Friday, February 13, 2009

How long till Obama gives up on his "post-partisan" folly?

From the London Financial Times:

President Barack Obama suffered the fourth high-profile withdrawal of a key nominee on Thursday when Judd Gregg, a Republican senator for New Hampshire, stepped aside as commerce secretary candidate, citing “irresolvable” policy conflicts.

Mr Gregg, who was to be the third Republican in Mr Obama’s cabinet, cited policy differences over the $789bn (£552bn) fiscal stimulus, which remains likely to be passed in the next two days, and on which the senator abstained when it came to a vote this week.

Mr Gregg also cited a turf battle with the White House over the US decennial census. After protests from minority groups, who did not want to see a Republican in charge of the census, Obama officials had established joint White House control over it.

The New Hampshire senator, who once voted to abolish the commerce department, had also been bitterly attacked by Republicans from his home state for having accepted a position in a Democratic administration.


Thursday’s announcement also represents a setback for Mr Obama’s bipartisan aspirations. Despite reaching out to Republicans on Capitol Hill, the president secured the support of only three out of 218 for his fiscal stimulus. Mr Gregg, whose withdrawal seems – at least partly – prompted by outrage from fellow Republicans, is likely to oppose it when it comes to the final vote.

More here.

If President Obama's dream of a "post-partisan" nation seemed like a fool's errand a few years back when the Republicans seemed on the brink of ushering in an era of permanent one-party rule, it's even more absurd today: the GOP, now a charred husk of what it once was, has galvanized itself around its dead-ender psychotic core. That is, all that the politically weak Republican Party has left in its bag of tricks is hate and anger. Extremists are calling all the shots these days. Elected Republican officials live in fear of Rush Limbaugh's Caesar-like downward pointed thumb.

For many years now, Republicans have had great distaste for working with Democrats and liberals, who they regard as traitors. But today, it is simply impossible for the GOP to embrace bipartisanship. Their sole reason for existence is to oppose the Democrats. No matter what the cost. They'd rather the nation lie in ruins than work with the majority party.

So it's no surprise that Senator Gregg opted for the better part of valor. And by "valor," I mean cowardice. The right-wing faithful were ready to disembowel him. The President should just give up on this "post-partisan" bullshit. It just won't work. You can't cooperate with people who refuse to cooperate. I mean, has anybody wondered why the Democrats in the Senate need sixty votes to get anything passed? They've got the majority, after all. The reason is that's what's needed to override a filibuster: that is, Senate Republicans filibuster everything now. Everything. Everything. It's not that they're simply voting against Democrat policy; it's that they're using an extreme legislative tactic to stop every single bill the Democrats bring up for a vote. Fuck man, remember when the Democrats were threatening to filibuster a single Republican judicial nominee? Senate Republicans went nuts and were poised to destroy the time-honored, but relatively seldom used Senate rule. And for some strange reason, now that they're in the majority, Senate Democrats don't seem to give a fuck about recent history.

Whatever. The bottom line here is that Republicans are crazy. And you can't work with crazy people. And if you try, all they'll do is fuck everything up. The President needs to learn this, like yesterday. Or he's fucked. And so are we.