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Framing the framing about the framing

vastleft's picture

At the risk of unleashing an Ice-nine-scale attack of meta-ness, here is how I broached the topic of bipartisanship with the folks at Democratic Underground...

Let's talk about Obama, Hillary, and "Bipartisanship"

For the record, I'm not trying to start a flame war.

But I'm going to talk honestly and share three links (at the end) I'd like you to check out.

Put simply, this talk about "bipartisanship," "post-partisanship," and "reaching across the aisle," has got to stop.

Pop quiz: who said these things in the wake of the 2006 Midterm election?

"...we need to put aside our partisan differences"
"The election said they want to see more bipartisan cooperation."
"The truth of the matter is, the American people are sick of the partisanship and name-calling."

Hint: he lives across the street from 1599 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Gosh, isn't that the funniest coincidence you ever heard? The very second the Democrats get a seat at the table of national politics, it's time for us to chill out and not raise a fuss. Better that we get cozy with today's ruthless, corrupt, incompetent, and valueless GOP.

And two Democrats who would like to move into that Penn. Ave. home are regurgitating this Kumbaya talk.

Hillary Clinton and "across the aisle" have become virtually synonymous, as have Obama and "post-partisan" and "bipartisan." Except when it's Hillary who's being synonymous with "bipartisanship."

Go ahead and love and support whichever candidate you want, but please push back on any Democratic politician when she or he fuels this vapid and destructive meme.

What's so bad about bipartisanship? Please check out the following:

  • Blogger Digby on "Bipartisan Zombies"
  • Blogger Lambert on Obama's deep embrace of bi-partisanship/post-partisanship
  • Yours truly, Blogger Vastleft, in all my video beauty (well...) arguing why bipartisanship is not the answer to the cancer that's devouring our Constitution, and citing a Washington Monthly quote that should be taped to your wall

Before the flaming (if any) begins, let me note following:

Though her handling of this topic and general embrace of so-called "centrism" within today's rightwing framing seriously disappoint me, I am impressed with her strength as a campaigner (if for a less-progressive agenda than I would prefer), and I will strongly support her candidacy against any Republican or Independent.

Though his handling of this topic and church-state issues seriously disappoints me, I'm not uncharmed by the bright and charming Obama, and I will strongly support his candidacy against any Republican or Independent. From experience, I will add that I'm shocked at the quality of debate by his advocates/defenders. Obama will be a better politician if he's not protected by a "cult of personality" shield, and if he has to answer for the disconcerting implications of some of his rhetoric.

If like me, you'd prefer to have a debate instead of a flame war, let's please discuss the issue at hand -- whether bipartisanship is a destructive meme, something we should strike from our vocabulary -- rather than dredging up the old Ronnie Hawkins tune "Who Do You Love?"

The topic at hand isn't who the awesomest candidate is, or whom you should vote for. It's the importance of properly framing the challenge that lies ahead, restoring America's ability to function as a fair and just nation, something that cannot be done in partnership with the soulless souls who ushered in torture and ushered out habeas corpus.

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intranets's picture
Submitted by intranets on

I am struck by the regularity I am now encountering the "I support any of the top three". Is the goal here to make everyone down with that pledge so that everyone has to swallow a bitter Hilary national campaign? It seems to me like the DLC came up with this tactic knowing that the voting machines will show one clear winner. (I'll note that one candidate stands to spend billions more on defense than the other two).

Also, it seems insane if you are "Party over all other" type people, why is it so hard to say, I will support any candidate that is chosen through the primary process? Why do you have to go out of the way to say "top three"? It's an un-necessary slight on other candidates and a strengthening of the party versus legitimate third party / outsider pressures on an already entrenched pre-decided power structure.

It is ironically sending the message that the "top three" represent the usual suspects and saying it seems to thumb your noses at people like a Howard Dean candidacy (back in the day before the media torpedoed him).

Wouldn't it be more powerful to say any Democrat is better than the existing Conservative Movement? Rather then explicitly saying "top three"?

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

KISS (keep it simple stupid) the issue:

• Why are Americans paying twice as much for medications than any other country in the world?
• Why was a convicted felon (Scooter Libby) pardoned, and why are corporations (telecoms et all) being given “amnesty” before they face a single day in court?
• Who is going to pay for the debt we incurred in the Iraq and related wars?

Then repeat, as it take more than one hammer blow to drive the stake, through the chest, and into the heart. Just think of the Conservative Republicans as Vampires, and the voting public as folks who are uninformed about our long toothed friends sitting just across the isle.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

They say in Harlan county,
There are no neutrals there.
You'll either be a Union man,
Or a thug for J. H. Blair

Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?

No bipartisanship

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

It was written by Brad Blanton of Virginia after the 2006 election ~ and it still applies imo.

The election is over, the results are now known.
The will of the people has clearly been shown.
We should show by our thoughts and our words and our deeds
That unity's just what our country now needs.
Let's all get together.
Let bitterness pass.
I'll hug your elephant.
You kiss my ass!

Submitted by lambert on

Eh? What more would you need? The words are what they are. Read them, and agree or disagree.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

America IS sick of this partisanship. I think we do need to come together and stop this foolishness. What I hardly ever see anyone mention is that while we DO want our leaders to work together rather than against each other, the Republicans do not deserve to be worked with at this moment, especially not the entirety of the Executive Branch, including every government agency. Torture is not up for compromise, and neither are civil rights for any minority or our civil liberties. Science is not up for compromise. Corruption, voter fraud are not up for compromise. The idiocy is that the people with whom we are bitterly partisan against want to compromise these things, and therefore "bipartisanship" can't exist until those issues are resolved, and hopefully various others like universal health care as well. But I'm willing to bet you that most people in this particular country ARE indeed tired of the bitter partisanship. It's just that the problem isn't so much the partisanship as the partisans on the Republican side.

Submitted by lambert on

Like this:

R - t - r - $ - vf - C = 0 [zero]


  1. R is Republicans
  2. t is torture
  3. r is racism
  4. $ is corruption
  5. vf is voter fraud
  6. C is destruction of Civil liberties

Seriously, when you cross off the Republicans that you can't work with because of simple, basic, human decency, how many are left?

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

'Bi-partisanship' = nothing more than a one-party system in which the rich ruling elites agree not to argue in front of the children the peasants. Why do I want that?

I think I'd prefer to have someone fight aggressively for my interests, thanks.

You can have 'Empty suit' Obama and 'Nixon-Democrat' Clinton...I'll take the guy who at least shows an willingness to admit that class warfare exists and that it's a dire necessity to do whatever we can to change a fundamentally corrupt system.

intranets's picture
Submitted by intranets on

D - w$ - PA - c$ - vf - !s = negative numbers

D = party above all other Dems
w$ = ever increasing war funding
PA = voting for FISA, patriot acts, MCA, etc.
c$ = campaign funding and corporate interests
vf = do nothing attitude about voting fraud, DREs, Republican caging
!s = lack of standing up for constituency when it matters

I'm still waiting for "timetables", undoing the FISA capitulation, those pesky whitehouse emails, something about subpoenas for Rove, Miers, etc., oversight for Blackwater raping of Treasury, rollback on Patriot Acts, PRA violations, what about making not torture "torture" illegal? what about not back dating Bush's warcrimes?

Other than bathroom sex and fondling pages, how are they really that different. I will point to HRC voting record.