Lucy, the Football, and "Bipartisanship"

Thom plus logo Biden needs to avoid the old rope-a-dope

"Bipartisanship" is the word of the day. But what the hell does that mean?

News commentators are asking Democrats on TV, as happened to Patrick Leahy on CNN this morning, "Without bipartisanship, won't will further divide the country?"

This is a bullshit question. It's also the Republican's song every time Democrats get political power; it's even how they repeatedly crippled the Obama presidency, and the Democrats repeatedly fell for it during the 2009–2017 Obama era. They need to stop.

"You must compromise your values and principles," Republican politicians say whenever Democrats are in charge, "and you must go against what the majority of Americans, including the majority of Republicans, want in order to get a vote from us." They call that kind of Democratic submission to their bizarre demands "bipartisanship."

But it's not. There's nothing bipartisan about gutting programs the majority of America's Democratic and Republican voters want just because Republican politicians demand it.

"Bipartisanship" is the roadblock to guaranteeing voting rights to all American citizens, to rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, and to guaranteeing health and educational rights. It's used as a cudgel to block regulations to protect our air and water, and to continue massive multi-billion-dollar subsidies to the fossil fuel and other polluting industries.

When they had power, the Republican's didn't give a rat's ass about bipartisanship when they gave their billionaire and corporate owners a $1.5 trillion tax cut. But now it's important to them? Of course it is: Democrats are in charge.

There's broad bipartisan support among the American people for everything from passing a massive Covid relief bill to ending student debt to building a national healthcare system. Even a green-based national infrastructure program to revive the economy and reduce global warming has broad bipartisan support at the level of voters.

"More than half of Republicans in a new American Barometer poll say they support 'Medicare for all,' also known as a single-payer health-care system," notes reporter Julia Manchester for The Hill.

The headline at Forbes, the ultimate business-friendly publication, reads: "New Poll Shows Substantial, Bipartisan Support For Student Loan Forgiveness And Other Relief For Borrowers." The article notes, "67% of respondents, including 58% of Republicans, support some form of widespread student loan forgiveness — whether it is universal, tied to income, or based on specific program eligibility. Only 26% of respondents said student loan debt should not be forgiven."

More than 80% of all American voters support rebuilding America's infrastructure in a way that doesn't increase carbon emissions, the essence of the proposed Green New Deal. Timothy Cama reports for The Hill, "The survey conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found that 92 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans back the Green New Deal plan."

There is complete bipartisan support for all of these policies and more among the American people of both parties. They're totally bipartisan.

Where this breaks down is at the level of elected Republican politicians. And the media seems to pay attention to them exclusively, while ignoring what polling shows the majority of Americans of both parties actually want.

Since the Reagan Revolution, Republican politicians have been entirely owned by giant corporations and right wing billionaires. As a result, they've consistently opposed anything that might help the American people because such aid might cause an increase in taxes on the rich and corporations to pay for it.

These Republican politicians will never vote for anything that helps the American people, even when a majority of their own party support it, as long as their billionaire and corporate owners don't want to pay for it.

Nonetheless, like Lucy with the football, Republican politicians keep inviting Charlie Brown Democrats to take another kick at what they call "bipartisanship." And the media stands on the sidelines, cheering the Republicans on.

It's time to put an end to this stupid game that Republicans and the media have been playing for a full 40 years now.

Democrats and the news media must re-frame the word "bipartisanship."

Instead of saying that something is "bipartisan" because there are billionaire-owned Republican votes for a particular piece of legislation, they need to point to "bipartisan support among the American people themselves," regardless of how the corrupted Republican politicians may squeal or vote.

Yesterday, Joe Biden had a conference call with a number of mayors and governors about his $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill. Maryland's Republican Governor Larry Hogan asked him to make sure it was by "bipartisan," and in response President Biden said that they would probably have to pull the $15 minimum wage out of the legislation.

A $15 minimum wage is absolutely overwhelmingly supported by the majority the American people in both parties. When it was put on the ballot in Florida last year, the reddest of red states, it passed overwhelmingly with support from citizens of both parties. This has also already happened in a number of other red states.

While Trump got 5,658,219 votes for president in Florida in 2020 (Biden got 5,283,367), Amendment 2 that raised Florida's minimum wage to $15 an hour got 6,377,937 votes!

