms of compromise with a system that no longer works, it just makes the final explosion louder and more devastating.  To attack ideas as right-wing or left-wing is nonsense.  It is an excuse to not to examine them in the light of their efficacy.

So my plea here is simple.  Let me hear no more about bipartisan bills as an assumed good idea.  Let me hear no more that an idea is left-wing or right-wing, or politically impractical.  We have real needs to move this country forward and we need to consider the ideas in simple terms of do they solve the problem.  We won’t hear that because one whole political party has no new ideas and they want us to ignore reality.  But the rest of us could get smarter and quit thinking working with them is a good idea when their ideas no longer address reality as we know it.

Beltway B.S.

From the N.Y. Times This Morning:

With both parties increasingly playing to their base constituencies and their sometimes absolutist positions, many lawmakers are apt to oppose legislation that does not meet their all-or-nothing demands, making bipartisan measures like the $1.1 trillion spending bill extraordinarily difficult to achieve.

“You have a real breakdown in the institution, and this is the result of that breakdown,” said Representative Doc Hastings, the retiring Washington State Republican who presided over much of the House session as the funding measure came under attack from two directions before it narrowly passed just hours before the government was to run out of money. It is expected to clear the Senate, but again not without objections from the right and left.

It’s bull shit. It is the argument that both sides have a fringe section, equally fringy, and they are gumming up the works. Again it is bull shit. The argument over the removing of banking regulations was a clear substantive issue. But maybe I should ask you this: Who are moderate Republicans in the middle? There aren’t any or not enough to define a middle.

Think of it this way: Think of a football field. You have two goal posts representing the ideal position of each player and 100 yards between them. The ideal compromise position is on the 50 yard line. You are sitting in the stands and the guys on the right moves their goal posts 20 yards back (to the right). Now the compromise position is on the old 40 yard line of the guys who move their goal line further away (to the right). Do that a few times and the compromise position gets closer and closer to the original goal line of the guys who keep moving their goal line to the right. That is where we are today.

So should there be a line in the sand? Well, if the guys on the left do not want to start playing from the other guys original goal line there should be. Said another way, if they want to stand for anything there should be. In real politics the Right has figure out that you just make more and more outrageous demands and the compromise position continues to move in their direction until we have a country with only one position. That is what the stand on the Cromnibus was about, not the loss of compromise, but the loss of standing for anything.

It turned out that in the backroom negotiations, the Republicans piled on a whole bunch of onerous banking give aways and the Democrats thought they had come to a reasonable compromise when they were only left with the FDIC covering their risky bets thing. In actuality the compromise position moved to the goal line of the other guy. Compromise in this environment is losing who you are and becoming them. There should have been no bill passed by the Democrats. A line in the sand is all we have left till we become them, if we haven’t already.

Oh, and I almost forgot to draw the obvious conclusion. The Beltway conventional wisdom implicit in the NYT article above is that the compromise position is the best outcome. But in today’s political climate, the compromise position was a total disaster rolling back one of the most important protections we enacted to protect our economy. It shows we are owned by the banks and the rich. Gee, maybe the both sides do it and some compromise position is best for the country is total bull shit. You think?

Compromise in Washington?

What are you smoking? You have to wonder about this current crop of pundits. No, there won’t be any compromise in Washington unless Democrats just buy into failed Republican ideas and cease to exist. See Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Here is the new conventional wisdom: The Republicans have tamed their radicals and now can once again function as a real political party. Additionally, in order to matter in 2016 they have to actually govern, which means pass some legislation that people want between now and then. So there will be things that Democrats and Republicans can work together on.

Hello? Have you been awake the last eight years. The party was rejuvenated by electing people who hate government. Their only goal was to make sure President Obama did not have any wins. They pandered to xenophobia, bigotry (those others), and fear of government. Their base upon which they depend on for reelection has not changed. So why should they?

