Disgusted that Partisan Politics Is Going On

Democrats are always bemoaning the lack of bipartisanship in Washington. Their fundraising appeals to potential donors, however, where they might feel among friends, demonstrate a hyper-partisan nastiness at odds with their public speechification. Consider the e-mail sent by Sen. John Kerry last week, which bore a single-word subject line: "Disgusted." The e-mail begins:

It disgusts me every time I see it. As Democrats work with President Obama to dig us out of a deep hole and build our country up, right-wing Republicans have an entirely different goal: Force his failure.

To paraphrase: Our country's big problems require bipartisan solutions. Bipartisanship fails because Republicans don't respect their Democrat colleagues. The latter comprise the one party that is wise and good and has all the answers, while the former are opportunistic liars in bed with shadowy "big, big corporate money." (Another quote from the e-mail...not just big, but "big, big.") Does John Kerry not realize that the plea for bipartisan cooperation and a more civil tone is undermined by the e-mail's rude, partisan attacks? The e-mail itself is evidence of the very thing Democrats accuse Republicans of doing.

Granted, the e-mail was a fundraising vehicle for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which -- if I am permitted to respond in kind -- sends out uniformly belligerent screeds from cretins like Dick Durbin ("Bush/Cheney Guantánamo Bay is no better than a Khmer Rouge concentration camp") and James Carville, who, when he's feeling charitable and can restrain himself from spitting venom, limits himself to calling the Republican Party a pack of liars seven or eight times in a 150-word letter.

But John Kerry? The man who has been elevated to senior senator from my state of Massachusetts, the honey-tongued Thurston Howell, the Third Back Bay Brahmin and Democrat Presidential candidate, the man who personifies haughtiness -- and I mean this in a good way -- down in the uni-partisan scrum with the Keith Olbermann and Daily Kos mouth-breathers who resemble the congregation snarling at Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate? Oh, John (as the president might address him), I thought you were above all that. Is this your idea of bipartisanship? I hoped you would be up in the church balcony next to Dustin, looking down on the little people with their humdrum little concerns.

John might have chosen his words more carefully -- if you're in a deep hole, wouldn't continued Democrat digging make the hole deeper? But in the spirit of bipartisanship, we can overlook John's momentary metaphorical confusion. When you look down your nose at the little people all day long, sometimes your eyes get crossed, and every three-year-old knows that it's hard to think straight with your eyes crossed.

So anyway, the Democrats are down in the hole, doing all the digging work with the president. Actually, they had planned to do a lot more digging, but the Slush Fund -- I mean the American Recovery Act -- awarded all shovel-ready hole-digging projects to the International Brotherhood of Hole-Diggers. So Senator Kerry is standing down in the hole, advising the digging crew on which end of the shovel to use, as soon as OSHA has released its comprehensive Review of Shovel Utilization Parameters. John would like to help, but union rules are union rules. 

But the disgusting thing, you see, is all those Republicans -- excuse me, "right-wing Republicans" -- standing up on the rim, yelling down, "You're just getting in deeper! Don't keep digging! Come on up and let's talk about cutting taxes and reducing the burden of government so private business can create jobs! Hello? Can you hear me down there?" 

John knows that these Republican talking points are just stagecraft and lies to avoid helping with the important work he's doing down in the hole. 

John knows that Rush Limbaugh is up there with what James Carville dubs "Limbaugh-lockstep Republicans," telling them he hopes that President Obama fails.

John knows that George Bush's unfettered capitalism dug the hole he's in, and if the Republicans weren't so disgusting, then they'd pick up a shovel, or -- since shovels haven't been approved yet -- the least they could do is grab a mop and a bucket of soapy water and help clean up the mess down here. As every three-year-old knows, mixing water with dirt is a good way to produce clean dirt. Unless mopping is a union job. 

If this hole is too much for the party of No, then there are plenty of other holes. The global warming hole is filled with deadly carbon dioxide. Why don't those Republicans jump down in there and start digging? What about the three-foot-deep health care hole that needs to be six feet deep to hold the pine box for the American health care system? Don't just sit around and accuse the Democrats of using a socialist shovel. 

John gets into the Republican outreach portion of the letter farther down:

I know very well what happens when Republicans get their shadowy outside assistance to spread their smears. And they'll have plenty of help this time. With the right-wing fringe screaming about "death panels" and "socialism," and corporate cronies allowed to spend an unlimited amount of money in support of candidates thanks to the Citizens United ruling, Democrats must be ready to fight.

As everyone knows, all those shadowy corporate cronies like H.J. Heinz, Google, General Electric, and Goldman Sachs are in league with the right-wing fringe tea party screamers. Everyone knows that Democrats are on the side of the little people with their humdrum lives. But Democrats are also ardent believers in free-market capitalism. They love business. Big fans.

When John Kerry says, "I'm disgusted," it has all the hypocrisy of Capt. Renault saying he's shocked, shocked -- but none of the charm.

