I keep hearing about bipartisanship. Oh, what is this fey, bashful woodland creature of which you speak, Republicans? It sounds simply enchanting—and, yes, I would love to believe it exists. But it just doesn’t. I’m quite certain I saw Mitch McConnell beating it to death with a shovel in a roadside ditch after he hit it with his car.
Honestly, the only whiff of bipartisanship I ever detect from Republicans these days is when they take credit for popular spending bills that Democrats passed all by themselves. And Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley knows this as well as anyone. But, hey, he has a grossly unrepresentative and antiquated system to protect. And the filibuster is the key to preserving white minority rule going forward.
On Tuesday, Grassley joined the perpetually wrong Larry Kudlow on Fox Business to chew the latest Republican talking points into a mealy paste, before regurgitating them into his pidgins’/constituents’ yawping mouths.
GRASSLEY: “The most important thing about not changing the rules of the Senate—in fact, you know, it takes two-thirds vote to change the rules of the Senate, but they’ll break the rules to change the Senate to change the rules because they’ve got a way of doing it with 51 votes instead of two-thirds vote, and if that happens, then every senator in the minority is not going to be protected and we’re not going to have the bipartisanship that when you have to have 60 votes, and Iowans want more bipartisanship. In fact, they’re disgusted that we don’t have enough of it already. And the 60 votes promotes bipartisanship. And the function of the Senate was to be a deliberative body, not just let the majority run over the minority.”
Iowans are disgusted we don’t have more bipartisanship? Will they give back those three Supreme Court seats they rammed through on a partisan basis after blatantly stealing a seat from President Barack Obama?
Oh, and maybe bipartisanship took a bit of a hit when a cabal of Republicans got together on the eve of President Obama’s inauguration to vow to oppose everything he did—even as the economy hemorrhaged jobs in the wake of George W. Bush’s brilliant economic stewardship. In fact, Republicans vehemently opposed President Obama’s roughly $800 billion stimulus bill, even though the economy had cratered and started to show signs of slouching toward depression. In the final analysis, Obama’s stimulus bill likely helped the country avoid another Great Depression, and Republicans didn’t lift a single crooked finger to help get it passed.
Why were Republicans so recalcitrant? Because Mitch McConnell told them that getting rid of Obama was more important than saving the economy and creating jobs.
No, really. Here’s an excerpt from Michael Grunwald’s book, The New New Deal, about the passage of Obama’s stimulus deal:
[Vice President] Biden says that during the transition, he was warned not to expect any cooperation on many votes. “I spoke to seven different Republican Senators, who said, ‘Joe, I’m not going to be able to help you on anything,’ he recalls. His informants said McConnell had demanded unified resistance. “The way it was characterized to me was: ‘For the next two years, we can’t let you succeed in anything. That’s our ticket to coming back,’” Biden says.
How’s that for bipartisanship? Trying to strangle a new administration in its crib during one of the worst financial crises in our country’s history—a crisis that started, mind you, under the diligent watch of a Republican president.
And, gee, doesn’t this all sound eerily familiar? Today, we’re embroiled in another major crisis, and Republicans are doing their level best to make it as hard as possible for our president to succeed.
Sure, Democrats could play this game, too—but we’re not psychopaths. So after the economy suffered a near-kill shot at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic—when Republican Donald Trump was in the White House—Democrats overwhelmingly supported robust stimulus measures, even though they would surely help Trump’s reelection prospects. But since they were bound to help the American people, Democrats were on board. But later, when newly inaugurated President Joe Biden queued up his own stimulus bill to shepherd the American people and the economy through 2021, suddenly all that bipartisan bonhomie mysteriously dried up.
Hmm. Go figure.
No, for Republicans, “bipartisanship” is just a warm-and-fuzzy buzzword they use to pull the wool over the eyes of their sheep. Frankly, when they use that word, all I hear is that they’re coming to stomp on both my nuts.
Also, not for nothing, the Republican “minority” in the Senate already represents 41 million fewer Americans than the Democratic “majority”—even though the two parties hold the same number of seats in the chamber. (As vice president, Kamala Harris is the tie-breaking 51st vote.) So Sen. Grassley’s much-beleaguered minority is already wielding outsized influence over everything that happens in this country.
Surely Chuck Grassley knows better. But getting the truth out of a Republican these days is like trying to find Louie Gohmert’s brain on an MRI scan. You really have to squint to see it, and even then, you’re not quite sure what you’re looking at.
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