Matthew Albright (Engagement Editor at the NJ) pens a piece today asking Does Delaware still want politicians who compromise? The answer is, of course we do. There are a few who don’t see it, but in the main we get it. But I want to carefully read Albright’s piece. Then read this piece on Mitt Romney running for Senate in Utah. Do you see it?
Romney gets to speak about shutting down the government if he can’t get the fiscal responsibility or repeal of Obamacare he wants to deliver. Romney gets to fly the flag for what passes for GOP principles these days and he gets to promise No Quarter. No one asks him for compromise or bipartisanship or doing the work for government to run.
There are a few Democrats who are typically speaking to Democratic principles when you hear them. Elizabeth Warren or Sherrod Brown come to mind immediately. These Dems typically speak and work from their Democratic values and principles, which is good, because we need more Dems to speak like this. But in the main, when we get media thinking about Dems, we see them calling for cooperation and for responsibility. It’s how the narrative dries in. The GOP gets to stick with principles and gets to be incendiary about that, while Dems are expected to be the good kids — giving on the principles part in order to get the government to operate.
Democrats — the ones that I hear at any rate — are not asking for less compromise. They are asking for more of their principles and values to show up at the negotiating table. All too often bipartisanship moves Democratic principles and values to the right, which means that our voters get very little to show for supporting the Dems that ask us to vote for them. It’s hard right now since the Dems are not in power. But with so many Dems working to get them back into power, it is not unreasonable to help us by bringing our values and principles to the table NOW.
Five Thirty Eight tracks congressional voting records in the Trump Era and our delegation is doing OK. Elizabeth Warren does better. But this is tracking the rate at which a Senator or Representative votes with the White House position, which I admit is not definitive.
Missing the opportunity to leverage a budget to get DACA protections counts as compromise. It was compromise at the expense of young people that some of these Democrats made promises to. Rolling back decent portions of Dodd-Frank was certainly bipartisanship but it was not compromise. Compromise would have narrowed that bill to the thing they want to claim they wanted to fix — burden on small banks — instead of the broader regulatory repeal they did here. This did nothing to toughen the line that needs to be drawn, that banks can never ask a taxpayer for a bailout again. And here in Delaware, we continue to live with the overhang of the mortgage crisis and this bill certainly did not help that problem at all. Don’t get me started on prescription drugs. Or voting down the public option.
But think about this for a second. If Dems control a veto-proof majority in 2019 and take a vote to just roll back the GOP tax scam, which our of delegation votes Yes?
What Democrats want are people who will show up to help fight for solutions to their problems and their issues. We want to hear about those solutions and we want people to show up to fight for them. We’re fairly tired of hearing about bipartisanship, because it is the solutions and fight for real people that is too often lost in the effort to get the bipartisan stamp. Republicans, of course, are not asked for bipartisanship. We have already internalized that they show up for their “principles” which means that they are working issues that are beneficial to their fairly narrow ideological interests. It is damn near common wisdom now that it is the GOP that has broken government.
It is fair to say that we’re tired of having to be responsible for bipartisanship when we’re the only ones being held accountable to it. I don’t remember seeing the NJ take the local GOP to task for not helping to fix the budget’s structural issues last Session. (And there may have been one — I remember lots of admonishments to the GA as a whole to get their act together). Somehow Democrats are meant to speak to everyone, while we accept that the GOP keeps narrowing their messages.
Democrats are well aware of their responsibilities to make Government work. It is well past time that the GOP (and their interests) got the same messages and pressures towards bipartisanship and less adulation (and accomodation!) for their “principles” and ideological interests. We might actually get a government that not only works, but works for a broad section of regular people.