Monday, September 26, 2016

Perils of Democratic "bipartisanship"

I don't have any particular predictions for the Hillary vs. Trump debate tonight.

But one recent report on the Presidential race caught my eye.

It's this report which for me is nails on the blackboard: What President Hillary Clinton would do on Day 1 PBS Newshour 09/23/2016. It features two reporters, Lisa Desjardins of the PBS Newshour and Amie Parnes of The Hill, talking to John Yang about what they would expect from Hillary's early days as President:

"... bipartisan approach ... bipartisan ... they’re very much into working across the aisle, to extending an arm. ... She has a pretty good track record of working across the aisle with Republicans. She worked with Tom DeLay and other Republicans, so I think this is very much her approach. I think she’s very much a centrist and I think this is what she’s really looking to do when she takes the office. ... bipartisanship ...

"She has a commanding general coming into his own, Chuck Schumer. ... he’s becoming more bipartisan himself. ... reach across the aisle ... she’s going to have quite a little debacle, because she’s going to face some stress and some pressure from the left. [I hope!]

"They’re going to want her to not go with someone like Merrick Garland and pick someone who is a little more of their liking and of their ilk. [sic] ... it basically shows what she’s going to do with Republicans, if she kind of, you know, walks toward them a little bit and offers someone who’s more centrist. ... We know that Hillary Clinton has worked with Mitch McConnell in the past."

Bipartisanship and distancing herself from the "ilk" of her own party base. What could possibly go wrong?

Hillary herself is not talking this way in the campaign, so far as I'm seeing at the moment. But the Beltway press loves talk about Bipartisanship, and about Tip-'n-Ronnie fighting during the day and getting together for a beer in the evening.

The Republicans have used tactics like frequent redistricting, voter suppression and radial obstructionism in Congress to create a situation in which they have enormous ability to block Democratic programs that have enormous support.

And it allows the corporate wing of the Democratic Party to go along with conservative measures and argue to their constituents that it was the best they could do given Republican strength in Congress. So we get things like last year's Social Security changes, which included de facto benefits cuts that "will particularly hurt the middle class, women and families with disabled children." (Laurence Kotlikoff, The Budget Deal's Devastating Social Security Benefit Cuts Forbes 10/28/2015)

This situation also allows for Republicans to make attempts to degrade government services and then argue for further cuts and privitization because "gubment doesn't work." They have also been doing that with Social Security staffing and would like to keep doing it. (Eric Katz, Social Security Warns of Furloughs, Service Cuts if Congress Enacts Proposed Funding Government Executive 08/09/2016)

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