I’ve read many articles since the Democrats took over the House and the Senate calling on them to make nice with the Republicans in the interest of bipartisanship. The Repubs are complaining that the Dems are fast-tracking many bills in the house in their first 100 hours of control there.
I’ve been thinking about these articles and suddenly I realized that one important item is missing from virtually all of them. That is any reference to how the Republicans themselves governed during the preceding six years. I’ve been following things Washingtonian since Bush was elected and I think the Republican controlled congress was the most one-sided, partisan, bullying place I’ve ever seen. They’ve used all sorts of techniques to keep the Democrats from having a voice in how things were done, from special committee meetings from which Dems were barred to demands that only Republican lobbyists would be listened to. When the Democrats in 2004 proposed a minority bill of rights, the Republicans completely ignored them.
Here’s what I want from any pundit or blogger who demands that the Democrats must give the Republicans their fair share of power in Washington. I want them to tell us how wrong the Republicans were in their leadership in congress. They should write about the terrible injustice inflicted on this country by the Republican method of running Congress and they should APOLOGIZE for it. If they can do that, then I’ll listen to their requests for shared power. But they’re acting like this initial flurry of activity by the Democrats has no historic precedent. That’s wrong and it insults my intelligence and my ability to remember the recent past.
And the same goes for the writers telling us about the strident anger that Democratic bloggers and writers are expressing. Some people are shocked that there’s so much bitterness on the liberal side. Again, these articles don’t mention the terrible things that Republican talk-radio hosts, bloggers, and their elected leaders in Washington have said about liberals for years, nay decades. Let them apologize for that before they comment on how strangely angry progressives are.
Every so often as I’m scanning the radio dial, I’ll find myself listening to Rush Limbaugh. I always make a bet with myself to see how long it takes before he says something insulting to me and my kind. And it’s always within 30 seconds. So if those on the right want to know how to work with, speak to, get respect from Democrats, let them start by changing themselves.