Even though every billionaire-owned and corporate boot-licking Republican politician in the state objected to it, that vote by the people of the state of Florida was entirely bipartisan.

That should be the new definition of bipartisan: that something is supported by more than 50% of both Democrats and Republican voters nationwide. Forget what the politicians say or do.

The Republican Party and elected Republican politicians are not representing the interests of Americans, but instead only represent the interests of rightwing billionaires and giant corporations.

There is absolutely no reason why Democrats should pay any attention at all to their their pathetic demands for more tax cuts for the rich and fewer programs for working people.

The American people are desperately hoping that the Democrats, now that they have political power at the federal level, will do those things supported by a majority of both party's voters.

The biggest obstacle to get there is this meme that bipartisanship doesn't mean "support by voters of both parties," but only means that elected Republican politicians will vote for something.

That's wrong, crazy, and a prescription for continuing the political dysfunction that has plagued our nation since the Reagan revolution.

Democrats need to immediately stop falling for this Republican shtick, and the media must point out the difference between what Republican voters want and what Republican politicians are willing to do.

The political paralysis tearing our nation apart is not because of a lack of bipartisanship among the American people. Voters across-the-board, as the Florida vote on the minimum wage proves, are largely united in wanting government to put this country back together.

The problem is entirely with Republican politicians who have sworn loyalty exclusively to giant corporations and billionaires they produce.

Let's all re-define "bipartisanship," ignore the squeals and protests of Republican politicians, and get America back in shape and back to work.


Originally posted on


DrRichard 2 years 14 weeks ago

I think Biden is a bit smarter than Obama was on this. He seems to get it that giving away half the advantage doesn't make friends, it just makes it easier for opponents to stop you.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 years 14 weeks ago

There are "very fine people, on both sides" don't you know. Why can't Democrats just learn to accept racist, fascist traitors and to compromise their principles and morals to unify the country? This is your brain on Republicanism.

What caused the Texas disaster? Decades of Republican deregulation: "Laissez-faire run amok"

BlackKnight's picture
BlackKnight 2 years 14 weeks ago

Sorry, but I cannot read your language and I would like to hear what you have to say. Would you mind translating into English.

Thank you.

norgotoad's picture
norgotoad 2 years 14 weeks ago

During the Obama admin I was part of a economic research unit working for the State of CA. We were developing mixed and multinomial logistic dynamic models in order to generate static and longitudinal analyses of small area economic "microclimates" so to speak. One of the models we were developing used GDP data as a well studied database to determine the validity of the models. We ran some second order correlated equilibria models and they were working very well in explaining the latent dynamics driving GDP time series. When we analyzed the post 2008 econ crash data, we observed something that made our jaws drop. In 2008 and 2009 the economy became inverted. The only major index driving the economy was the financial sector. Corporate and government domestic spending was down, not to mention the consumer sector. In a healthy economy (i.e., as far back as 1949) sizable portions corporate and government surpluses were re-invested in the production (i.e., consumer) sector in order to increase the common wealth (and health) of the nation basically creating a positive feedback loop. Of course we did have to take out some debt, but that was seviced and was used to increase production capability. Education was invested in creating increased intellectual capital which resulted in innovation. Transportation infrastructure, factory modernization, health care, etc. were invested in with RETURNS ON INVESTMENT via a progressive tax system. Then Reagan happened, followed by austerity, and divestment in the commons. Well, surprise.. surprise... domestic surplus spending stopped in the US in favor of investing in foreign cheap labor. Result: we got ourselves a shiny new inverted economy. Assets are liabilities, the stock market has replaced main street, and China (who decided to invest domestically together with help of US investments NOT going to the US) now has nearly 20,000 miles of high speed rail. We have broken down Amtrack. Now, if I want to build a factory, do I want to have my workforce show up on time, healthy, and well educated who can come in at a lower price point due to NOT having zillions of dollars of loans on their head complete with a modern infrastructure, OR should I build a factory in a crumbling near failed state bordering on a neo-fascist unstable government structure (i.e., the USA)? Gee where oh where would I make such and investment? Hint hint...psst... NOT THE USA!

alis volat's picture
alis volat 2 years 14 weeks ago

Well well, Thom is calling BS on the favorite Republican game: lose an election, totally fuck-up, and act like Dems aren't willing to work with them.

