Less Partisanship? No. More.

From the FEBRUARY 21, 2007 issue of The Political Junkies.net              

Column No. 138  Steven Jonas, MD, MP

Within the last month at least two of the public officials putting their hats in the ring for the Presidency have stated their principal reason for doing so was “to end the partisanship of the current era.”  “People want,” we were told, “a coming together in Washington to face the real problems of the nation and solve them together.”  This is what, it was averred, what the voters were voting for last November. 

One of these worthies was Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, a Republican.  (He may well be best known for his highly self-publicized and very successful personal journey to major weight-loss.  It happens that with another hat on I write professionally about weight-loss.  Success comes hard.  The Governor is to be commended.)  The other was Senator Barack Obama.  Now Sen. Obama has been spoken of by senior faculty at the Harvard Law School as the brightest person ever to have attended it.   

Within a couple of weeks of his announcement of his “exploratory committee” he was already changing that tune, in preparation for his formal announcement of “I’m doing it,” which came on Feb 10 at the long-time home of Abraham Lincoln in Obama’s home state of Illinois.  (Too bad the calendar didn’t work out so that Obama could have announced from Springfield, on Lincoln’s Birthday.  But Saturday is a much better day for getting featured [again] on the Sunday TV-talk shows than Monday is.)  Huckabee on the other hand, is, for the time-being at least sticking to his “all we need is an end to partisanship” theme.  I guess he just feels that repeating the new Republican mantra of “let’s all be like Reagan and promote small government, lower taxes, a strong national defense, and make our country safe” isn’t going to wear too well when they are going to have the Bush record hung around their necks in 2008, that is if the Democrats are smart enough to do so. 

“Partisanship” and “bi-partisanship” have two sets of meanings.  There is legislative partisanship and there is political partisanship.  Since 1994 the Republicans have given the nation very good lessons in what both mean.  Legislative partisanship is engaging in such practices as making sure that the minority party on the Congress is give no significant role or input in the legislative process.  Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was well-known for bringing legislation to the floor only if he had a majority of the Republican Caucus behind it.  He never asked the Democrats what they thought.  Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist was famous for setting up House-Senate Conference Committees (the bodies that sort out differences between the House and Senate versions of similar legislation) with no Democratic representation.  President Bush was famous for never inviting the Democratic legislative leadership in for consultation on legislation he favored.  But then again he hardly ever asked the Congressional Republicans for their views either.  He just asked for their votes, and if that failed just bullied and bludgeoned them into “seeing it his way.” 

Then there is political partisanship.  Over the past twelve years or so the Republicans have given us a good look at what that means as well.  When the Clintons proposed their health plan in 1993, former Republican Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole quickly took control of the attack on it.  This despite the fact that it had much in common with a little-know national health insurance program that Pres. Nixon sent to the Congress in the spring of 1974, introduced into the Senate with a stirring speech that could have been used to introduce the Clinton Health Plan (CHP) by —- Bob Dole.  At the time Bill Kristol sent around a faxed message to sundry Republican in Washington that told them that the CHP had to be defeated.  Why?  Because if it passed that would make Clinton a shoo-in for re-election in 1996.  (I happen to have copies of both documents in my possession.)  That’s legislative partisanship. 

And of course, the impeachment attempt, using the Paula Jones Perjury Trap, took place when our nation was heavily involved in armed action overseas, in what became a successful to prevent further genocide in the Balkans (without, if I recall correctly, incurring one American death).  That’s political partisanship.  As is the constant theme that has emanated from Republicans within and without the government since the beginning of the Bush Presidency that any American, elected official or not, who doesn’t fully support his policies is, in the deathless prose of Ann Coulter, a traitor (or some euphemism for such).  Currently, one of the leading members of the Privatized Ministry of Propaganda (PMoP), Sean Hannity, on his new Sunday night show on the Fox”News”Channel, has a weekly feature called “Enemy of the State.”  One or more political opponents of Georgite policy is chosen for the honor, and given that charming label, so popularized by the German Nazis and the Soviet Stalinists. 

So we know all about both political and legislative partisanship from the Republicans.  Of course they are now in the legislative minority and have a president who has the worst ratings of any President, ever —- well, at least since Herbert Hoover, and the polling wasn’t quite as sophisticated then as it is now.  But OK, that’s the Republicans.  Why shouldn’t our side try to re-establish bi-partisanship (that is if true bipartisanship, of either the legislative or the political sort ever existed, on our side outside of the fantasies of the Democratic Leadership Council and Joe Lieberman’s brain)?  Because the issues of our time clearly have two sides.  The Republicans stand on one.  The Democrats (or many of them, more and more of them in fact) stand on the other.  Sorry folks, but there are no compromises to be had on the major issues of the day. 

For example, you are for a never-ending search for a totally non-defined “victory” in Iraq or you are for
US withdrawal by a date certain (details to be worked out).  You either believe the overwhelming scientific data that global warming is real and that human activity is its major cause and that mandatory government action needs to be taken in order to deal with it or you don’t.  You either believe that Social Security should remain as a mandatory government program or you don’t.  You either believe that environmental preservation is a good thing and requires significant government regulation or you don’t.  You believe either in a multi-lateral foreign policy or a unilateral one.  You either believe that the use of nuclear weapons should be an active part of Pentagon war-planning in the current era or you don’t.  You either believe in freedom of belief as to when life begins or you don’t.  And you either believe that the role of the Federal government should be defined by the Preamble to the Constitution or you believe, as the highly influential Republican think-master Grover Norquist does, that the Federal government should be reduced to the size of a bath-tub and then drowned in it. 

For those of you who have not memorized it, that Preamble, the most ignored part of the Constitution other than the 11th and 12th Amendments, reads: ”We the people of the United States, in order to form a more per­fect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the com­mon defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Consti­tution for the United States of America.”  Yes, the Constitution prescribes a broadly activist role for the federal government, so the so-called “strict constructionists” on the Right always ignore it, just as they ignore the Ninth Amendment, which reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be con­strued to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”  But I digress. 

Barack Obama, following the theme of his recent book, began his campaign talking about bipartisanship and “coming together” as “the American people want us to.”  It is said that Obama has a remarkable lack of dependence on issue-advisors (he does seem to have excellent planners, organizers, and advance people), on polls, and on focus-groups (thank goodness).  It is said that he relies much more on what his very sharp mind, processing information and events, tells him is going on.  And so, when he announced, his platform was remarkably partisan, in the best Democratic sense of the word.  Thus he is for: abortion rights (and against restrictions  on public financing of abortions); mandatory greenhouse gas caps to deal with global warming (which he obviously accepts as scientific fact); a universal-coverage health care delivery system by 2012 (details to follow); a progressive approach to dealing with illegal immigration; a regional conference, not more war, for dealing with Iran and Syria; an Iraq withdrawal on a timetable, to be concluded by March 31, 2008 (no foolin’); and Federal support for stem-call research.  The only nuanced position I have seen from him so far is on the so-called “gay marriage” issue.  He has nothing against it, but in the law would sanction only civil unions. 

Bipartisanship?  Hardly.  He is against the Republican Party platform on every one of these issues.  Partisanship?  Oh yes.  My how you’ve changed in a month.  Go get ‘em Barack.


Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a TPJ contributing author.  He is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author of over twenty-five books.

Dr. Jonas is also: a Columnist for the webmagazine BuzzFlash (http://www.buzzflash.com/); a Contributing Editor for the Moving Planet Blog (http://www.planetarymovement.org/); a Contributing Columnist for the Project for the Old American Century, POAC (http://www.oldamericancentury.org/); a regular contributor to the weblog Thomas Paine’s Corner (http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/); and a regular contributor to the weblog The Daily Scare (http://www.dailyscare.com/).  He has his own website for short pieces entitled “Dr. J.’s Short Shots, II” (http://drjsshortshots.wordpress.com/).

In his book The New Americanism, Dr. Jonas presents his proposal for that “new vision and mission” for the Democratic Party that so many, for so many years, have been urging it to find.  A new vision and mission are obviously needed with increasing urgency as with increasing speed and determination the Georgites drive our nation towards frank theocratic fascism.  Dr. Jonas finds the needed vision and mission in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  The New Americanism: How the Democratic Party Can Win the Presidency  is available from Amazon.com (go to “Books;” enter the full title) and BarnesandNoble.com (same). 