Already the talking heads say that immigration reform might get passed. Again, what are you smoking? There is a bill that was a major compromise that passed in the Senate. It had a ton of bad stuff in it to get it by Republicans then. Now the Republicans want “more compromises” before they will agree to vote on it. Have we not seen this movie before. They will keep moving the goal posts and claim the Democrats won’t play. If Democrats want to exist as a party that stands for something they will draw some lines in the sand.

Here is what everyone is missing. One party, the Democrats, believe that to solve our problems, government has to be a big player. The other one, Republicans, see government as the problem, unless of course it can be used to enforce their moral ideology (deny a right to choose, deny gay marriage, deny voting rights). We are facing major issues like global warming and a waning economy for the middle class and one party denies reality and says the solution is less government and lower taxes and the other wants to use government to address these issues. Just where again is the compromise?

Here is what makes your head spin. We know that Republican ideas about immigration, drugs, global warming, healthcare, alternate energy, or the economy in general do not work. Just close the borders and throw out the undocumented workers is impractical and actually hurts our economy. The drug war has been an abysmal failure. Yes, Virginia, global warming exists and even our military see it as the future cause of global conflicts. Just appeal Obamacare and prices will go down. Alternate energy, resisted by Republicans with their drill baby drill chant, is our future. And on the economy, oh, don’t get me started.

Americans, at some level know all the hoopla about the economy getting better is just that, hoopla. The majority of us are not reaping the benefits of the GDP growth or the stock market. Yes, we are creating more jobs, but what kind of jobs? Inequality is growing by leaps and bounds every day. One party, the Republicans see maintaining this status quo as good, and the other, Democrats, want to see more Americans share in the nation’s prosperity. They are two different roads and compromise just takes us down the Republican one.

The Republicans won the last election and they are bereft of ideas except the old failed ones and they hold on to power by obstruction and fear. Where oh where is the compromise in that. No, we will see the Republican Party as it is, still obstructing and demanding too many concessions, and compromise for them is still a dirty word. No it is not going to happen. They just can’t help themselves. And part of the problem is the Beltway Blinders that keep our media from pointing fingers and looking at real policies, not in whether they can get passed, but will they help. No, nothing has changed.

The Stupid Things People Say that Perpetuates the Problem

I was listening to a report about how Congress is about to leave town and they have yet to solve the VA funding problem after all the chest beating about how our veterans deserve better.  A representative of a veteran’s group was pointing out this was not a partisan issue and Congress just needs to provide the required additional funds to solve this problem.  Note how Congress is blamed, not Republicans, who refuse to fund it except by gouging some other needed program.  These guys and gals who represent various good causes are afraid to name names because then they themselves become partisan and the other side won’t talk to them.  Instead they become pawns of the false impression that both sides do it.

In case you haven’t noticed, breathing is a partisan issue.  Infrastructure improvements, dealing with the impacts of global warming, the immigration problem, you name it and it all comes down to government action and additional spending and the Republicans hate both.  That is about as partisan as it gets.  I would bet if you took the amount of money needed to fund the VA to get the services required to keep our promise and raise taxes accordingly to fund it, as we should have done to pay for those stupid wars, it would be a popular winner.  But when you can promise to raise no taxes as a right passage to the Halls of Republicanism, it is not going to happen.  Immigration reform and raising the minimum wage are all wildly popular, but they are not going to happen because it flies in the face of Republican theology.

And all of it is not going to happen, not because of partisan bickering, but because Republicans don’t believe in it.  There are no negotiations because what we have learned is that Republicans don’t compromise unless that compromise is the other side totally caving in to the Republican position.  So quit saying stupid things like it is not a partisan issue and that Congress needs to get together and find the money.  That is not the issue.  The issue is that Republicans hate government and would be happy if the VA (a government medical program) fails.  If you don’t get that by now, well, I just give up.  Keep voting for those fools as our government grinds to a halt.

Some Confirmation

Yesterday I listed some reasons why Progressives are not so happy with President Obama. The counter argument is that he is getting what is politically possible. My response to that is simply that the bar is set way too low. The country has lurched so far to the right that what is politically possible is generally toxic. To get something done, anything, in this environment is to water down legislation to the point where you have lost what you stand for.

