Monday, November 25, 2013

Debunking The Myth Of 1980s Bipartisanship

From the great Matt Rooney at the always-informative Save Jersey Blog:

ronald reaganRutgers University Professor David Greenberg delivered an icy review of Chris Matthews’s new Tip and the Gipper book in Friday’s New York Times, Save Jerseyans.
Liberal on liberal violence is something to behold; here’s an illustrative sample:
“Most important, Matthews provides no evidence to suggest that whatever personal amicability O’Neill and Reagan maintained mattered. In one or two cases, the Democrats cut good deals with Reagan, such as when they revised the Social Security program. But on the key legislative issue of Reagan’s presidency — the 1981 fight over his budget, which slashed taxes on the rich — O’Neill simply got rolled. Spooked by the president’s popularity, which surged after he was shot by John Hinckley in March of that year, O’Neill failed to compete with Reagan in the new age of media politics. Worse, he also came up short in his supposed strong suit — riding herd on his caucus — as scores of Democrats, fearing the tax-cutting bandwagon, defected to back the Reagan bill. The consequences — skyrocketing budget deficits and debilitating inequality — have plagued us ever since.”
It’s laughable, Save Jerseyans! On multiple levels.
For starters, today’s contemporary American college graduates can only imagine what it’s like to be “plagued” by two decades of historically low unemployment rates attributable, in large part, to President Reagan’s policy successes.
But if we look past David Greenberg’s debilitating liberalism, you can appreciate the truth under-girding his superseding point: “bipartisanship” had very little to do with the Reagan story.
Professor Greenberg could’ve written a much better review centering on this theme were he capable of looking behind his blinding antipathy for Ronald Reagan.
You’ve read my take on it. The myth of a bipartisan Washington preceding 2010 and the Tea Party is exactly that: a myth. Bunk. Hogwash. Ridiculousness. Any variation will do. The hyper-partisan Matthews came of age politically on a Capitol Hill that had been dominated by one party for decades and would remain almost entirely under Democrat control until January 1995. Things certainly seemed superficially less contentious when only one side was at the table!
Courage, principles and talent — not bipartisanship — defeated the Soviet Union, won tax cuts and built a movement in the 1980′s. Anyone who claims otherwise is ignorant of history… or simply trying to sell you a book.
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