He is also the author of The 15% Solution: A Political History of American Fascism, 2001-2022.  Under the pseudonym “Jonathan Westminster” this book was originally published in 1996.  It was republished with a New Introduction in 2004.  Under Georgite rule, the “fictional non-fiction” scenario of this work of “future history” is, most unfortunately, becoming all too real, now almost day-by-day.  Both versions are available at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com (go to “Books;” enter the title).  The 2004 edition is also available at www.xlibris.com (click on “Bookstore,” then “Search” with the title). 

Previous columns on The Political Junkies.net

Feb 14, 2007   “The Iran War: The Top Ten Questions And Talking With God” 
Feb 7,2007      “On George Bush And Religion, II, Redux”

Jan 31, 2007     “The Iraq War And The One In Spain:
                                      Similarities That Are Ignored At Our Peril”

Jan 17, 2007    
“On George Bush And Religion I, Redux, Part 2”
Jan 11, 2007    
“On George Bush And Religion I, Redux, Part 1”
Jan 4, 2007      “The ‘I’ Word”
Dec 14, 2006   
“Exiting IRAQ, The Georgite Way, Revisited”

Nov 30, 2006     
“‘Are The Democrats Going To Blow It?’
                        That All Depends Upon what The ‘IT’ Is
Nov 16, 2006     “On Republican IRAQ Policy And Why No Grand Theft Election
                        (They’re Related)

Nov 12, 2006      “Democratic Ideas: Post-Election 2006”
Nov 2, 2006       
“The US Enabling Act, 2006, Part II: Why Bush Wanted It”Oct 26, 2006       “The US Enabling Act, 2006, Part I: What It Is And Some Comparative History”
Oct 12,2006        Democratic Ideas, XIV: Attack On Defense Revisited”
Oct 5, 2006        “Iran Nukes, Revisited” (Expanded Edition)
Sept 28, 2006     “Democratic Ideas, XIII: Controlling The Agenda”
Sept 21, 2006      Reran article dated October 14, 2004
Sept 14, 2006    
“Democratic Ideas, XII: Focusing On The Constitution”
Sept 7, 2006       “Let’s Hear It For Strict Constructionism,” V. 3, Part 3”
Aug 16, 2006      “Let’s Hear It For Strict Constructionism, V. 3, Part 2”
Aug 10, 2006      The Dick Durbin Disaster – reran
Aug 3, 2006        Democratic Ideas, IX:, “Let’s Hear It For Strict Construction (V. 3), Part 1”
 Jul 27, 2006        “What’s It All About, Alfie?”
Jul 19, 2006        “Democratic Ideas, VIII: Let’s Play Capture The Flag”
Jul 13, 2006        “Ann Coulter: The New Face Of The Republican Party”
Jul 6,2006           “Ideas For Democrats, VII: Bipartisanship On Iraq”
Jun 29, 2006       “Ideas For Democrats, VI: Attack On Defense, II”
Jun 22, 2006       “Ideas For Democrats, V: Attack On Defense” 
Jun 15, 2006       “Ideas For Democrats, IV: The Ten Commitments, Re-visited”
Jun 8, 2006         “Ideas For Democrats, III: Dealing The DLC”
Jun 1, 2006         “Ideas For Democrats, II: Why Don’t The Democrats?” 
May 25, 2006       “Ideas For Democrats, I: The Vision”
May 18, 2006       “On Conspiracy Theories”
May 11, 2006       “The Significance Of The Tony Snow Job”*
May 3, 2006         “Bush Is Not Hitler, II”

April 25, 2005       “Bush Is Not Hitler, I”
April 20, 2006      
Some Thoughts On The ‘Immigration Problem'”
April 13, 2006      
“The Georgite State Of The Union Address Revited”
April 6, 2006         “A Firebell In The Night:  The So-Called ‘Gay Marriage’ Amendment, II”
April 2, 2006        
“A Fireball In The Night:                        
                            The So-Called ‘Gay Marriage’ Amendment, I

