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Who needs bipartisanship?

It's important, as a practical matter, to secure the 60 votes necessary to break the filibuster. But it's not necessarily important to have one or two of those votes be Republicans. As Matt Yglesias writes, no one thinks the stimulus was a bipartisan bill. They just think some Republicans are traitors.

You can think of the aftermath of the stimulus vote. Securing the votes of three moderate Republicans didn’t lead anyone to characterize the bill as a bipartisan endeavor. Instead, it simply served to delegitimize the “real Republican” credentials of the three Republicans who voted for it.

A few months after that vote, Arlen Specter switched parties, so it's not as if Republicans were totally wrong to question the permanence of party identification. The other point to make here is that one or two crossover Republicans may not make a bill look bipartisan, but they probably make the rest of the Republicans look partisan. And for the purposes of congressional Democrats, that may be almost as good, or even better.The only thing worse for Democrats than Republican opposition is popular Republican opposition.

By Ezra Klein  |  October 26, 2009; 2:00 PM ET
 
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oh and how popular is the stimulus now? How popular will it be in say November 2010? How popular will it be in 2012??

At the cost per job saved or new job started I'm thinking it would've been smarter to do two seperate stimulus plans. One for needed infrastructure and one for job growth. And if the first one ends up being the "infrasturcture" stimulus, $787 Billion is a mighty expensive infrastructure bill.


If come November 2010 and November 2012 we're still hovering around 9% unemployment, we're getting taxed more who do you think the overwhelming majority will take it out on at the polls?

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 26, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Congress would have passed a virtually identical health care bill with a wide bipartisan majority if Mitt Romney were President. Romney got his plan on a 155-2 vote.

With Obama in the White House Democrats own this plan. When the chickens come home to roost, people are going to say Democrats should have done a better job. That's why I disagree with the decision not to reach for the stars with single payer or a strong public option.

Posted by: bmull | October 26, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

A real bipartisan bill (more than just a couple of republicans) would go along way toward overcoming problems with implementation. If Democrats get health care passed with only one Republican vote, beware the reaction to mandates.

Posted by: DavidBerkian | October 26, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I agree with bmull -- crafting a bad bill in the name of bi-partisanship that is never going to materialize is a bad start. If the Democrats are going to own the thing, it ought to be true reform.

Posted by: Athena_news | October 26, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

republicon strategist grover norquist, close friend of karl rove and jack abramhoff quipped that for republicons (back when they ran the entire government) "bipartisan means date rape."

Democrats have taken the republicons to dinner - even though republicons represent a tiny fraction of the population -- bought them flowers, taken the to the movies and the opera, met their parents, chatted and flirted, and now -- they are going to have to drop them off outside their apartment and say goodnight.

Posted by: John1263 | October 26, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

The stimulus is plenty popular around these parts. It is fixing things that republicons let fester for years, and it certainly looks that with only 20% of the stimulus spent the economy is already recovering well and dandy, and by 2010 republicons are going to look like massive idjits for standing in the way of getting the economy out of the canyon they drove it into.

Posted by: John1263 | October 26, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

romney was in Mass which is about as unitary as it gets in terms of political ideology -- and romney opposed most of the provisions of the reofrm that worked so well there. Can you imagine if that plastic headed cult drunk freakazoid were president? Holy Mother what a disaster. Better yet that squirrel eatin freak hucklebee? Or shudder and wince - palin/mckane? Instead of a headline about the UN inspectors arriving in Tehran today we would be reading healines about $15 a gallon gas and $400 a barrel oil in the aftermath of the mckane aggression in Iran. And news of the draft close behind it.

Posted by: John1263 | October 26, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I am a progressive who foolishly worked hard to help get Barack Obama elected.

Who knew that he was, essentially, a Republican? Albeit a moderate Republican.

Thank God for people like Senators Feingold and Rockefeller, and Nancy Pelosi, we are not allowing Mr. Obama to destroy the Democratic Party.

You see, if Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama, and the other bought-and-paid-for Blue Cross Democrats had their way, in the name of alleged bipartisanship, they would have a meaningless 'trigger.'

