Most of Sam Haselby’s “Divided We Stand” (Ideas, 3/22/09) presents an excellent history of, as his subtitle calls it, “the problem with bipartisanship.” In his concluding paragraphs however his own partisanship for Barack Obama undermines his credibility. He starts to go off the rails by including the 2002 Iraq War resolution with slavery and Japanese internment camps as “shameful episodes” with bipartisan support. This is not a historian speaking but an anti-war advocate.
More egregious is Haselby’s blindness to the hypocrisy in President Obama’s use of the bipartisan card; Obama talks about ending the old divisive ways, but the President seems to believe that since he won the election, he doesn’t have to compromise. It’s my way or the highway. Let the losers reach across the aisle.
Haselby calls partisanship “strong and critical advocacy that opens public debate,” but when he analyzes the current debate over the stimulus bill, he sees Republican partisanship as “squabbling,” while Obama’s partisanship presents “the best—or the only—solutions for the crisis facing the nation.” Open public debate does not flourish when one side is convinced they have all the answers.