Saturday, August 25, 2007

Unity08: Your Grandmother's Manners and a Pony

I'm probably going to liberal hell for linking to The New Republic (motto: Finding New Ways Every Week to Betray Our Progessive Founders), but this inside look at Unity08 is too good to ignore.

As Steven Benen points out at Talking Points Memo, Unity08 is "a solution in search of a problem."

Third parties, if they hope to compete, have to offer voters some kind of policy positions. Unity08, on the other hand, is a policy-free gimmick. It's a "party" that will "nominate" a bipartisan ticket in '08, simply for the sake of bipartisanship. What does the party think about the war? It doesn't have a position. Culture war issues? Nada. Trade? Domestic security? The environment? Nothing but a blank page.

The party, apparently, believes that politicians should be more "civil." Leaders should be more open to "compromise." There should be less negative campaigning and more solution-oriented discussions.

It all sounds perfectly pleasant, just so long as you over look how vacuous and incoherent the whole undertaking is.
But running a presidential campaign that intentionally prefers process and politeness over substance and policy isn't going to do anyone any favors.

I can't decide whether Unity08 is an amazingly naive fantasy or an incredibly cynical scam, but either way, it's got the situation completely backwards.

Far from wanting less partisanship, American politics is in dire need of more partisanship.

American Government isn't failing because politicians are putting party over principles; it's failing because politicians are putting blind loyalty to an individual, obligations to lobbyists and fear of what the cool kids at the media table will say about them above party principles.

If Congressional Republicans were truly partisan in the sense of upholding republican principles and protecting republican interests, they would have spent the last eight months demanding Cheney resign so Bush could appoint an heir apparent with a chance in hell of winning the '08 election.

If Congressional Democrats were truly partisan in the sense of upholding democratic principles and protecting Democratic interests, they would have spent the last eight months in the House bringing impeachment charges against Bush, Cheney, Gonzales, Rove, Justice Roberts, Justice Alito and everyone else they can think of, and the last eight months in the Senate forcing the Republicans to actually filibuster - on their feet, non-stop, no food, no water, no toilet breaks, no passing - every single bill, until all 49 Republicans had to be hauled away in ambulances.

As they say, politics ain't beanbag. And Unity08 ain't even a bean.