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About That Bipartisan Cabinet, Hold Your Horses

12/19/2008 05:12 am 05:12:01 | Updated May 25, 2011

President-Elect Barack Obama's intention to bridge the chasm between Republicans and Democrats, by assembling a bipartisan cabinet, is a gorgeous idea.

It's the embodiment of his vision for America to be that 'more perfect union,' the Founding Fathers wished it to be. It is also a testament of his magnanimity and refinement, his political intelligence and statesmanship, his ease and self assurance.

And surprise, surprise, the party of ideological purity, that wouldn't yield on anything in the last eight years, has had a deathbed conversion about bipartisan government. What happened to the Republican principle of unilateralism, and contempt for dissent? What happened to "either you are with us or you are with the terrorists/other preferred GOP bogeyman"?

On March 19, Dick Cheney, who was shoveling a large pile of horse manure about progress in Iraq, was asked how his trenchant analysis fit with polls, showing two thirds of Americans opposed to the war in Iraq. "So?" Mr. Cheney retorted. "You don't care what the American people think?" the reporter asked. "We can't be blown off course by polls," he said, once more giving the American public what he felt they deserved from their leaders -- the one-fingered salute.

After the President-Elect named Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, Republicans got their collective knickers in a twist.

Alex Conant of the RNC and John Boehner, Minority Leader shuddered with outrage. "This decision undermines his promise to 'heal the divides'. Rahm Emanuel is a partisan insider," said Conant. "This is an ironic choice for a President-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil, and govern from the center," Boehner huffed.

I love their gush of vitriol and lectures about non-partisanship and governing from the center. After two terms of absolute and unconditional power, which they used to serve only their own agenda, Republicans are singing the virtues of collaborative government -- citing Lincoln's plan to create a bipartisan Cabinet that would govern "with malice toward none, with charity for all."

Why was bipartisanship hiding like a shy Geisha behind her rice-paper fan, during the attorney general firings and hirings orchestrated by Reptilian Rove and Amnesiac Alberto?

Democrats and Republicans are like the citizens of Lilliput and Blefuscu in Gulliver's Travels. We have doctrinal differences about the proper way to crack eggs.

A bipartisan cabinet is a knucklehead idea. Besides, how will Republicans go through their dark night of the soul and reinvent their party -- an exercise best conducted in the wilderness -- if they're sitting in the Cabinet?

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