The voters get this. They see both parties are pretty much the same* and see little reason to get to the polls to vote because what is the point? The Democrats have allowed themselves to be neutralized and Washington is the place where good ideas go to die. I believe there is an alternative to this, which won’t get anything passed, but will start to define a true and distinct difference between the two parties.

That alternative is a united front between the Democrats in Congress and the President on presenting a unified plan which includes immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, investment in infrastructure, global warming legislation, reducing interest on the student loans, equal pay for women, a voting bill of rights (access, ID, easier registration and voting), and a guaranteed access for women’s choice. Almost like a party platform, but in this case a concrete legislative plan.

The big difference here is that in the past, we have let “bipartisan” groups work over the bills (read make them toothless) so that they can pass the Congress. This time, make it the bottom line. Put in those bills what would be most effective optimal solutions to our problems, and then submit and resubmit them to Congress to vote on (or at least in the Senate where Democrats control the agenda. Then it would be obvious what Democrats stand for, and who is the problem. It might also start a conversation in the country that will wake people up to how far right we have lurched.

The biggest problem with this is President Obama himself. I have argued that he lacks leadership skills and the there there that allows him to understand what is not negotiable. So to my title. I read a piece by James Kwak yesterday in his Baseline Blog commenting on Jessie Eisinger’s column about Tim Giethner’s new book on the financial crisis. As James put it:

But it’s also important to remember that he (Giethner) was only an upper manager. The man who called the shots was his boss: Barack Obama.

Eisinger takes this much further in discussing the failure to really reform the financial system and do anything about sinking home values and home mortgage debt which was the real cause of the recession (See House of Debt):

These were Mr. Geithner’s failures, but they were more deeply Mr. Obama’s. The flaws we thought we were seeing during Mr. Geithner’s tenure turn out to have replicated themselves in other Obama departments. And they have persisted after Mr. Geithner left. Why, it’s almost as if the Treasury secretary wasn’t the one making decisions and setting the tone after all.

President Obama’s appointees, Eric H. Holder Jr. at the Department of Justice and Mary L. Schapiro at the Securities and Exchange Commission, oversaw the inadequate enforcement response to the crisis. Mr. Obama reappointed Ben S. Bernanke, who focused on monetary policy and didn’t push for more aggressive regulatory and financial reform. Mr. Geithner didn’t run those shops. …

Favored Obama appointees seem to share certain qualities: They work within the system, they don’t like to ruffle feathers or pick fights, and they keep their profiles low. They are technocrats.

There’s an “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” quality to these Obamaites. Mr. Geithner had a saying: “No jerks, no peacocks, no whiners.” That echoes the president’s ethos, encapsulated by “No drama Obama.” The result is a congenital suspicion of vision, ambition, sweeping reform and change.

Or as I have been arguing for years, there is no grand vision, there is no there there, and change will never come from this lot.

*Clearly both parties are not the same, one standing for more tax cuts, less regulation, smaller government, and wait for flow down, while the other actually wants to do something about economic and social inequality. The choice could not be more stark. But that only applies to those of us who track these things. The average voter is discouraged, seeing nothing happen, and the Democrats on the defensive almost all the time. So in their little minds, they voted for change and got none, and it is all so depressing that they just tune out.

The Enemy in Our Own Camp

They are called moderate Democrats, but moderate is a relative term considering how far right the country has swung. Moderate Democrats are usually social progressives and economic conservatives, whereas moderate Republicans (a disappearing breed) would kind of like to be moderate Democrats, but in order to keep their jobs have sold their souls to the right wing nut jobs.

Moderate Democrats are purple state Democrats trying to hang on to their jobs by catering to conservative ideas whether they be coal states, or walking a fine line between state’s rights and big government. The conventional wisdom is that moderate anything is good. Hey, compromise is good right? Both sides bring something to the table, right? Not anymore.

Here is what we know. No, this is not an opinion, it is what we know. We face two giant crisises: Global Warming and extreme Economic Inequality. Let’s start with the global warming thing. The conservatives (hereafter referred to as the crazies) deny it exists in the face of overwhelming data.

