“If Joe Biden keeps seeking common ground with Republicans — or unity, as he sometimes calls it — he’ll miss his chance to achieve his stated policy goals. Then Republicans will blame Democrats because the country is still a mess, and Dems will get slaughtered in the midterms. Sound familiar?”
I was explaining to Swamp Rabbit that 2021 could be a lot like 2009, when Barack Obama, feeling magnanimous after his historic election, reached across the aisle to find common ground and end partisan bickering (damn, three cliches in one sentence!) but smacked into a wall of Republican dinosaurs dead set on bringing him down.
“What you got against common ground, Odd Man?” Swamp Rabbit said. “We all gotta hold hands and march into the future, or there ain’t gonna be no future.”
I told him ”common ground” and ”unity” have no meaning unless both parties share similar notions of reality. What are the chances of finding common ground after two-thirds of the House Republicans vote to overturn the results of a free and fair presidential election? After Republicans in both houses continue debating whether to certify the election results even as a reactionary mob storms the Capitol?
“Today’s Republican legislators aren’t even on the same planet with most Democrats,” I said. “Where do you find common ground with such people? On Mars, maybe, or Pluto.”
“But they speak for millions of peeps who get their info from Fox News and Facebook,” Swamp Rabbit countered. “It ain’t like the Dems can just ignore ’em.”
“They can’t let themselves get snookered again, either,” I said.
I told him to be wary of mainstream media stories about how the Capitol riot has widened the divisions between moderates and wingnuts to the point where there’s a “fight for the soul” of the Republican Party taking place.
“There are no Republican moderates,” I said. “There’s nothing can make Republicans break ranks, even an attempted coup by their Dear Leader. They shrugged at that. They won’t even speak out against that vile woman in Congress who said the Parkland school killings were a hoax. They’re the scum of the earth.”
“Don’t beat around the bush, Odd Man. What do you really think?”
“I think Democrats should push for the impeachment trial that the Republicans are backing away from and, more important, for passage of that $1.9 trillion Covid relief proposal, even if they have to resort to so-called budget reconciliation.”
“But Republicans just proposed a $600 billion plan. What if they want to haggle about the price for a few months? You know, to seek common ground and all that.”
“Stressed out people all over the country are counting on the Dems’ plan,” I replied. “If Biden and the Dems don’t make it happen fast, with their slim majorities in Congress, those people will turn on them. It’ll be deja vu all over again.”
He cringed. “Dont worry, I’m done,” I said. “I’ve run out of cliches.”