alien & sedition.
Monday, January 22, 2007
  Lesson #475 in Not Taking Advice from Your Enemies

Demosthenes wonders what the hell Frank Luntz is doing on the front page of the Huffington Post. Good question. Why should a liberal site waste bandwidth hosting a weaselly screed on 'bipartisanship' from the Republicans' master of focus-group-tested political nastiness?
The only reason he's preaching conciliation is that he knows that liberals tend to respond well to that sort of thing, knows the press likes their Dems fluffy, cute, and conciliatory instead of akin to those mean, hard-edged Republicans, because it makes for a better story, and knows that if they do so, they'll get eaten alive by the employers he really makes money from.
I haven't been alive long enough to see the House change hands more than twice, but I imagine it's always funny to watch the sudden reversal in complaints about majority bullying. That kind of silliness is probably just par for the course.

But Demosthenes is right that Democrats have a particular vulnerability to the 'bipartisan' bug. Consensus is a liberal value. It's become a cliche that progressives win by uniting Americans whereas Republicans win by dividing them. So we have to at least maintain the political appearance of inclusion. But, as I've written before, broad consensus is not the same as total consensus. Progressives need to remember to be united around our values, which are majority values. If Republicans want to support those values - as they did in large numbers during the first 100 hours - then we should welcome them. But 'bipartisanship' for the sake of bipartisanship is just another word for getting suckered.

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