Barack Obama spoke about the need for bipartisanship when he came into office in 2008 and the Republicans used that desire to thwart his election platform goals though Democrats had big majorities in both houses of Congress. Or at least that is the conventional wisdom. I was more cynical. I think he and Democrats used that bipartisanship ploy to escape having to follow through on their promises.
That scenario is being played out again. Joe Biden also made a big song-and-dance about wanting bipartisanship and now Republicans are whining that they need to be part of any policy decisions, although they and Trump gleefully rammed through their massive tax cuts for the rich and other moves while thumbing their noses at the Democrats. Ten Republican senators have demanded, in the name of bipartisanship, that Biden take seriously their ridiculously low offer of a $600 billion stimulus package which is much less than the $1.9 trillion that Biden has proposed. As part of their bipartisanship gambit, Republicans are now also shedding copious crocodile tears over the deficit, the very thing they cavalierly dismissed when their tax cuts for the rich sent it skyrocketing.
This is a basic question of understanding what is the goal and what are the means. The goal should be to solve the urgent problems of the country and ease the pain of so many people while bipartisanship should be viewed as the means of doing so. What Republicans are trying to say is that bipartisanship is itself the goal and sacrificing the needs of people is the means to getting that meaningless goal. They are aided by the beltway media and insider class who have elevated bipartisanship to almost a religious belief because they know that they will dominate that process and eliminate action that benefits those who are not part of the ruling classes. The question is whether Biden will go the Obama route or whether the pressure from progressives will prevent him from doing so.
Seth Meyers takes a closer look at the bogus calls for bipartisanship.