Carol Platt Liebau: The Truth About "Bipartisanship"

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Truth About "Bipartisanship"

Radio talk show host John Ziegler makes the point about Governor Schwarzenegger that I've been making for a long time: That is, the "bipartisanship" for which he's become so celebrated has really been nothing more than the crassest kind of political surrender to Democrats in California.

As Ziegler points out, "bipartisanship" is generally a glorified term for the phenomenon of Republicans acceding to Democratic priorities. The recent "Time" magazine cover featuring Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Schwarzenegger is a perfect example: Both have been (nominal) Republicans who have governed (recently, in Schwarzenegger's case, always, in Bloomberg's) like liberals.

The reason bipartisanship has been thusly defined, in actuality if not formally, is because of the press. Note the difference between the glowing coverage awarded to Republicans who give in to Democrats -- from "maverick" John McCain to "independent" Chuck Hagel to Bloomberg and Schwarzenegger. Then contrast it with the way that Joe Lieberman -- an erstwhile Democrat who sometimes subscribes to Republican priorities -- is treated by the press. Given the disparity, where is the incentive (other than principle, ha!) for Democrats to reach across the aisle?

The MSM biases aren't really opaque: Any Republican eager for favorable coverage is well-advised to play ball with the Dems. Any ambitious Democrat had better not.


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