David Broder, appearing on Andrea Mitchell's MSNBC program this morning, wants the public to know that "bipartisanship" is all the rage inside the Beltway these days -- as indeed it has been for as long as we can remember. What does "bipartisanship" mean? It means believing right-wing nonsense and treating it as credible:
Mitchell: I've read a lot, and talked to a lot of people, and heard a lot of debate about the stimulus package, and reasonable people on both sides -- conservatives, liberals, Democrats, Republicans, economists -- aren't really sure what's gonna work and how it's gonna work. What are the risks here in taking it all on? I mean, Alice Rivlin, who created the Congressional Budget Office, has written, importantly, that she would separate out what is job-creating, what is stimulus, and look at the bigger-ticket items down the road. Um, how do they know? How does the president know what he's getting into here?
Broder: Ah, nobody knows, because this is uncharted territory. There are plenty of smart people who purport to understand the dynamics of the economy, but as we know, the first effort at stimulus did not achieve the expected results. So this is a gamble. It's a big gamble for the country, it's much better off if it includes the best thinking that's available in both parties, not just one party.
Um, sir, WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FIRST STIMULUS WAS? It was a 100% tax rebate along the lines of the sum total of the thinking of one party. In fact, the "best thinking" of those people now is to weight the stimulus down with - wait for it - tax cuts, which would cost three times as much as the current plan because they want the tax cuts to be permanent, which is an even worse stimulus (There's also the point that the Republicans would push more people onto the Alternative Minimum Tax and actually RAISE taxes for the middle class while dropping them for the rich, but that's normal and besides the point I'm trying to make).
So, according to Broder, because a 100% tax rebate didn't work, we have to come up with a "bipartisan" approach that includes the ideas of those who prefer what amounts to a... 100% tax rebate.
This is idiocy, and suggests one of two things: either most of the Beltway is trying to protect the assets of the rich, or they actually don't know the meaning of the word "stimulus." And we are seeing this kind of confusion all over the media. If it's the latter, that's at least partially the fault of the Administration, who isn't doing the best job of explaining why exactly we need fiscal spending to make up the shortfall caused by plummeting consumer spending and private investment.
I can't wait for Broder to start pontificating, as he always does, about how he listens regularly to "ordinary taxpayers." Uh-huh. Sure.
Broder's just repeating the right-wing talking-point du jour, a skill he's perfected over the years. It's vintage Villagespeak: "bipartisanship" means "pretending we're neutral while advancing right-wing tropes."
After all, why shouldn't we incorporate the wisdom inherent in the right-wing geniuses who made this mess? When it comes to the Republican Party, the "best thinking available" -- that is, the thinking enforced by party poobahs and pundits -- can be found from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Grover Norquist.
Maybe David Broder can remind us again exactly why we should listen to them.