Thursday, July 16, 2009

Democracy of the Deaf

In Washington's two debates this week, health care reform and the Sotomayor nomination, you could turn off the TV sound and miss little of substance--the D or R on the chest of the talking head will tell you that the subject is universal coverage or government control and deficits, judicial qualifications or activism.

The election of a president who prides himself on reaching across political divides has resulted in the irony of more partisanship than ever as remnants of the Republican party that rode roughshod over opposition in the Bush years are reduced to mouthing the slogans that brought them to power back then.

On health care, it's the Blue-Dog Democrats who are discussing the substance of proposals as the GOP repeats scare mantras about socialized medicine and keeps voting a straight party line in committees.

In the Sotomayor hearings, Republicans are obsessing over the Wise Latina remark and other speeches, while majority members are asking the judge about specific cases and legal principles in the course of her career on the bench.

As the Obama Administration closes in on its first six months in office, the reality of possible bipartisanship keeps receding, leaving it as only more slogan in a dialogue of the deaf.

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