Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Greenwald On Bipartisanship

Pay attention to the man behind the curtain.

Glenn Greenwald did something today that I've been meaning to do for some time - he compiled a list of key votes over the last couple of years, and contrasted the near-unanimity of Senate Republicans with their Democratic counterparts. Here, in table form, is that list:

Key Votes In Senate, 2006-2008
new Bush-supported FISA law48-0 12-36
redeployment of troops from Iraq0-4924-21
confirm Michael Mukasey as Attorney General46-07-40
confirm Leslie Southwick as Circuit Court Judge49-08-38
Kyl-Lieberman Resolution on Iran46-230-20
condemn MoveOn.org49-023-25
Protect America Act44-020-28
English as the Government's official language48-116-33
Military Commissions Act53-012-34
renew the Patriot Act54-034-10
Cloture Vote: Alito's confirmation to SCOTUS54-018-25
Authorization to Use Military Force in Iraq48-129-22

Visit Glenn's article for links to those Senate votes.

These are some of the most divisive issues in the last two years. They involve choices between (perceived) security and civil rights, the relative importance of culture and freedom, and the future direction of the courts, not to mention war and peace. If both parties were truly acting in the interest of the country, you'd expect there to be a lack of unanimity on both sides. Yet clearly, there is not. I've noted this on certain votes in the past, but this is one of the better descriptions of how bipartisanship really works in Washington. It's strictly a Democratic thing. As Greenwald concludes:

Leaving aside how shallow and, shall we say, unserious is this endless chirping for more "bipartisanship" -- as though it's a magic feel-good formula for resolving actual policy differences -- it's hard to imagine how there could possibly be any more "bipartisanship" in Washington even if that were the only goal. Other than formally disbanding as a party -- or granting a permanent proxy of their collective vote to Mitch McConnell -- how could Congressional Democrats possibly be more accommodating than they already are?

What "bipartisanship" in Washington means

At least one of the "bipartisan" crowd will undoubtedly retort that there are probably issues on which the Democrats showed far more unanimity than the Republicans. If you think that, go ahead and find them. I'll tell you right now you're wasting your time, but I'd rather have you working to educate yourselves than working toward some nonsensical goal.

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