Buried in Glen Greenwald’s latest post about Obama Presidency prosecutions of Bush Administration war crimes (he’s in favor of them, I agree) is this comment about the notion of ‘bipartisanship’:
But our political establishment venerates “centrism” and “bi-partisanship” as the highest religious concepts. Those terms are, in reality, nothing more than vehicles to insulate government officials and the political establishment generally from any accountability. Their only real meaning is that cooperation within the political establishment is paramount, regardless of political principles and the rule of law.
‘Bipartisanship’ means agreement between the party-elites who on the one hand pitch themselves as the defense against the greater of two evils, but simultaneously expect co-operation from those evils when the time comes. In our two party system, we should openly recognize the difference between being elected and representing the real interests of voters; we should acknowledge this inherent failure of democracy when we talk about ‘bipartisanship’ as a political good.
Even if you don’t see ‘bipartisanship’ as the product of our decadent, mutually gratifying political system, the appeal for it now is particularly frustrating. The Republicans are being totally disingenuous – we just came off of 8 years of the 50%+1 political machine that railroaded legislation without even a hint of real debate or consensus, conceding to a call for bipartisanship now would only cement the horrifying legislative changes of the past two administrations.
Look, I know Obama is all about the transcendence and what not, but it’s time to play hardball. The ‘transcendence’ was not just over ‘partisanship,’ but rather a specific brand of partisanship that fed the Bush-GOP machine. Failure to push back with equal fervor would be the final victory of the Bush Administration.