March 8, 2010

It seems that ConservaDem Evan Bayh and Lindsey Graham have come up with a solution to try to "to ease the partisan rancor" in Bob Schieffer's words in Washington DC. Have the rich white boys club in the Senate to get together for some lunch. I feel so much better now. Schieffer didn't bother to ask Bayh or Graham if it meant the Republicans would stop obstructing everything the Democrats try to get passed that doesn't have to do with paying for the military industrial complex.

Somehow I doubt highly it's going to put a stop to this -- UPDATING OUR POLITICAL DICTIONARIES....:

Josh Marshall had a very short item the other day that I've been meaning to mention. He was helping readers understand the new political "lexicon."

"Jamming it through": to vote on a bill.

It got me thinking about how we should all update our understandings of political terms that had fairly straightforward definitions up until fairly recently.

"Obstructionism," for example, only refers to Democratic minorities opposing Republican proposals.

"Tyranny" is found when an elected Democratic majority passes legislation that Republicans don't like.

"Reconciliation" describes a Senate process that Republicans are allowed to use to overcome Democratic "obstructionism."

"Terrorism" refers to acts of political violence committed by people who aren't white guys.

Go read Steve's post for the rest of the list and the suggestions in his comments section. I could add a few more of my own like "Socialism" is passing a corporate friendly bill that could have been written by the Republicans a few years back. "Medicare" now equals Medicare Advantage. "Corruption" only counts when it's Democrats that are corrupt. "Freedom" equals invading and occupying another country. Feel free to add to the list here as well. The possibilities are pretty endless given the amount of bald face lying from the Frank Luntz crowd these days.

I'm sure those lunches will put a stop to all that though, right guys? It sure didn't stop Graham from using the phrase "ramming it down somebody’s throat" later in the segment when talking about the health care bill, or from lying about the use of reconciliation -- Graham Falsely Claims GOP Has Only Used Reconciliation With ‘Bipartisan Support’.

Transcript via CBS below the fold.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And good morning again. Senator Graham and Senator Bayh are with us in the studio this morning.

And, Senator Bayh, I must say you really did set Washington on its ear when you said you would not run for re-election, basically, because you said you thought the Senate had become dysfunctional. But you and Senator Graham have joined in a new effort, even though you've decided not to run again, to try to ease the partisan rancor. You sent a joint letter to Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell this week asking that they convene a lunch of Republican and Democratic senators once a month on a regular basis. Senator Bayh, why-- why did you do that and do you-- why would that work? Why would that help?

SENATOR EVAN BAYH (D-Indiana): Well, first, Lindsey Graham is my friend and we need more friendships across the aisle because that's ultimately how you get principled compromise enacted. And part of this, Bob, was informed by my father's experience where back in the day he might have philosophical or political differences but you still reach out and try to do the people's business. So little of that takes place because there's so little action—interaction among senators. We have the caucus systems. So the Democrats are over here. The Republicans are over here. They hardly ever meet to listen to one another. The only two times since I've been there where we've actually had a gathering of all hundred in kind of a serious setting to listen to one another was first at the time that President Clinton was impeached, didn't know how the trial was going to work; secondly, immediately following 9/11. And in both of those cases, we acted more like Americans than Democrats or Republicans. We need more of that. That's why I think this idea that Lindsey and I are pushing is a good thing.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Have you had any response, Senator Graham?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-South Carolina): Not that I know of. We probably should start with plastic forks and knives for the first ones-- (Senator Evan Bayh laughing)

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --to just see how this works. But he's dead right. You know we share a locker by the-- by the gym. I get to-- I've got to know Evan when-- when he announced he was going to leave the Senate. A lot of Republicans said, oh, boy, we can pick up Indiana. The first thing I thought of was, oh, no. Because at the end of the day Evan has shown a willingness to reflect Indiana values which is to find middle ground because it's in the middle of the country. I hope people respond to the lunch and I hope it will over time mean something. I know it's silly for most Americans to think this is newsworthy but it is.

BOB SCHIEFFER: But it does sort of emphasize how bad the situation has—

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (overlapping): Yeah, it does.

BOB SCHIEFFER: --gotten that you would propose this.

SENATOR EVAN BAYH: It's almost tribal, Bob. And I think Lindsey is right most. Americans probably listen to this and go, well, that's so basic it's silly. But the caucus system really is used as an instrument of control, party control. The information that's provided very often is designed to lead to a particular result. You spend a lot of time talking about. Well, my first day in the Senate, literally, my first day, first caucus meeting, we were already talking about the next election. (Bob Schieffer laughing)

SENATOR EVAN BAYH: It never stops. And so if-- if things political are constantly at the forefront of your thinking, it's-- it's difficult to make the kind of policy progress that you need.

Can you help us out?

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