Feb 22, 2006         “The German Reichstag Fire of 1933 and 9/11: Some Comparisons. A Revisit,
                              Part II” 

Feb 16, 2006         “The German Reichstag Fire Of 1933 And 9/11: Some
                            Comparisons.  A Revisit, Part1″
Feb 9, 2006          
A Comment On The Democratic Alchemy,’
                             Appearing In The American Prospect”         

Feb 2, 2006          
Vengeance Is Mine, Saith The LORDJan 26, 2006          “George Bush And The Doctrine Of Original Intent”       
Jan 19, 2006         
“Let’s Hear It For Original Intent (Version 2)”
Jan 12, 2006         
“A Quick Visit To Mexico”
Jan 5, 2006          
 “Why The Patriot Act, Redux: Fascism In The Here And Now, Cont.” 
Dec 22, 2005          “Why The Patriot Act, Redux: Fascism In The Here And Now”
Dec 15, 2005          “An Iraq Exit Proposal”
Dec 10, 2005          “Exiting Iraq, The Georgite Way”
Dec 1, 2005            The Future Of The Democratic Party, VIII:
                              A Politically Viable Progressive Position On The War”
Nov 25, 2005            “The Future Of The Democratic Party, VII: ‘The Ten Commitments’”
Nov 17, 2005           
The Future Of The Democratic Party, VI: An Organizing Proposal For Progressives” 
Nov 10, 2005           
“The Future Of The Democratic Party, V:
                               There Is No Middle Ground”

Nov 3, 2005             
“On The (Possible) Indictments.”Oct 27, 2005            “The Future of the Democratic Party, IV:
                                Bush, Bennett, Miers, and the DLC.” 

Oct 20, 2005            “The Future Of The Democratic Party, III:
                                First Thoughts On Dealing With The DLC.”

Oct 13, 2005           
“The Future Of The Democratic Party, II: On The Republicans” 
Oct 6,  2005            
“The Future Of The Democratic Party, I”Sept 29, 2005          “The Bush Flood, And The Georgites: New Orleans, III”
Sept 22, 2005         
“On The Great New Orleans Flood Of 2005, II”
Sept 15, 2005          “On The Great New Orleans Bush Flood Of 2005, I”
Sept 8, 2005           
“Let’s Hear It For Original Intent”
Sept 1, 2005            “An Iraq Solution”
Aug 25,2005             “Some Thoughts On The Atomic Bombing Of Japan”
Aug 18, 2005            “Why God Sent Us George W. Bush”
Aug 12, 2005            “John Bolton And The Nuclear Option II”
Aug 5, 2005              “The Significance Of The Karl Rove Speech”
July 28, 2005             “Iran Nukes, Revisited”
                                 (Expanded Edition)

July 21, 2005             “Iran Nukes, Revisited”
July 14, 2005             “The Dick Durbin Disaster” A Follow Up
July 7, 2005               
The Dick Durban Disaster”June 23, 2005            Why All Of This Repression Abroad?”
June 16, 2005            
Not Very Intelligent Design”
June 8,2005            
 “Pat Buchanan’s “What If, “III?”
June 2, 2005            
Pat Buchanan’s ‘What If,’ II?”May 26, 2005            “Pat Buchanan’s ‘What If?'”
May 18, 2005            The Schiavo Case, V: The Attack On Science” 
May 12, 2005            “Possible Explanations For Bush-Behavior On And Around 9/11″
May 5, 2005              “Bill Frist’s Declaration Of War”
April 28, 2005            “The Schiavo Case, IV: The Definitions Of Life And Death”
April 24, 2005           
“The Schiavo Case, III: Further Legal Considerations And Their Political Implications”
April 14, 2005            “The Schiavo Case, II: William Bennett And The Beginning Of The End Of The Separation Of Powers”
April 7, 2005              “The Schiavo Case And The Locus Of The ‘Police Power'”
March 31, 2005           “John Bolton And The Nuclear Option”
March 22, 2005            Of “Moolahs,” Putin and Bush
March 17, 2005           
Georgite “Freedom And Democracy”
March 10, 2005            “We Won’t Have To Worry Any More”
March  3, 2005             “Iranian Nukes”
February 24, 2005        “Going Nuclear In Iran”
February 16, 2005        “The Georgite Social Security Scam: Bases For Suspicion”
February 10, 2005        “The Georgite Version of ‘Freedom and Democracy’ ”

