Post-Partisanship Is A Two-Way Street

1 comment January 28th, 2008at 07:46am Posted by Eli

Paul Krugman reminds us that it’s not enough to have to have an oh-so-civil, across-the-aisle-reaching, “post-partisan” Democratic president to improve the tone in Washington:

Whatever hopes people might have had that Mr. Clinton would usher in a new era of national unity were quickly dashed. Within just a few months the country was wracked by the bitter partisanship Mr. Obama has decried.

This bitter partisanship wasn’t the result of anything the Clintons did. Instead, from Day 1 they faced an all-out assault from conservatives determined to use any means at hand to discredit a Democratic president.


No accusation was considered too outlandish: a group supported by Jerry Falwell put out a film suggesting that the Clintons had arranged for the murder of an associate, and The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page repeatedly hinted that Bill Clinton might have been in cahoots with a drug smuggler.


[T]hose who don’t want to nominate Hillary Clinton because they don’t want to return to the nastiness of the 1990s — a sizable group, at least in the punditocracy — are deluding themselves. Any Democrat who makes it to the White House can expect the same treatment: an unending procession of wild charges and fake scandals, dutifully given credence by major media organizations that somehow can’t bring themselves to declare the accusations unequivocally false (at least not on Page 1).

The point is that while there are valid reasons one might support Mr. Obama over Mrs. Clinton, the desire to avoid unpleasantness isn’t one of them.

What a tradeoff – we would get a Democratic president who capitulates to the Republicans… and gets savaged just as much as he would if he had vowed to wipe the Republican Party from the face of the earth and proceeded to govern like Dubya’s liberal twin. Fantastic.

Which brings me right back to what I have never been able to understand about the Obama campaign. Obama inspires people with this idea that he would somehow be a transformational agent of change, yet his avowed strategy is to work with Republicans to try to somehow bridge the gap and find common ground between the parties. How exactly will that bring about change? President Obama would get rolled, and the country would continue drifting to the right, albeit (maybe, hopefully) a little more slowly.

I want a Democratic president who will stand their ground and say NO, as clearly and loudly as possible, and who recognizes that the Republicans, as well as most of the media, are his or her sworn enemies. If the Republicans want “compromise,” let them yield some ground first. If the media wants access, let them stop acting as right-wing propaganda outlets first.

If that sounded like an endorsement of Hillary, it shouldn’t. She does understand what she’s facing, but she also belongs to the establishment, business-as-usual, hawkish corporate DLC wing of the Democratic party. I just don’t trust her to consistently take the right stand on the issues that are important to progressives, particularly Iraq, Iran, the Constitution, and the ever-increasingly concentration of power and money in the hands of a few privileged elites.

That’s why I’m still endorsing Edwards, who has a much more progressive and oppositional message, and would be much more likely to fight for actual substantive change. I still would have preferred Dodd, though. He showed far more courage and leadership than any of the three frontrunners, and got precious little to show for it.

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Elections,Media,Obama,Politics,Republicans

1 Comment

  • 1. lookkitchenm  |  May 5th, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    to our we just front yard chunk suggested

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