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Does Obama Know the War He's in? Republicans Aren't Interested in Compromise

Obama and the Democrats have to give up their obsession with bipartisanship and take up the challenge of fighting for truth and the public’s interest.

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Clinton’s relatively low regard for the value of truth and accountability was echoed by other centrist Democrats in 2006, in anticipation of the party’s congressional victory. The Progressive Policy Institute, a think tank of the Democratic Leadership Council, published a pamphlet that “warned against calls to launch investigations into past [Bush-43] administration decisions,” the Washington Post reported.

Essentially, the victorious Democrats followed that advice for the final two years of George W. Bush’s presidency and Obama then embraced the don’t-look-back approach when he took office in 2009. However, beyond the dangers of tolerating a false or incomplete history of these times, the Democrats haven’t even gotten the hoped-for bipartisanship.

The Republicans and their right-wing allies simply pocketed the concessions and pressed ahead with their aggressive strategies: they rally their base with extreme rhetoric and they create as much disruption as possible. After all, they have no reason to fear that the Democrats will ever demand accountability.

Ironically, the only real hope for political civility, at least eventually, may be for Obama and the Democrats to first give up their obsession with bipartisanship and take up the challenge of fighting for truth and the public’s interest.

That might require some tough – but honest – words about the Republicans (maybe even a little "incivility"), but sometimes peace is possible only after a battle has been won.

[For more on this topic, see “ A Method to Republican Madness.”]

 
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