Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wake up, Democrats. Bipartisanship Is Dead and Joe Wilson Signed the Death Certificate

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I had originally planned to compare Joe Wilson, the Republican representative from South Carolina who hollered "you lie!" at President Obama during his address on health care, to Kanye West.

In case you missed it, West is the rapper who disgraced himself during the MTV Video Music Awards by running on stage, taking the mike from award winner Taylor Swift and insisting that Beyonce should have won the award. Both have apologized: West to Swift, and Wilson to President Obama.

Wilson's apology, however, might have seemed a little more sincere had he not immediately started using his outburst as a fundraising tool. He began posting on his Web site that those nasty liberals were trying to "muzzle the American people who have been outspoken against their risky plan" and pleaded, "Will you please make a donation to help me fight back against these partisan attacks?"

I guess I missed the meeting where acting like trailer trash on the floor of the U.S. Congress was declared to be a conservative principle.

In contrast to Wilson, Kanye is apologizing every chance he gets, including a tearful scene on Jay Leno's new show when Leno asked Kanye what his mother might have said about his behavior. He's not using the fuss to tell people they should buy his records because he's being persecuted.

Good Lord. How low have you sunk when a world-class twit like Kanye West is showing more class than you?

The "partisan attacks" that Hollerin' Joe was whining about referred to a resolution introduced in the House for the lowest possible sanction for someone who committed a serious breach of decorum: a "resolution of disapproval."

The idea of even this mild a rebuke set off the usual fits of the vapors from the usual gang of right-wing pundits. Commentator Bill Kristol, for example, warned that if the Democratic leadership pursued a reprimand, they'd be "leading the party off the cliff."

Let me get this straight: The idiot who hollers out during a presidential address like a drunk redneck at a cockfight isn't "leading his party over a cliff," but the people pushing for the mildest reprimand of his boorish behavior are? But, hey, thanks for your concern, Bill. I'm sure you only have the best interest of the Democratic Party at heart.

I want to make one thing clear: I don't think it should be forbidden to call the president a liar. I did it myself during the Bush years, quite a bit, back when it was still considered the Worst Thing In The World. I just didn't do it on the floor of the House during a presidential address.

If a Democratic representative had yelled, "Bush lied, soldiers died!" during, say, the 2006 State of the Union address, the same people lining up behind Hollerin' Joe right now would be demanding he be impeached, at least those who weren't demanding he be sent to Guantanamo.

In any event, the resolution passed upon nearly a straight party vote, and I dearly hope that the tally serves as a wake-up call to the Democrats. Bipartisanship in the House is dead, Wilson's outburst was its obituary, and this vote buried it. President Obama is to be commended for trying to bring the Republicans into the tent, but the GOP has slapped away his hand every time it's been extended.

You want to look at the face of Republican "bipartisanship," look at the face of Joe Wilson captured at the moment when he's yelling at the president of the United States: red-faced, finger pointed in indignation, his pig-eyed, slack-jawed fury a chilling echo of those awful photographs from the early '60s of people shouting at civil rights protesters. Lucky thing Joe Wilson didn't have access to a police dog or a fire hose.

Fact is, when a Republican these days talks about bipartisanship, what he's really demanding is minority rule. He's demanding that his party still set the agenda and make policy for the nation after being soundly defeated in the last two elections.

Sorry, guys, it doesn't work that way. And it's time the Democrats started acting like it.


Tom said...

Where I grew up, there was a large contingent who moved north for work after the Korean war. Their children enjoyed bullying the local Irish and Polish Catholic kids, and they were tireless.

Never met one who was susceptible to reason. In no way to I mean this to be snide: ADD and ADHD, in retrospect, were pretty prevalent in that group. It was always a matter or getting their undivided attention first.

This was not easy, and I was not often successful. But they were the loudest of screamers and complainants when they were dangling from their own petards. Consequences for actions? Surely not for them!

Charlieopera said...

I find it difficult to believe the Obama administration is as surprised as you, Dusty, by Republican partisanship. Aside from the fact it (the Democratic Congress) voted for pretty much everything Bush asked for, including after they won a Congressional majority in 2006, they haven’t changed a single fucking thing regarding what happened to this economy. Forget the bailouts, forget the stimulus plan, I’m talking about regulating the mess from happening again. NOTHING has been done (see the Times this morning regarding Tim Geitner, who apparently shares something with Bush—i.e., everything he tried failed before his job on the national stage).

Now we’re deep into the “necessary war” in Afghanistan and are going to hang out for another two years in "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time."


Yep, that’s pretty much our middle-east foreign policy these days, but suddenly stepping it up in another Muslim country doesn’t concern the media with “creating new terrorists”.

Obama et al know what they’re up against. The question is can HE bring HIS PARTY into line. Of course they should ram single payer health reform down the Republicans throat, but something tells me they’re going to do what they usually do … which is take five giant steps backward and come up with a watered down version of “health reform” the insurance companies will be very comfortable with. Then (once again), there’s no excuse for DEMOCRATIC failure(s). Or are you going to blame an insignificant turd like Joe Wilson if/when that happens?

In the end, it’ll be Democrats who kill genuine health reform (not Republicans). Republicans were never going to bend an inch. “Yes we can” is in deep shit right now. Joe Wilson might help Obama, but I doubt David Letterman will.

Republicans, Democrats … different shades of the same bullshit.

Nader in 2012.

Unknown said...

Seems to me that by calling Kanye a "jackass," the president was more severe with a rapper who didn't personally offend him than with Wilson who did. Why is that? Because Wilson is a Republican and he still hopes to court the GOP? I say he should just accept that the love isn't reciprocal.

Gerard said...

Has anyone been reading Knucksline? I like it.

Madam Backslash said...

Tom, I'd just like to point out that not everyone with ADD/ADHD is a bully.

Some of us work hard to combat bullying, and are appalled by Joe Wilson's behaviour.

Anonymous said...

Tom, I'd just like to point out that not everyone with ADD/ADHD is a bully.

Some of us work hard to combat bullying, and are appalled by Joe Wilson's behaviour.

Charlieopera said...

Gerard, send me your email so you can get Knucksline updates from "the Doc" (my right wing buddy who butchers me after each new post--about twice a week).

Did Obama call Kanye a jackass?


Now I wish he'd call some of the deadweight in his party out for blocking healthcare reform. He doesn't need the Reps. He has 60.

Rob Flumignan said...

But will the Dems wake up? I have my serious doubts. Seems like we're stuck in this two-party system between the ignorant, foaming at the mouth right and the milquetoast left.

Never before have I honestly thought moving to another country might be a good idea.

Charlieopera said...

Hang in, Rob ... Ralph Nader needs you in 2012!