Peter Wilson is a writer who blogs at walkingdogcapitalist.
Democrats are always bemoaning the lack of bipartisanship in Washington. Their fundraising appeals to potential donors, however, where they might feel among friends, demonstrate a hyper-partisan nastiness at odds with their public speechification. Consider the e-mail sent by Sen. John Kerry last week, which bore a single-word subject line: "Disgusted." The e-mail begins:

It disgusts me every time I see it. As Democrats work with President Obama to dig us out of a deep hole and build our country up, right-wing Republicans have an entirely different goal: Force his failure.

To paraphrase: Our country's big problems require bipartisan solutions. Bipartisanship fails because Republicans don't respect their Democrat colleagues. The latter comprise the one party that is wise and good and has all the answers, while the former are opportunistic liars in bed with shadowy "big, big corporate money." (Another quote from the e-mail...not just big, but "big, big.") Does John Kerry not realize that the plea for bipartisan cooperation and a more civil tone is undermined by the e-mail's rude, partisan attacks? The e-mail itself is evidence of the very thing Democrats accuse Republicans of doing.

Granted, the e-mail was a fundraising vehicle for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which -- if I am permitted to respond in kind -- sends out uniformly belligerent screeds from cretins like Dick Durbin ("Bush/Cheney Guantánamo Bay is no better than a Khmer Rouge concentration camp") and James Carville, who, when he's feeling charitable and can restrain himself from spitting venom, limits himself to calling the Republican Party a pack of liars seven or eight times in a 150-word letter.

But John Kerry? The man who has been elevated to senior senator from my state of Massachusetts, the honey-tongued Thurston Howell, the Third Back Bay Brahmin and Democrat Presidential candidate, the man who personifies haughtiness -- and I mean this in a good way -- down in the uni-partisan scrum with the Keith Olbermann and Daily Kos mouth-breathers who resemble the congregation snarling at Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate? Oh, John (as the president might address him), I thought you were above all that. Is this your idea of bipartisanship? I hoped you would be up in the church balcony next to Dustin, looking down on the little people with their humdrum little concerns.

John might have chosen his words more carefully -- if you're in a deep hole, wouldn't continued Democrat digging make the hole deeper? But in the spirit of bipartisanship, we can overlook John's momentary metaphorical confusion. When you look down your nose at the little people all day long, sometimes your eyes get crossed, and every three-year-old knows that it's hard to think straight with your eyes crossed.

So anyway, the Democrats are down in the hole, doing all the digging work with the president. Actually, they had planned to do a lot more digging, but the Slush Fund -- I mean the American Recovery Act -- awarded all shovel-ready hole-digging projects to the International Brotherhood of Hole-Diggers. So Senator Kerry is standing down in the hole, advising the digging crew on which end of the shovel to use, as soon as OSHA has released its comprehensive Review of Shovel Utilization Parameters. John would like to help, but union rules are union rules. 

But the disgusting thing, you see, is all those Republicans -- excuse me, "right-wing Republicans" -- standing up on the rim, yelling down, "You're just getting in deeper! Don't keep digging! Come on up and let's talk about cutting taxes and reducing the burden of government so private business can create jobs! Hello? Can you hear me down there?" 

John knows that these Republican talking points are just stagecraft and lies to avoid helping with the important work he's doing down in the hole. 

John knows that Rush Limbaugh is up there with what James Carville dubs "Limbaugh-lockstep Republicans," telling them he hopes that President Obama fails.

John knows that George Bush's unfettered capitalism dug the hole he's in, and if the Republicans weren't so disgusting, then they'd pick up a shovel, or -- since shovels haven't been approved yet -- the least they could do is grab a mop and a bucket of soapy water and help clean up the mess down here. As every three-year-old knows, mixing water with dirt is a good way to produce clean dirt. Unless mopping is a union job. 

If this hole is too much for the party of No, then there are plenty of other holes. The global warming hole is filled with deadly carbon dioxide. Why don't those Republicans jump down in there and start digging? What about the three-foot-deep health care hole that needs to be six feet deep to hold the pine box for the American health care system? Don't just sit around and accuse the Democrats of using a socialist shovel. 

John gets into the Republican outreach portion of the letter farther down:

I know very well what happens when Republicans get their shadowy outside assistance to spread their smears. And they'll have plenty of help this time. With the right-wing fringe screaming about "death panels" and "socialism," and corporate cronies allowed to spend an unlimited amount of money in support of candidates thanks to the Citizens United ruling, Democrats must be ready to fight.

As everyone knows, all those shadowy corporate cronies like H.J. Heinz, Google, General Electric, and Goldman Sachs are in league with the right-wing fringe tea party screamers. Everyone knows that Democrats are on the side of the little people with their humdrum lives. But Democrats are also ardent believers in free-market capitalism. They love business. Big fans.

When John Kerry says, "I'm disgusted," it has all the hypocrisy of Capt. Renault saying he's shocked, shocked -- but none of the charm.

Peter Wilson is a writer who blogs at walkingdogcapitalist.

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