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Obstruction Defines Conservatism In U.S. Politics-- "Bipartisanship" Is A GOP Ruse



Like every other poll, the new one from YouGov for CBS News shows Biden with high approval numbers-- 58 vs 42%-- which, coincidentally is the exact same as the approval for his infrastructure program, something conservatives are trying with all their might to tank. Of all the stands Biden has taken, the one with the most backing-- and most bipartisan backing (at least from the public) is withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan. 77% approve and just 23% disapprove. Hawks in Congress haven't stopped whining and screaming since he announced it, although I don't recall hearing much whining and screaming from the Republicans when Trump announced that he would withdrawn all troops from Afghanistan by May 1. That 77% figure includes approval by 89% of Democrats, 77% of inddependents and even a massive 63% of Republicans. Republicans in Congress are, us usual out of step with the public. Former Orlando congressman, Alan Grayson, exploring a bid to run for the Senate seat occupied by clueless war-monger Marco Rubio, noted that "Neo-colonialism is definitely out of fashion... [and] Better late than never."


Many Senate Republicans besides Rubio are vehemently opposed including Mitch McConnell, who called it a "grave mistake" and "a retreat in the face of an enemy that has not yet been vanquished.... Foreign terrorists will not leave the U.S. alone because our politicians have grown tired of taking the fight to them... [Biden] needs to explain to the American people why he thinks abandoning our partners and retreating in the face of the Taliban will make America safer." Jim Inhofe (R-OK), ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Biden's decision was "reckless" and "dangerous" and Lindsey Graham hissed that the decision was "irresponsible," "dumber than dirt" and that it is a "disaster in the making."

Going back to that poll, it's also worth noting that 32% of respondents say they do not consider Biden a legitimate president (which includes 70% of Republicans!). And with that in mind:


54% of Republican respondents say they want Congress to oppose Biden as much as possible and 23% of Republicans day he hasn't been trying to work with congressional Republicans. This morning Professor John Lawrence, a former Pelosi chief-of-staff and author of The Class of ’74: Congress After Watergate and the Roots of Partisanship wrote a guest essay for the NY Times, You Don’t Actually Need to Reach Across the Aisle, Mr. Biden. Lawrence wrote that though there's "nothing wrong with reaching across the aisle to seek common ground... "insisting on bipartisanship-- given the major policy divide between the parties on economic recovery, tax reform, climate change and health care-- usually guarantees gridlock (which promotes voter cynicism) or actions that are watered down and ineffective (which are condemned by everyone, right and left)."


He noted that "Seeking bipartisanship looks more and more like a fool’s errand. President Barack Obama offered significant concessions to Republicans in hopes of attracting their support on legislation like the 2009 stimulus and the Affordable Care Act, but he came up almost totally empty-handed. Many Democrats were furious that their broader designs-- especially on health care-- had been trimmed to attract nonexistent Republican support. The consequences of this caution are still with us."


Newt Gingrich is as responsible as anyone for creating the toxic atmosphere. In the Reagan era, he urged Republicans to “raise hell” and advised them to refer to Democrats not as “my dear friend and colleague” but as “radical, sick, pathetic, corrupt and traitor.” This demonization, baked to perfection by Donald Trump, coarsens the political atmosphere far more than the existence of policy-based partisan disagreements. It is also more easily remedied.
Our ideologically segregated parties should use political power to accomplish objectives promised in campaigns and then let voters decide if the party has earned the right to govern. True, this approach could result in sweeping policy changes, but voters would then have clarity about whom to hold responsible for governing successes and failures.