As Chris Hayes pointed out in a Nation post, in order to stem the worst effects of global warming, we are going to have to leave trillions of dollars worth of carbon in the ground. There is no well we could take half or maybe eventually there will be clean coal. We either leave it in the ground and don’t burn it or we go over the tipping point. In other words, there is no room for negotiation.

So where do we think the moderates stand? Here in California, they are making deals to increase fracking, but getting some safeguards for the water. Seems reasonable until you look at the big picture. In coal states they are trying to save jobs and it seems reasonable till you look at the big picture.

And what is the big picture? That global warming will be the greatest threat to world peace as droughts, floods, rising oceans, displaced people change historic patterns of commerce, haves and have nots. If you look at it in these terms, the moderates are selling us out.

To transfer from carbon based fuels to alternate energy could reinvigorate our economy including jobs to harden our infrastructure to prevent the damage from rising seas and future Sandy’s. But there would be winners and losers and those losers have big bucks to fight change (See Koch brothers in Oklahoma fighting solar energy).

The other great threat to us is growing economic inequality. Our wealth is being focused in a few, while the rest of us loose ground and our economy languishes. But wait! We have been sold that economic inequality is that vital element that gives us the motivation to strive. And it is true within reason, but we have left the starting gate of all reason. And this is not about capitalism, but about the rules and policies we put in place around capitalism. And guess who those mostly benefit?

Economic inequality kills jobs, reduces competition, kills people (that is why there is a higher mortality rate if you are poor), but is great if you are wealthy. See Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality, by David Cay Johnston. The fix is to take some drastic action like raising the minimum wage, giving women equal pay, reducing patent protections, reforming immigration, reforming trade policy, and reforming the tax code. Once again moderate Democrats aren’t going to make the changes necessary because they are economic conservatives. They still believe in flow down which is the ideological basis for making “job creators” wealthy. They are still terrified of the debt instead of unemployment.

One side hasn’t just got it a little wrong and we need to meet in the middle, they have had it completely wrong and moderate Democrats are right in there with them. We are now facing some of the biggest threats to America’s prosperities and halfway measures are not going to move us off the status quo. That is why moderate Democrats right there with the crazies, need to be relegated to the dust bin of bad ideas. We need a Progressive tomorrow, not more compromise that gets us nowhere.


Well my mind is kind of reeling. There are so many things that are not making sense, I don’t know where to start. Probably the first is the Farm Bill which should just be vetoed and tell Congress to get it right. Of course it has lots of good things in it, but it is loaded with bad things. Just to mention one is crop insurance which protects our farmers from Mother Nature, but is really a give away to insurance companies where we the tax payers guarantee a 14% return on their policies (and subsidize them). Why? Or why Congress removed the requirement to disclose who in congress is getting subsidized insurance? Full disclosure anyone?

That brings up a whole topic of compromise, horse trading, and extortion and . When does one become the other? Chris Chistie’s folks are mulling this over right now and clearly in politics the gray predominates. Right here in California we have a project going south (literally and figuratively) because of politics. That would the the high speed rail project. The route it will take was based upon horse trading to get votes and align the route with cities who had their votes for sale. So instead of good policy and projects, we get the suboptimal solution, and one that may ultimately spell its demise.

Let’s look at immigration. Republicans have given us a one page immigration plan, which means they haven’t giving us anything yet. But what is good immigration policy? Or how much of this is weighed down by pandering to the base as opposed to good policy that might work. Democrats are probably thinking we can throw away more money on border security if we can get a bill that actually helps legalized those who are in the shadows. Well that remains to be seen, but is that really a good compromise?

I guess what is really bothering me is that we know how to fix many things. They really are not up for debate since we already have enough data. But it would appear that we elect politicians who game the system for political advantage instead of working for the good of the country. How do we get around that? That is what is rolling around in my mind. We have a systemic problem in our political system that ensures that politicians like Chris Christie succeed instead of more public service oriented people. Sure Chris and most Democrats sell us that they care about us, but what they do is what they are.

