Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ignore Bullshit Calls For An Imaginary Consensus

You can't compromise with people who want you dead.

Ed Kilgore at Political Animal:

I can’t imagine that Jon Huntsman’s strangely anachronistic call for non-partisanship on behalf of the “No Labels” organization at WaPo today is going to strike many chords. Huntsman’s plea to his own party for a less stridently ideological message and agenda during his wildly unsuccessful 2012 presidential campaign didn’t exactly win over the GOP. But more importantly, he doesn’t seem to understand that getting leaders of the two parties together to embrace extremely general goals for the country would leave them a million miles away from practical cooperation.


Trouble is, Republicans by and large think “creating 25 million jobs in the next 10 years” should begin by radically reducing benefits under “Social Security and Medicare,” which is how these programs would be “secured,” and how we would achieve a “balanced budget.” Democrats by and large think insisting on a “balanced budget” any time soon would make “creating 25 million jobs” impossible. They also tend to think the path to a “balanced budget” inevitably involves a stronger public role in health care to hold down costs, a strategy which Republicans almost universally reject not only as unworkable but as a direct threat to both economic growth and essential liberties. How does one sit down and work out a “national agenda” for reaching common goals when the two parties diverge so fundamentally on the very basics of how these issues fit together?

As I’ve argued in the past, a “split the difference” approach to economic, fiscal, health care and energy issues, even if it could happen, would produce an incoherent agenda arguably worse than a tyranny of either party.

Despite a decisive election victory and Democratic control of Congress (including a super-majority in the Senate), Obama reached out repeatedly to the opposition and had his hand repeatedly slapped away. And while some of that triumph of partisanship reflected a strategy of obstruction by the GOP, a great deal of it represented genuine differences of opinion and principle on how to achieve common goals. Just asserting that unity will be achieved when people of good will desire it is not only naive and obtuse, but an insult to those in a divided country who are trying to offer a clear path ahead.
Repugs think compromise is surrender and consensus is for suckers. Repugs respect power and the threat to use that power violently.  I swear, Obama would get more cooperation from congressional repugs if he implemented his domestic agenda by exercising the "unitary executive" power that Smirky/Darth used to kill 10,000 Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And threatened to spend billions in corporate campaign cash to take out every repug congress critter who so much as uttered a peep in protest.

Power and violence. That's what they respect. That's the only thing they respect.

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