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Bipartisanship? It’s a total waste of time
Tuesday, 01 June 2021 16:33

This column was posted on May 20.


By BILL PRESS

Syndicated Columnist

One of the great pleasures of politics is being able to change your mind. No matter what the issue. 

You watch, you listen, you learn, you grow, you realize you were simply wrong about something, even something you once felt strongly about, and you change your mind.

Well, I’ve been watching and listening a lot lately, and I’ve changed my mind about bipartisanship. I used to be for it, now I’m against it. 

That is, I’m totally against it — with today’s gang of hyper-partisan Republicans who are more interested in kissing Donald Trump’s butt than serving their country.

Yes, in theory, bipartisanship’s a good thing. It’s always better when leaders of both parties work together to solve problems. It wasn’t so long ago that happened: with Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill on tax reform; with Russ Feingold and John McCain on campaign reform; with Trent Lott and Tom Daschle on power-sharing; even with George W. Bush and Ted Kennedy on education.

Nobody embodies the desire for bipartisanship more than Joe Biden. That’s who he is. That’s what drives him. He likes nothing more than reaching across the aisle, rounding up a few Republicans, and hammering out a compromise. That’s the way he operated as senator and vice president. And that’s the way he hoped to govern as president on every critical issue: health care, immigration, climate change, infrastructure.

But here’s my message to Joe today: Bipartisanship? With this gang? 

Fuhgheddaboutit! 

Those days are long gone. Among today’s Republicans, it’s dog eat dog. They have no ideas, no agenda and zero interest in governing or getting things done. Starting at the top, with Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, their only mission is to tear down and destroy. What’s surprising is why it’s taking Biden so long to understand that.

Biden should have known from day one he’d get no cooperation from today’s Republicans. For months, most of them wouldn’t even admit he’d won the election, and many still don’t. On Nov. 5, Kevin McCarthy told Fox News: “President Trump won this election.” McCarthy led 125 House Republicans in supporting a Supreme Court challenge to Biden’s election brought by the Texas attorney general. And McCarthy’s one of 147 Republicans who voted on Nov. 6 to overturn the Electoral College results — just hours after a pro-Trump mob had invaded the Capitol and sent them running for their lives.

If that wasn’t enough, Republicans again showed their lack of interest in bipartisanship on Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. For his very first Oval Office meeting with members of Congress, Biden invited a group of Republican senators who said they wanted to compromise. Yet they offered a mere $618 billion alternative, less than a third of Biden’s proposal — and never budged. In the end, not one single Republican voted for the bill.

The most disgusting display of pure partisanship and refusal to compromise came this week over creation of a Sept. 11-like commission to investigate the insurrection of Jan. 6. Let’s remember what happened that day. An armed mob of Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol, broke doors and windows, defiled the sacred House and Senate Chambers, destroyed documents, endangered the lives of House members, senators and the vice president, and pummeled and killed Capitol Police officers. 

It’s important to know how and why that occurred in order to protect the Capitol, tell the American people the truth, and prevent such an outrage from happening again.

Yet both Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell opposed creation of the commission. Even though they both originally supported it. And even though the commission plan was crafted, at McCarthy’s request, by Republican Congressman John Katko — who got everything in the deal that McCarthy had demanded. But McCarthy still voted against it. Why? Because Donald Trump told him to. And because McCarthy knew he’d be subpoenaed to testify about his phone call with Donald Trump in the middle of the insurrection.

What more proof do you need? By rejecting the January 6 Commission, Republicans have proved once and for all that they’re not willing to work together, even on a matter of national security. They’d rather protect Donald Trump than the Capitol.

For Joe Biden, the message is clear: Forget bipartisanship. Stop meeting with Republicans. Push your agenda through with Democratic votes only, while they still control the House and Senate, even if it means amending or killing the filibuster. And stop trying to get Republican votes. They’ll never play. It’s a total waste of time.
©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Bill Press is host of The BillPressPod, and author of the new book, “Trump Must Go: The Top 100 Reasons to Dump Trump (And One to Keep Him).” His email address is: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Readers may also follow him on Twitter @billpresspod.
 



 


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