As are all retiring (or retired) politicians and Beltway pundits preaching the same real but seriously misguided lament about the worse-than-usual hyper-partisanship and gridlock currently running rampant in Washington DC.
If they were really genuine in their beliefs, they should be rallying around President Barack Obama, because (smears from certain Fox News “Democratic” pollsters aside notwithstanding) no politician in modern history has done more to attempt, sometimes painfully, to “walk the walk” in terms of genuinely seeking a bipartisan working relationship with politicians of all stripes. In fact, it is something that he has actually been preaching from a national stage since 2004 and that served as the essence of his campaign in 2008.
What organizations and people like Americans Elect obscure and/or fail to recognize and point out is that the hyper-partisanship and gridlock that we have seen and experienced since 2008 have been the result of tactics engaged in almost exclusively by members on the Republican side of the aisle, as well as the Tea Party machine that has largely been financed by wealthy right-wing corporate interests with a stake in stopping any kind of progressive reform in this country dead in its tracks.
President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have, at virtually every turn, bent over backwards – in the name of accomplishing significant reforms on health care, the financial industry, immigration, and climate change – to attempt to win over Republicans, including some who spearheaded similar reform efforts in the past. Time and time again, however, they have had their hands bitten off (actually, more like torn off), either because of the Republican members’ own craven hypocrisy, their sick desire to see President Obama “fail” or their plain, simple fear of being devoured whole by the Republican Tea Party machine in the next election. Even so-called “moderate” Republicans like Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Richard Lugar (R-IN), all of whom have shown themselves to be sensible and open-minded in the past, have, on nearly every occasion since 2009, closed ranks with their leadership to obstruct President Obama’s agenda, refusing to cooperate in any way, shape, or form with him and with the Democrats in Congress. Of particular note has been retiring Senator Snowe, who some have even suggested would be potentially good for an Americans Elect ticket, despite the fact that she is actually emblematic of the dysfunction that has plagued Washington DC since 2009 and is definitely not the solution to it.
With this in mind, what exactly does Americans Elect hope to achieve by putting together a Democratic-Republican ticket that we the people would be unable to achieve in the current political system? To anybody on the right, the concept of a Republican even considering cooperating with a Democrat has been so reviled by their radical propagandists and activists, it’s practically considered heresy and/or treason; they simply wouldn’t trust any Republican actually running in a combined national ticket for the WH. Also, since the Republican Tea Party machine doesn’t believe in any kind of progressive reform, anybody elected via Americans Elect is going to have the face the same obstructionist mentality that President Obama has had to deal with since he was elected, and will likely have just as much luck in actually getting substantial legislation through the buzz-saw Congress has become.
In short, Americans Elect might sound like an interesting and in some ways enticing concept on some level, but the problems they seek to solve by working to elect a bipartisan ticket could be more readily solved by simply recognizing and supporting politicians and candidates who genuinely believe in working together to govern the country and improve the lives of its citizens, and opposing those who do not.
The fact that Americans Elect and its supporters seem to ignore President Obama’s effort to govern in a (much) more bipartisan fashion than modern Presidents (especially George W. Bush) while continuing to pitch the same “both sides” false equivalency meme suggests to me that they are either not as aware of the current political reality as they pretend to be, are hopelessly brainwashed by the Beltway punditocracy, or are simply pushing their own enigmatic and questionable agenda. I also have to ask: where were they during the previous eight years when George W. Bush, flush from “victory” in a highly questionable election, decided to be a “divider not a uniter” and practically made Republican hegemony the law of the land? Where were they when Newt and his “GOPAC Zombies” blew into town in 1994-1995?
As with the Tea Party, they may have had a legitimate point about something or other years ago, particularly during George W. Bush’s (P)residency, but the fact is they’re late and they’re blaming the wrong people for problems that extend far beyond the current situation in Washington DC.