Lucy, the Football, and “Bipartisanship”

Biden needs to avoid the old rope-a-dope

Thom Hartmann


Photo by Ryan Reinoso on Unsplash

“Bipartisanship” is the word of the day. But what the heck does that mean?

News commentators are asking Democrats on TV, as happened to Patrick Leahy on CNN this morning, “Without bipartisanship, won’t your legislative efforts further divide the country?”

This is a BS question. It’s also the Republican’s song every time Democrats get political power; it’s even how they repeatedly crippled the Obama presidency, and the Democrats repeatedly fell for it during the 2009–2017 Obama era. They need to stop.

“You must compromise your values and principles,” Republican politicians say whenever Democrats are in charge, “and you must go against what the majority of Americans, including the majority of Republicans, want in order to get a vote from us.” They call that kind of Democratic submission to their bizarre demands “bipartisanship.”

But it’s not. There’s nothing bipartisan about gutting programs the majority of America’s Democratic and Republican voters want just because Republican politicians demand it.

“Bipartisanship” is the roadblock to guaranteeing voting rights to all American citizens, to rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, and to guaranteeing health and educational rights. It’s used as a cudgel to block regulations to protect our air and water, and to continue massive multi-billion-dollar subsidies to the fossil fuel and other polluting industries.

When they had power, the Republican’s didn’t give a rat’s ass about bipartisanship when they gave their billionaire and corporate owners a $1.5 trillion tax cut. But now it’s important to them? Of course it is: Democrats are in charge.

There’s broad bipartisan support among the American people for everything from passing a massive Covid relief bill to ending student debt to building a national healthcare system. Even a green-based national infrastructure program to revive the economy and reduce global warming has broad bipartisan support at the level of voters.

“More than half of Republicans in a new American Barometer poll say they support ‘Medicare for all,’ also known as a single-payer health-care system,” notes reporter Julia



Thom Hartmann

America’s #1 progressive talk show host & NY Times bestselling author. Thom’s writings also appear at