So some horse trading and compromise works. Clearly if I want a new water treatment facility for my citizens I should be able to make a deal to support someone else’s project to get it. It is in the interest of my voters. But when I make deals to benefit special business interests or my political prospects, I am no longer serving the people’s interest (except where I lie to myself that this is good for the people). So how do we figure out who are the good guys and who aren’t. Watch what they do, not what they say. If women would do that, there would not be one female who is a Republican. I can dream.



NYT: “Senate Democrats are on the verge of moving to eliminate the use of the filibuster against most presidential nominees, aides and senior party leaders said Wednesday, a move that would deprive Republicans of their ability to block President Obama’s picks for cabinet posts and the federal judiciary and further erode what little bipartisanship still exists in the Senate.”

Now I think this sentence reflects an implicit assumption on the conventional wisdom on bipartisanship. Let’s define the word and think about it: Does it mean, which I think is generally accepted, that politicians work across the isle to find solutions to our problems? That is what Americans want to see, right? “I wish they would quick arguing and get to work.” I like the Wikipedia definition better:

Bipartisanship is a political situation, usually in the context of a two-party system, in which opposing political parties find common ground[disambiguation needed] through compromise, in theory. Realistically, each party advances their own political agenda at the expense of the other party because of the conflicting ideologies.

The important thing to note here is that because the Republicans are in the minority and their political agenda is so at odds with Democrats, compromise is mostly impossible so they just block all action. The history of the Republicans since Obama came into office is obstructionism which tells you there is no common ground.

So let’s deconstruct. In both definitions there is an assumption of common ground. Seen any lately? Oh, wait there was that immigration bill in the Senate where there was compromise. Democrats got a path, albeit long and arduous, to citizenship, while the Republicans got a militarized border that makes the Berlin Wall look quaint. But the real interest of the two parties were not aligned. Democrats wanted to try to solve the problem of undocumented workers and their children in our country and Republicans wanted a token bill so they could maybe get some Hispanic votes. The bill is going no-where because there will be no compromise from Republicans in the House.

Meanwhile back at the bipartisan ranch, lets look at common interests that are required for it to operate. Do Republicans care about insuring Americans or fixing healthcare? Of course not. They have tried to defund Obamacare 43 times, run ads attempting to sabotage the system, and have tried to block implementation at every step. If they had any common ground, they would have a plan of their own that addresses these problems.

Democrats want to create jobs by cutting austerity and investing in infrastructure. Think that is going anywhere. Democrats and Republicans see the economy in two very different ways. One party wants to maintain the status quo, cut taxes, and believes in flowdown, and the other one is looking to make the tax system more equitable, and have government invest in tomorrow. If we had any common ground there would have been some weak bill a long time ago.

So my point is simply this: There is no common ground anymore, one party representing the status quo and a failed economic system, and the other, looking for answers. To want bipartisanship is to want policy that is filled with failed ideas. One party wants to address real problems, the other lives in fantasyland unfazed by reality or data. And you want bipartisanship?

Now the latest blowup is about the DC Circuit of Appeals’ three vacancies which the Republicans have decided does not need to be filled until they get control of the Senate again. And as the NYT noted, “Democrats got a reminder of how conservatively the court tends to lean when Judge Janice Rogers Brown, a Bush appointee, wrote an opinion last month declaring that the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that employers provide free coverage for contraception was an infringement of individual religious liberty. “ Extending that logic, employers can make any decision they want about your healthcare. This is a result of the court being packed by right wing nuts. Well it is our turn to try to balance it and there is no middle ground.

As one woman from Texas put it (and I am paraphrasing), she was made as hell at Harry Reid and the Democrats for not taking action sooner. She did not want another generation of daughters at the mercy of right wing judges who would see them barefoot and pregnant. So let’s hope this time the Democrats don’t find another compromise that won’t work just like all the others. There is no common ground as the right has gone way to far right, bipartisanship is a trap, and we need to restore majority rule, not tyranny of the minority. Gut up Harry and clueless Democrats. That would be Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein from California and I have let them know my displeasure, have you?