Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Follow-Up on "Bi-Partisanship" (or "This is Why Riskind is a Putz")

Johnathan Riskind at the Dispatch writes about D.C. both as a reporter and commentator. When he's not just being chummy with the Central Ohio delegation, he's wringing his hands about "bi-partisanship." I recently got annoyed with him for basically taking Pat Tiberi's opinion on SCHIP and using it as his own in a commentary piece. For now, though, let's assume that his concern actually comes from within...

Democrats came up with a SCHIP expansion that passed with a majority in both chambers. Republican President vetoed it. The Democrats worked to create a better bill, with more bi-partisan support. Republican President vetoed it. The razor-thin majority in the Senate was joined by enough Republicans to override the veto. The majority in the House was joined by more than 1/5 of all GOP Representatives, but fell 13 votes short of overriding the veto.

Democrats agree to extend funding of SCHIP and tackle expansion separately.

The response?

The GOP claimed victory. “It’s certainly another example of the Democrats caving to the Republican position at the eleventh hour,” said a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).

I'm all for assembling coalitions, and the willingness of so many individual GOP congressfolk to join with Dems on this issue reflects very well on them. Mr. Riskind is also quite likely correct when asserts that health-care reform won't happen without some folks willing to break party ranks. But bi-partisanship? When the ranking member of the minority is a partisan hackhole, reaching out to Republicans as Republicans is not a virtue. Worse yet, it's not even productive.