Post-partisanship, Part Two

by: Matt Stoller

Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 15:35

And here's another lovely example.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, and Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., today introduced a bill which would provide four consecutive years of funding to strengthen existing programs already underway to foster reconciliation among Iraq's societal factions...

Shays said H.R. 5925, based on a recommendation of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, would allocate $20 million annually for four years to the USIP, which since 2004 has been working to prevent sectarian violence at the local level; develop leaders in schools, universities, government, and civil society; promote the rule of law; engage women in public life; and increase regional stability.

So is this post-partisanship?  It's a good and necessary bill, but Lynn Woolsey is helping Chris Shays retain his Republican seat where he is free to vote against real progress in Iraq.  Is this what you mean by post-partisanship?  Let's cosponsor a bill and keep a seat in the hands of a Republican instead of a progressive Democrat like Jim Himes?  There is no way this bill is passing until at least 2009, when Himes could be in office.  

Please explain why this is a good idea.

Matt Stoller :: Post-partisanship, Part Two

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Matt (4.00 / 1)
You just don't understand. If we're nice to them, they'll probably be nice to us too! And the real measure of success in our Republic is whether or not Representatives are feeling grumpy or not.

I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.

The final be-all end-all definition of post-partisanship (0.00 / 0)

i guess I really don't understand your point?

is it that the term is so corrupted, and people are too stupid to see when it is abused, that we should choose a new term to more legitimately describe when ideas are being fought on their merits and when they are not.

or is it you are upset because democrats are helping republicans get elected and they shouldn't do that (duh of course they should not, unless of course the republican is actually better then the democrat).

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

ignoring (0.00 / 0)
The term doesn't mean fighting about ideas on their merits at all.  I'm not sure where that came from.  I believe in fighting about ideas on their merits, I don't see how post-partisanship has anything to do with that.

[ Parent ]
its the original meaning of the term (0.00 / 0)
it means you are not blindly fighting for something out of party loyalty. certainly you see this?

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
Not all "post-partisanship" is equal (0.00 / 0)
You suggest that cosponsoring the good bill with Shays is bad because: (1) the bill will not become law anyway; and (2) it will help Shays.

If those assumptions are correct - which I think is debatable - then I'd readily agree that it was a poor tactic to cosponsor the bill.

But can't we distinguish between effective and ineffective post-partisanship efforts? Ultimately, the goal here is good legislation. So, if cosponsoring results in some actual, good legislation, I think that's a pretty good thing.

then (4.00 / 1)
But can't we distinguish between effective and ineffective post-partisanship efforts?

No, the entire point of this call for a post-partisan political environment is that post-partisanship is better than the alternative.  That you point out that in fact post-partisanship is value neutral concedes this point.

[ Parent ]
so you're saying partisanship is better? (0.00 / 0)
i still don't get what you are arguing against. I'm happy to concede the point that post-partisanship is value neutral, its about purity of process (ideally speaking, not cynically speaking).

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
I think we need to define terms (0.00 / 0)
At this point, I'm not sure what you mean by "post-partisanship" and the "alternative," which I assume is partisanship.

To me, post-partisanship means a willingness to discuss issues with those on the opposite side of the political spectrum, and an attempt to avoid demonizing each other.  I don't think that post-partisanship necessarily means abandoning one's core principles. On the other hand, the "alternative" would be reflexively attacking each other with no attempt at cooperation.  

If those definitions are valid, then count me among those who think that post-partisanship is inherently superior.

[ Parent ]
Here's a few questions (4.00 / 1)
Do you have a problem with the legislation Matt?

Do you think that Lynn Woolsey working with Chris Shays on a bill containing a whopping $20 million a year (0.0000067% of a $3 trillion federal budget) and that no one will notice, no one will care about, and no one will decide their vote on hurts Jim Himes?

"Let's cosponsor a bill and keep a seat in the hands of a Republican instead of a progressive Democrat" - you act as if simply because of this single incidence, A) Lynn Woolsey wants Chris Shays to be re-elected, and B) just sponsoring a bill that will go nowhere (and is thus even MORE meaningless than I've already suggested) will keep this seat in the hands of Chris Shays.

Really Matt, if I had to make a list of top things Democrats do to help Republicans, this wouldn't even be on it, much less provoke your need for an explanation.

I'm not saying (0.00 / 0)
that this is a great thing, that I'm thrilled by it, but I do think you vastly overestimate the political significance of occurrences like this for Republican congressmen like Chris Shays, that's all; there are many more damaging instances of bi/post-partisanship (like, saying the opposing candidate for president passes the commander in chief test, and that there's no problem with working with Republicans on banning flag burning) out there.

[ Parent ]
"Post-Partisan" Post Toasties (4.00 / 1)
Political "sophistication" is the enemy of political courage. The effort to seem post-partisan, in it but not of it, appeals to a few elite contributors, David Broder and no one else.

In junior high I got whipped in a little schoolboy fight in front of a lot of people. I responded in my best post-partisan manner. In front of everyone, I put my arm around the fight's winner and said, "Are you all right?"

But I grew out of that insecurity.

Seriously... (0.00 / 0)
Are we not allowed to cosponsor good bills with vulnerable Republicans during an election year? Please.

If the bill has no chance of becoming law (0.00 / 0)
then I actually think that is a prefectly reasonable position.  

[ Parent ]
Whoa (4.00 / 1)
I'm not sure this is quite the boon to Shays' reelection prospects you say it is. And while I approve of using a Congressional majority to spotlight issues that will help us in November, I don't think we should refrain from sponsoring bills or allowing co-sponsors of quality legislation because it might affect a few votes. And not that she is above reproach, but Woolsey is one hell of a Democrat. I would save criticism of her for more legitimate issues.

Post-partisanship is troublesome when it involves sacrificing principles for the sake of agreement, or if it peppers over unbridgeable divides in ideology. If there are areas of genuine agreement, they shouldn't be ignored for (dubious) political benefit.

"Post-partisanship" is a lie. (0.00 / 0)
Wasn't it on this very blog that I read there are really only two parties in America, the Money Party and the People's Party?

All politics is partisan, it is just openly so or not. The "post-partisanship" emodied in the example above is simply the Money Party sticking together and looking out for itself.

Montani semper liberi


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