What this would end up doing is force everyone to be covered by the same insurance companies who have been raping Americans for years. This would lead to a massive drubbing at the midterms and in 2012. It's bad enough that those stuck with bad insurance through their workplace will not be able to do anything about it.

As for Obama, I am ashamed I did so much on his behalf. The real heroes here are the people like Feingold, who won't put up with the BS. I will never give another dime to the Democratic Party, because it is run by the DLC. I will only, in the future, vote for, and contribute, to progressives.

The bipartisanship ploy was just that...a ploy, to make it seem like Obama really wanted a public option, but couldn't do anything about it. But, the reality...well, what president do you know of who does nothing behind the scenes to close the deal on allegedly important legislation.

Thankfully, just 3 years and 3 months to go.

Posted by: leliorisen | October 26, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

If the Democrats had 53 seats in the Senate and the same bill passed with 60 votes, including 7 Republicans, would the bill be acceptably bi-partisan?

I say we should look at what the voters decided: the voters decided to put 59 senators who wanted to caucus with the Democrats, and a 60th one joined later. So that's that. It's possible that more Republicans would have supported the health care reform bill, but those Republican Senators were replaced with Democrats.

Posted by: tyromania | October 26, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I am a progressive who foolishly worked hard to help get Barack Obama elected.

Who knew that he was, essentially, a Republican? Albeit a moderate Republican.

Thank God for people like Senators Feingold and Rockefeller, and Nancy Pelosi, we are not allowing Mr. Obama to destroy the Democratic Party.

You see, if Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama, and the other bought-and-paid-for Blue Cross Democrats had their way, in the name of alleged bipartisanship, they would have a meaningless 'trigger.'

What this would end up doing is force everyone to be covered by the same insurance companies who have been raping Americans for years. This would lead to a massive drubbing at the midterms and in 2012. It's bad enough that those stuck with bad insurance through their workplace will not be able to do anything about it.

As for Obama, I am ashamed I did so much on his behalf. The real heroes here are the people like Feingold, who won't put up with the BS. I will never give another dime to the Democratic Party, because it is run by the DLC. I will only, in the future, vote for, and contribute, to progressives.

The bipartisanship ploy was just that...a ploy, to make it seem like Obama really wanted a public option, but couldn't do anything about it. But, the reality...well, what president do you know of who does nothing behind the scenes to close the deal on allegedly important legislation.

Thankfully, just 3 years and 3 months to go.

==================================

I'm sure you will be delighted with POTUS Sarah Palin in 2012. "Progressive" my ###.

Posted by: sr31 | October 26, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

If members of one party vote 60-0 for a bill and members of the other party vote 39-1 against the bill, which party is not taking a bipartisan approach? The first is 0% bipartisan and the second is 2.5% bipartisan. A truly bipartisan bill would have both support and opposition from both parties. A bill that gets 100% of the vote of one party is not bipartisan.

Posted by: sscritic | October 26, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Did we lose Ezra? 6 PM ET and Harry made one of the bigger announcements in the process *after* Ezra's last entry. Can someone at the WaPo Tower wake him up. ;)

John

Posted by: toshiaki | October 26, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

The stimulus is plenty popular around these parts. It is fixing things that republicons let fester for years, and it certainly looks that with only 20% of the stimulus spent the economy is already recovering well and dandy, and by 2010 republicons are going to look like massive idjits for standing in the way of getting the economy out of the canyon they drove it into.

Posted by: John1263 | October 26, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

My God John you're right. This site is fantastic. I can see how our tax dollars are being wasted.

http://www.recovery.gov/Pages/home.aspx


So they're reconstructing I-40 in Albequerque and they're spending about $190k per job. Wow. I should've worked in road construction.

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 26, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

oh and overall in the state of New Mexico they've received $263,560,000 and it's led to 419 total jobs. That's $629021.48 PER JOB.

You're right. Government at its best!!!

YAY FOR THE STIMULUS!!!

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 26, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

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