                                   “The Coming 2nd Civil War (Unless),” No. 6

Feb 3, 2005                  “WMD Discovered — In Washington” Jan 27, 2005                 “Comparing George W. Bush And Adolf Hitler”
Jan 18, 2005                 “The Bush Second Inaugural: A Preview” “The Coming 2nd Civil War
                                    (Unless),” No. 5 

Jan 13, 2005                 “The Georgite Concept of Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law”
Jan 6, 2005                   “The ‘Unless’ Of The ‘Coming Second Civil War’ Series; Part II”  
Dec 30, 2004                 “The ‘Unless’ of the ‘Coming Second Civil War’ Series, Part I” 
Dec 23, 2004                 “The Real Meaning Of The ‘Faith-Based Presidency;’ Part II”
Dec 15, 2004                 “The Coming Second Civil War (Unless)” 
Dec 9, 2004                   “The Real Meaning Of The ‘Faith-Based Presidency’ ”      
Oct 28, 2004                 Why The Patriot Act?”
Oct. 21, 2004                “The Cheneys’ Daughter Flap”
Oct 14, 2004                 “George Bush’s America” 
Oct 7, 2004                   “The Debate” 
Sept 30, 2004                “Four 800 Lb. Gorillas In The Campaign Room” 
Sept 23, 2004               “Fixing The Kerry Campaign, 9/15/2004”
Sept 16, 2004               “Lessons From Japan.  Part II: Successful Occupations”
Sept 9, 2004                 Thoughts On the Third Anniversary of the Tragedy of 9/11/2001″
Sept 2, 2004                 “Lessons From Japan, Part 1”
August 26,2004             “Dealing with the Republican National Convention and Related

August 18, 2004            “The Best Of Dr. Jonas”
August 12, 2004             “Some Thoughts For and About The Kerry Campaign, VI”
August 5,2004                “Some Thoughts For and About The Kerry Campaign, V”July 29, 2004                “Some Thoughts For and About The Kerry Campaign, IV”
July 22, 2004                “Some Thoughts For and About The Kerry Campaign III”              
July 15, 2004                “Some Thoughts For And About The Kerry Campaign II”
July 7, 2004                  “Some Thoughts For And About The Kerry Campaign,I”
July 1, 2004                  “Counsel To The President”
June 24, 2004               “ ’You Know me Al:’ On the German Reichstag Fire of Feb. 27, 1933
                                     and the 9/11/01 Bombing of the World Trade Center, Part II”

June 17, 2004               “ ‘The Ralph Nader Problem’ — A Re-run plus”
June 10, 2004               “Ronald Reagan’s Legacy”
June 3, 2004                 “’You Know Me Al:’ On The Reichstag Fire Of Feb. 27, 1933 And The
                                      9/11/01 Bombing Of The World Trade Center, Part I”
May 27, 2004                “On Fascism — And The Georgites”
May 20, 2004                “On John Ashcroft — And Jefferson Davis”
May 13, 2004                “Karl Rove’s Personal Political Notebook”
May 6, 2004                  “Possible Explanations For Bush Behavior And 9/11” 
April 29, 2004               “On George Bush and Religion, Part 2
April 22, 2004               “What Condi Rice Might Have Said”
April 8, 2004                 “On George Bush And Religion”
April 1, 2004                 “Some Political Thoughts For Senator Kerry”  
March 25, 2004              “Brief Essays”
March 16, 2004             “You Know Me Al: The Iraq War — So What Was It About, Anyway?
March 11, 2004             “A Word (Or Two) On Ralph Nader”
March 4, 2004               “A Firebell In The Night” 
February 27, 2004        “On Doctor Dean”

Published in: on 02/26/2007 at 2:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

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