Democrats, playing bipartisanship, play themselves

democrats republicansRepublicans govern with a middle finger raised toward Democrats. Democrats, it seems, follow suit, digit flapping in the breeze, also aimed at Democrats.

You see it again with Gov. Ralph Northam reappointing David Paylor to head the Department of Environmental Quality.

To hear Virginia Democrats tell it, he would have been better off asking Donald Trump for permission to speak to Scott Pruitt’s agent.

This because Paylor, who Northam said in a prepared statement “has served this Commonwealth admirably,” famously attended the Masters golf tournament on the dime of Dominion, including going out for a reported $1,236 dinner.

This on top of years of steering the DEQ away from holding Dominion responsible for little matters like what it does with coal ash, and giving free passes from strict controls on erosion, sediment and stormwater regs on its pipelines.

But this is what Democrats do when elected. Barack Obama, you may remember, wasted his political capital to secure passage of healthcare reform that had been authored by the Heritage Foundation in the 1990s, thinking that going with something that Republicans had birthed into being, there would be no way they could object, except that they did, because that’s what Republicans do.

Bill Clinton, back in the 1990s, backed welfare, financial-sector and telecommunications reforms that threw millions of people out from under the safety net, left them vulnerable to predatory lenders and left the economy vulnerable to predatory big banking, and paved the way for the mass consolidation of media power into the hands of monied elites who, not surprisingly, are wielding that power to the benefit of their radical conservative causes.

All in the name of bipartisanship, which, credit Republicans, they know that there’s no such thing in modern American politics.

Republicans are able to play Democrats even when the Ds have the White House and Congress to enact policies to their liking. And when they have the power, yeah: hawkish wars, the systematic teardown of institutions, tax giveaways to make the rich richer, economic policies that pick winners and losers based on partisan affliation.

The Rs don’t mess around. They realize that there’s only so much time between elections, and so much to be done, or undone.

And they know that the Ds, when it’s their turn, will spend half their time, or more, posturing for a public that doesn’t give a fig one way or the other.

Meanwhile, the drift to the right continues, and we wonder why.

It’s because Democrats don’t serve their constituents at all admirably, in case you were wondering.

Column by Chris Graham

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