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November 02, 2009


We don't have to go back to the sixties to find bipartisanship. As I recall, there was considerable bipartisanship during the early years of GW Bush's Presidency. No Child Left Behind was compromise between Bush and Ted Kennedy and was passed with bipartisan support. There was bipartisan support for the Patriot Act and other aspects of the War on Terror. There was bipartisan support for cutting taxes, for going to war in Afghanistan and for going to war in Iraq. There was bipartisan support for Bush's enormous effort against African AIDS.

As I recall, the Dems repudiated their positions on a number of issues, incliding the Patriot Act, the war in Iraq, and NCLB. At a certain point, they began to attack Bush on every possible issue, including issues where they had previously agreed with him.

David, some of things things you've laid out are not really accurate. Yes, there was initial bipartisan support for NCLB, Bush's AIDS initiative, and the Patriot Act.

But Democrats were well-divided in the lead up to the War in Iraq. The left was the primary opposition to the war, but they nominated a pro-war candidate for President and VP in 2004 (Sens. Kerry and Edwards).

This, despite the fact that there were many prominent Democrats who opposed authorizing the use of force. Among those who ran for president included Al Sharpton, Carol Moseley-Braun, Dennis Kucinich, and Howard Dean (I don't remember where Sen. Bob Graham stood). Then there were plenty of prominent Democrats who opposed the war from the get go: Robert Byrd, Ted Kennedy, John Conyers, Barbara Boxer, et al.

It took until 2006 for Congressional Republicans to begin bailing on Iraq as well, thus making it seemingly "bipartisan" again.

And one more note, if the Republicans were so bipartisan, why did Sen. Jim Jeffords defect to the Democratic caucus in May 2001? There are acute reasons, but moreover, we had a president who acted as though he came in to power with a broad mandate and not someone who had the humility to understand his ascension came under questionable circumstances.

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