TeeJaw Blog

What is “Bipartisanship” and Why Does Anyone Want It?

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Thursday, December 30, 2010, 12: 01 AM

Politicians, bureaucrats, journalists and some voters, talk of bipartisanship as if it were the elixir that heals all wounds and turns base metal into gold. Coming to “consensus” with one’s adversaries is said to be necessary to the formulation of good public policy.

Not all are so easily enamored. Margaret Thatcher saw that most of what is called bipartisanship is bunk. She said, “To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.” The key to Margaret Thatcher is to remember she strongly believes that limiting the amount of government control over the lives of citizens is not merely an economic or political issue. For her, it is a moral issue as well. It is simply immoral for government to get overly involved in regulating private conduct. The allure of bipartisan legislation presents a clear and present danger to liberty.

There is an apocryphal joke that gets to the heart of bipartisanship. A Russian visiting a U.S. Senate aide shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union addressed this question to the aid: “Please explain the two-party system,” the Russian asked, having no experience with multi-party democracy. “It’s simple,” explained the Senate staff veteran. “We have two parties in America—the stupid party and the evil party. Since I’m a Republican, I’m in the stupid party, and we stupidly battle against the evil of the evil party.”

“But sometimes the two parties get together and do something both stupid and evil. We call that ‘bipartisanship.’ ”

For those who insist on pursuing bipartisanship they should at least read Stephen Hayward’s recipe for how to do it the right way at The American

It’s titled Dump the Bipartisan Mush: Here’s How You Do It for Real He says, “Here’s how serious people transcend ideological differences. And we don’t need no stinkin’ ‘no labels’ badges.”

The “no labels” reference is to the idiotic “no-labels” movement recently attempted by a bunch of liberals seeking to distance themselves from all the words they have corrupted with their loathsome ideas. Both “liberal” and “progressive” usually connote a government that wants to control every nook and cranny of private action, telling us what to eat and how to think. As proof of this, one need only observe the reaction of a liberal to being called a liberal. They hate it and will usually deny it fervently. Conservatives, on the other hand, will proudly proclaim that title. The word “conservative” commands such respect that the Battleground poll by Celinda Lake and David Boaz regularly records nearly 65% percent of respondents self identifying as conservatives, even though many of those are liberals lying through their teeth to the pollster.

I don’t tire of reminding people of William F. Buckley’s definition of a liberal as someone who wants to reach into your shower and adjust the water temperature. These days liberals want to do much more than that, some of it truly evil, such as the death panels recently re-inserted by stealth regulations into Obamacare.

UPDATE: Jennifer Rubin writes in The Washington Post: So Much For Bipartisanship — A Slew of Recess Appointments. Well, if this were bipartisan it would be both stupid and evil. This way it’s only evil.

Ms. Rubin’s piece is still worth a read.


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