From David Broder’s April 12 column, “The need for bipartisanship.”:
“It looks like perfect political symmetry - party-line voting in Congress on the first key pieces of Barack Obama’s agenda (on the budget), matching a deep partisan divide within the electorate in judging his performance as president.” And, …“it may be wrong to conclude…that the center has fallen out of American politics…”
Where to begin with the factual errors? Symmetry means correspondence in size, form and arrangement. The party-line vote was not symmetrical, it passed with the majority Democratic vote and without a single Republican vote. That’s the opposite of symmetry. The “deep partisan divide within the electorate” is no such thing. To divide means to separate into halves. Obama’s election by the electorate was with an overwhelming majority and his approval rating is around 60% or better, much more than half.
There is no deep partisan divide, the majority of the electorate are judging Obama’s performance as president with approval. And it would indeed be wrong to conclude that the center has fallen out of American politics. The 60% approval rate for Obama includes the center, which is 50%. Simple arithmetic will show Broder that 60% is greater than 50%.
“This year, not a single Republican in the House or Senate voted for the Democratic budget resolution and not a single Democrat endorsed the Republican substitute”
That’s easy to understand, because there was no Republican substitute.
“The Republicans denounced the deficit-spending envisaged by the Obama-endorsed budget and decried the Democrats habit of voting down every Republican amendment as if none of the GOP ideas could possibly have any merit.”
Broder doesn’t mention that the Republicans voted unanimously to turn down every Democratic proposal, only the Democrats get admonished for doing that. And, there is no mention of Republican hypocrisy in decrying deficit spending which has been the Republican’s policy for the last eight years. And, the Democrats voted down every Republican amendment as if none of the GOP ideas could possibly have any merit because none of the GOP ideas could possibly have any merit. Look at what the last eight years of Republican ideas have gotten us, the Iraq war, massive deficits, and the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Those ideas have no merit.
“A separate Pew poll found that since January, the percentage of voters who think that Democrats and Republicans in Washington are bickering more than usual has grown by 14 points, with a similar trend on the question of whether the country is more politically divided than in the past.”
The Democrats are not bickering, they‘re in majority agreement, it‘s the Republicans who are bickering with the Democrats. And, again, a majority of Democrats in congress and a 60% approval rating for Obama does not show that the country is more politically divided than in the past. In fact, it shows the opposite.
“All this suggests the notion that Obama’s election marked a change for the better in the political environment was as fanciful as Michigan State’s chances against the mighty North Carolina Tar Heels.”
It doesn’t matter what these two teams chances are, the political environment is demonstrably better with Obama’s election in that it got the godawful Republicans out of power, and it wouldn’t have mattered had either Michigan State or the Tar Heels won the election, they would have been better at running the country than the Republicans.
“These political independents are now as numerous as self-identified Republicans and are closing the gap on Democrats.”
If there are now as many independents as Republicans, that shows that they no longer want to be Republicans, and closing the gap still doesn’t beat the Democratic majority.
“…the independent voters make up the swing vote in almost every contested election - including the presidential race.”
This proves that rather than “closing the gap on the Democrats” that the independents actually voted for Obama, as according to Broder’s reasoning, he wouldn’t have been elected.