Getting Serious About Getting Serious About Bipartisanship

You see some absurd standards being set for how far President-elect Barack Obama should tip his cabinet to the right. Al Kamen in the Washington Post (11/7/07) writes that if “he’s serious about this bipartisan thing…then he’s going to have to do better than his predecessors, probably putting at least three non-D’s in the cabinet ranks, or it will look much like same-old, same-old.” He then suggests turning over the departments of State, Defense and Energy to Republicans–because nothing spells “change” like allowing the party in power to keep setting foreign, military and energy policy, does it?

Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks (11/7/08) writes about “the [Obama] administration of my dreams”:

They will actually believe in that stuff Obama says about postpartisan politics. That means there wonâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t just be a few token liberal Republicans in marginal jobs. There will be people like Robert Gates at Defense and Ray LaHood, Stuart Butler, Diane Ravitch, Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Jim Talent at other important jobs.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin? The McCain adviser who recently described Obama’s “basic goal” as “taking money away from people who work for it and giving it to people who Barack Obama believes deserve it”? “Europeans call it socialism, Americans call it welfare, and Barack Obama calls it change”–that Douglas Holtz-Eakin?

Or Jim Talent, who declared less than three months ago that choosing Joe Biden as a running mate “demonstrates that the Obama campaign realizes that Senator Obama doesnâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t have the foreign policy credentials or experience to be president”?

These are standards for being “serious” about post- or bipartisanship that are fundamentally non-serious.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.