Why the Bipartisan Jobs Bill Was Bound to Fail

The bipartisan jobs bill crafted by Sens. Max Baucus and Charles Grassley immediately faced a flurry of angry Democratic lawmakers who want more direct spending and fewer tax cuts. Dem ringleader Harry Reid broadly dismissed the plan as larded with tax breaks, and told TIME magazine he has the caucus' "blessing" to reject the bill, but keep the hiring tax credit.

This would all be very disappointing on some level if it weren't so predictable.

Just this week I wrote that I could see the jobs bill's bipartisanship evolving like this: Republicans ask for broad tax cuts to stimulate job growth. Democrats say that's not sufficient to create jobs. Republicans say they can't make a deal. Democrats go it alone, and Republicans counter every proposal with: "This is more of the same old failed policies from Democrats, who are spending our way into a bottomless hole and tragically burdening on our children with debt without doing a thing create jobs." Turns out that's pretty much what's happening...


I also wanted to add a short rant:

White House Press Sec. Robert Gibbs is still saying stuff like this: "The American people want to see Washington put aside partisan differences and make progress on jobs." This sounds so old to me.

Is anybody else tired of the idea that partisan differences are something we expect anybody to "put aside" when they start debating important legislation? To be sure, debates over important legislation sound like precisely the time it's in everybody's interest to speak their mind. "Partisan differences" are what makes parties different. The phrase is an antagonizing euphemism for "what people think."

You can criticize the filibuster for putting a TRIMAX wheel lock on legislation, or the absurd proliferation of Republican holds, which are obstructionist beyond any reasonable definition of partisan. But this obsessive focus on bipartisanship for the purpose of bipartisanship only fetishizes something that Americans begin to value, and expect, and demand and neither party expects to work.