I think lessons were learned concerning Obama's need to be above the fray. Remember that team of rivals crap? It has a touch of romance, but when your country is in the midst of several crises, action brought about by people on the same page is what's necessary. I just see Joe getting after it. Biden has said he would hire the experts, he'd listen, and they could leave the politics to him. I have heard him say there are enough of us to get things done; my translation of that is we don't need their asses for everything.

Dems in Congress see this Republican ploy up close and personal.

Also, President Biden is most certainly not No-drama Obama. He knows a big fucking deal when he sees one (remember he got caught on mic with that). Maybe because he has been tempered by loss, is older, or learned things the hard way, but I am thinking he is well aware of this particular Republican bullshit. Honor and respect means a great deal to Joe, and what the Trumpster fascists have done recently must disgust him the same way it does us.

Thom's excellent ideas on exposing the bipartisan farce is a real start, but I would add another element. It is the growing number of unaffliated voters. That is where we are constantly working with others outside our party. It is time to sing their praises and point out to everyone the stats. When we talk about the "American people", clarify. Let's talk-up our independent friends.

#10 Thanks for another great lesson, norgotoad. Enron actually claimed their debts were assets!

SueN's picture
SueN 2 years 14 weeks ago

The Russian posts are spam, BlackKnight, and I regularly delete them, so no point replying.

rostasi 2 years 14 weeks ago

Thanks norgotoad. Good post!

Also, about Obama and the ideas of "bipartisanship,"
It was pretty clear from the beginning that he was going
to spend his time trying to build bridges - which then, seemed
like a good idea at first, but when it was clear that hosting big dinners
with people to make amends - the very same people who would host
their own dinners to talk about how to make you a one-term president -
were not working, then why continue trying to do so against the odds?
I remember hoping that after various time-frames - after midterms ...
after the first 4 years ... and so on - that he would learn from the obvious.
Yes, Biden has the chance, but unfortunately, he is not progressive enough.
Making some headway out of a deep hole created out of lawlessness coupled
with compromise can only happen as long as you get rid of all of the people who
keep building an ever-rising wall that sits above ground around that same hole.

rostasi 2 years 14 weeks ago

Sorry to hear that Legend.
I know all too well, because I live in Dallas.

Legend 2 years 14 weeks ago

Remember as soon as any tax increase is suggested, it is called "Class Warfare".

Texas Electricity. Texas so called regulated electricity allows for Electricity wholesale sellers like Griddy. All is fine when the electrical supply is good. But when the wholesale rates go up due to shortages you get hit with the super high charges. Regulation that is totally unregulated. Seems that the Natural gas billing is the same. High bills are due in April. So they have frozen pipes to repair (every plumber is booked), water damage from frozen pipes (dry wallers etc will be booked), super high electricity and natural gas bills. Bet you are glad you moved to Texas. Do not worry soon the memory of the cold will be gone when it is 110 with 90% humidity.

A sad story about my deceased Brother in Law in Texas. His Business was killed by the 2008 Bush Depression. It hit suddenly and he had just bought another home before he sold the first home. So he had 2 houses. This was the Bush caused housing bust. Texas does not have income tax but has super high property tax instead. Brother in Law lost both houses and his wife through divorce. With loss of wife he lost his health insurance that she had through a regular job. He could not afford Insurance. Texas is a state with no medicaid because the Governor did not like Obamacare. He came down with colon cancer and died at 60 from a poorly done Colonoscopy in an out clinic. He was admitted to a hospital for a pierced intestine. Basically the Hospital just let him die. We only learned how bad it was when the hospital contacted my wife as the Emergency contact. He was gone before we got there. All of this happened in a few months time.

Legend 2 years 13 weeks ago

This is a great website to learn where your electricity comes from. Most Americans think that it just comes out the wall. Use Layers to simplfy it.


Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From Cracking the Code:
"No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through—to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann is a creative thinker and committed small-d democrat. He has dealt with a wide range of topics throughout his life, and this book provides an excellent cross section. The Thom Hartmann Reader will make people both angry and motivated to act."
Dean Baker, economist and author of Plunder and Blunder, False Profits, and Taking Economics Seriously
From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"Hartmann combines a remarkable piece of historical research with a brilliant literary style to tell the grand story of corporate corruption and its consequences for society with the force and readability of a great novel."
David C. Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World and Agenda for A New Economy