I don’t always agree with Chris Matthews of “Hardball” fame, nor do I even like him especially — he’s enamored with the sound of his own voice and the cleverness of his own ideas, and honestly if I hear one more time about how Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan shared a collegial glass of Scotch, I’m gonna puke. But every now and then he’s right, and you can tell he’s right this time because the wingers are going apeshit about it.
Last night I caught the tail end of “Hardball” and his final bit (called, unironically, “Let Me Finish”), and he addresses something that’s been bugging us lefties for a long time. (Click the funky link below as I can’t seem to embed the MSNBC videos, unfortunately, FYWP).
Matthews observes, correctly, that governing isn’t about “finding common ground”: there is no common ground to find. That’s why we have two parties in the first place! Republicans have their way of doing things and Democrats have a different way. That’s kind of the point. How progress is made on issues is through compromise, not looking for common ground where none exists.
That’s what “bipartisanship” means. It means compromise. It doesn’t mean one side gets the other one to do it their way. Compromise means your side gives a little, my side gives a little, and together we forge a solution that addresses the issue of the day. Not: you do everything my way and shut up.
As I said, wingnuts are going apeshit over Matthews’ words — I think they’re a little embarrassed that he called them on one of their favorite ploys, which is to not give an inch and then whine and moan that those mean Democrats refuse to be “bipartisan.” I’ve been writing about this nasty little trait of theirs for years — here’s a choice post from over four years ago, here’s another one from just two years ago — and I’m certainly not the only one whose noticed this mutating definition of “bipartisanship.” I’m just thrilled that one of our gasbag pundits has finally gotten a clue, too.
Check it out: