Media Matters for America wrote:
Media Matters: Fetishizing off-center centrism
From: Media Matters for America [email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 5:41 PM
Subject: Media Matters: Fetishizing off-center centrism
To many journalists, bucking your party — like “centrism” and bipartisanship — is a noble goal all by itself. But I suspect most people recognize that these things are means, not ends.
Sure, people want the politicians to stop bickering and get things done. But, more
specifically, most people want the politicians to stop bickering and do things they want done. A single mother working two minimum-wage jobs to feed her kids might want politicians to come together in a spirit of bipartisanship — but she doesn’t want them to pass bipartisan legislation lowering the minimum wage; she wants a bipartisan bill raising the minimum wage. If she can’t have that, I suspect she’d take a party-line minimum-wage increase, even if it means a decrease in the bonhomie at Washington cocktail parties she’ll never attend.
Does anyone remember John McCain’s accusations that Obama never bucked his party leaders? He obviously said that to bolster his own claim to maverickyness. Sure Obama has and may again defend legislation that is contrary to his progressive base’s belief, but the idea that the head of the Democratic Party should buck the …Democratic Party…is silly.
A single mother working two minimum-wage jobs to feed her kids might want politicians to come together in a spirit of bipartisanship — but she doesn’t want them to pass bipartisan legislation lowering the minimum wage; she wants a bipartisan bill raising the minimum wage.
There is some ethereal meme or concept floating around out there among Republican politics that allows their candidates and Congresspeople to talk about killing the federal minimum wage. Joe the Plumber would (secretly) turn over in his grave, or under his sink, whichever the case may be. It’s ghastly to consider either lowering the minimum wage or introducing legislation that would turn the control of minimum wage over to the individual states. Lowering the minimum is jarring to everyone’s sense of right from wrong and fair play. If those who argue against a minimum wage win, then we have just stepped onto the slickest of slippery slopes. It would not be long until business asked people to work for free.
The point of this is Americans want our government to do the right thing. Whether or not the means include bipartisanship is immaterial. The vote on the stimulus bill split along party lines. So what? The important thing is that it passed.