There is no word in the English language that allows the sun to poke through the clouds, inspires cherubic song and makes lobbyists high five while lording over a beer-joint urinal on in official Washington than “bipartisan”. Bipartisan is just so darn cool. It’s hip! It’s now! It’s Rand Paul’s talking filibuster and Charlie Krauthammer’s sardonic wit and Justice John Robert’s dreamy blue eyes all rolled up into one big pig in a blanket!
Or, and I’m just thinking aloud here, perhaps when that word is uttered in Washington there is only once choice to be made: Run.
Because you see, there is actually bipartisanship that makes sense. It is all over the US. It will tell you that over 90 percent of the American public thinks there should be a 3-minute background checks before you purchase a combat weapon that can dismember kindergarten-aged kids, that the minimum wage should surpass that of Heilongjiang Province and that marriage equality is a concept long overdue.
But that is not the bipartisanship that exists in Washington. This brand of bipartisanship is based on Beltway “wisdom” and the status of who happens to be presenting the case. It’s the variety that just gave us the 10-year anniversary of the tragedy in Iraq and rewarded Condoleezza Rice of the “smoking gun”, “mushroom cloud” and “what does ‘Bin Laden determined to attack in US‘ mean” with a new role as a political analyst on CBS – as if she can figure out day in and day out how to tie her shoes.
That’s bipartisanship DC style. It ignored Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Trayvon Martin and finally got around to thinking we have a gun problem after grotesque inaction reached its logical conclusion, with 20 six and seven year olds mowed down like cattle in their classroom. Even so, while there is much support for gun safety measures, there is still some “bipartisan” opposition.
This kind of Washington bipartisanship looks at this war-of-choice that’s now estimated to have cost in the trillions (yes, that’s with a T), out-of-control health care costs via a crony-capitalism protection racket and a Pentagon so bloated with fat it’s a surprise Rush Limbaugh doesn’t eat it with a side of his happy pills for dinner, and concludes, “let’s rob the old moochers of their earned benefits!”
Why did we go into Iraq again? Was it “Remember the Maine!” or The Gulf of Tonkin? Weapons of Mass Destruction or a posse of medical students hula-hooping in the island breeze, sipping umbrella-clad, grenadine-splashed drinks in Grenada? Who knows anymore, and who really cares? All that matters is that Republicans pushed for it, and out of cowardice or malice, many Democrats came to agree. The end. Except for the wasted dough and the pain and suffering, and the further pain and suffering they now want to inflict to cover the wasted dough.
These are all the same people mind you. The ones who wanted Iraq, want austerity and think a Bushmaster .223 makes a dandy wedding gift. They never learn anything and they never have to, because where once upon a time getting it right mattered, now it’s about who you are and who you know. Spawn of the dead, Liz Cheney, is close buds with key DC media gatekeepers – so by all means let’s have her on the Sunday shows even though she’s a cretinous dolt whose father is so evil – he’s literally burned through something like four hearts by now.
A recent Sunday morning talk-show lineup resembled a chain gang, with Ralph Reed, onetime Jack Abramoff water boy, Tony Perkins, who runs an organisation that’s been classified a hate group alongside the Ku Klux Klan and the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, who incites riot while protecting the rights of arms dealers to get American children massacred, among the luminaries invited to publicly opine. Because being right-wing, malevolent and wrong is an actual career advancement plan in Washington!
This is why we’re still talking about Paul Ryan’s’ crayons-on-the-kids’-menu budget, while the serious one offered by the Congressional Progressive Caucus – also known as a budget where the numbers actually add up – gets nary a mention in the media. Read it, if you dare.
I’m all for bipartisanship. Bipartisanship of, by and for real people, which get the issues right in poll after poll. The one that Washington ignores again and again, with wholly predictable and disastrous results.
Cliff Schecter is an author, pundit and public relations strategist whose firm Libertas, LLC handles media relations for political, corporate and non-profit clients.
Follow him on Twitter: @CliffSchecter