Way back in 1997, in the blessed days of gridlock (in Vent #63, in fact), I said this:
Both the President and Congressional leadership routinely decry the other’s tactics as “partisan politics”, and call for a “bipartisan effort to solve the nation’s problems” or something comparably high-minded. At the state level or below, things are little different.
“Bipartisan” is definitely all over the place politically, which makes me uneasy about its very ubiquity. Compared to its dictionary definition, its use in these contexts is accurate; a bipartisan accord, just as you might expect, becomes such when it is agreed to by both parties. Unspoken, but certainly implied by your favorite politico, is the notion that if both Democrats and Republicans can come to this particular agreement, it must therefore be a Good Thing. And farther down in the subtext is the notion that those two particular parties somehow manage to subsume the whole of American political belief: you got your Democrats, you got your Republicans, and what’s left isn’t worth a bucket of John Nance Garner’s bodily fluids. As any registered Libertarian will tell you in those states where the bipartisan efforts of Republicans and Democrats have somehow failed to make it impossible actually to be a registered Libertarian this is a crock.
You might think from this that we may as well drop the damned veil and be partisan, and when we do, we’ll find that Sean Gleeson is already there:
I am one of the only partisans in America, if you take everyone at his own word.
I know partisanship is out of fashion. Conservatives and liberals disown it, pundits and candidates denounce it. If I didn’t know what ‘partisan’ meant, and had to guess at its meaning from reading modern political discourse, I would conclude it was a synonym of ‘evil.’ (For those of you who really don’t know what partisan means, it means “supporting a party.”)
Even partisans shrink from being partisans. A Google search on GOP.com turns up 3,000 results for ‘partisan’. The same search on Democrats.org finds 1,800 results. According to our two greatest partisan institutions, ‘partisan’ is always what the other party is. Our party isn’t partisan at all, you see, because we have principles.
Tomorrow [this was written on Monday], I’m going to the polls, and voting the straight Republican ticket. The whole slate of GOP candidates, even the doofuses. Not because these candidates happen to be the best individuals on the ballot, but because they happen to be the Republican candidates.
My partisanship is a result of the Democratic Party’s drift into “insanity,” as Dan Lovejoy charitably calls it. The Democrats in their current incarnation are unsuited to govern this country. While Lovejoy sees this as a reason to boycott the Democrats in Congressional races, I see it as a reason to boycott them in all races.
I’m not entirely convinced it’s a “drift”; I believe it was a deliberate move in an effort to well, God only knows what they were thinking.
And really, Mr Gleeson’s stance is no different from that of the classic yellow-dog Democrat, except for the party affiliation; if you’re willing to complain about him, but not about them, you might want to see about having your Consistency Meter recalibrated.
What could persuade Sean Gleeson to vote for a Democrat? It would have to be a truly exceptional Democrat indeed, and even then it’s not a certainty.