Here is another one of those meta-political paeans to “bipartisanship”:
>The distinguishing characteristic of this Congress was on vivid display the other day when the House debated a bill to expand the federal program that provides health insurance for children of the working poor.
>Even when it is performing a useful service, this Congress manages to look ugly and mean-spirited. So much blood has been spilled, so much bile stockpiled on Capitol Hill, that no good deed goes untarnished.
>The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is a 10-year-old proven success. Originally a product of bipartisan consensus, passed by a Republican Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton, it was one of the last domestic achievements before Monica and impeachment fever seized control.
Sounds like you’ll have to blame Bush and the Republicans are to blame for this one. They will not allow a successful program on ideological grounds. And, even though they are the minority in the House (and very unpopular in the Presidency), they refuse to compromise.
Not so. The Democrats took advantage:
>But rather than meet the president’s unwise challenge with a strong bipartisan alternative, the House Democratic leadership decided to raise the partisan stakes even higher by bringing out a $50 billion bill that not only would expand SCHIP but would also curtail the private Medicare benefit delivery system that Bush favors.
>To add insult to injury, House Democratic leaders then took a leaf from the old Republican playbook and brought the swollen bill to the floor with minimal time for debate and denied Republicans any opportunity to offer amendments.
I wonder what the Republican objections to that bill were. I won’t find out, because Broder doesn’t care. If it didn’t involve the Democrats compromising, it’s ugly partisanship. It’s ugly partisanship even if the Democrats want to pursue the politicization of the Justice Department:
>The less-than-vital issue of the firing of eight U.S. attorneys has occupied more time and attention than the threat of a terrorist enclave in Pakistan — or the unchecked growth of long-term debts that could sink Medicare and Social Security.
That the unpopular and unrepentant ideologue in office insists on gutting successful government programs (and that his equally unpopular party follows his lead) seems like the more obvious conclusion from these matters.