Editorial by John Ziegler

Original Version of LA Times Op-Ed on "Benedict" Arnold

6/23/2007

The LA Times ran a John Ziegler Op-Ed piece on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the bogus notion of "bipartisanship." Here is a link to the version they published:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-ziegler23jun23,0,4441834,print.story?coll=la-opinion-rightrail

Below is the orginal version as written before the Times edited it (pretty fairly, especially by the liberal LA Times standards).

Bipartisan Blather

Of all the buzz words that have come to take on a life of their own in the strange realm of our modern political rhetoric, the term 'bipartisanship' is, without a doubt, the most overrated and misunderstood. Enabled and probably even provoked by our news media, many 'smart' politicians have come to embrace the concept of being 'bipartisan' as if it were a noble end in itself, regardless of what kind of policy or legislation actually resulted from this tactic. After all, who could blame them? We have been taught for quite a while now that anything described as 'extreme' or 'partisan' should be viewed with almost the same inherent disdain and distrust as someone who is 'racist,' 'stupid,' or, even worse in some areas of this state, 'ugly.' It stands to reason then that being the 'opposite' of partisan would be an intrinsically righteous cause, almost beyond reproach or even routine questioning.

There has probably never been a better (or worse) example of the folly and absurdity of this reality than what transpired recently at a USC-sponsored conference dramatically titled, 'Ceasefire! Bridging the Political Divide.'

The speakers list included numerous prominent liberals from the world of politics and media (Former Governor Gray Davis, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Michael Kinsley, Lawrence O'Donnell, and Juan Williams, were just a few of those whose liberal credentials are unquestionable and whose claim to fostering 'bipartisanship' is way beyond dubious). The other 'side' of the political divide was barely 'represented' by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (who has not acted remotely like a Republican in at least two years), New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg (who has been a very liberal 'Republican' for only the last six years and ironically, or perhaps appropriately, left the party literally moments after speaking at the conference) and Matthew Dowd (who used to be a Bush political advisor before leaving the administration and endearing himself to the liberal establishment by leveling extreme criticism on the President). If the point of the conference was really to call for a political 'Ceasefire!' it was obvious from the start which side was supposed to lay down their weapons. The real definition of 'bipartisan' is: Conservatives surrender.

When Governor Schwarzenegger is your only prominent Republican at a conference with dozens of speakers, you know that the deck is stacked and that the resulting oratory will have about he same credibility of Paris Hilton urging us all to pay more attention to the soldiers in Iraq rather than her.

No one has benefited more from being able to create the perception that he is acting in a 'bipartisan' (or, as he likes to say, 'post-partisan') fashion than our recently resurgent and reelected Governor. In nearly every speech he boldly brags about how he has 'brought Democrats and Republicans together to solve the problems of California.' What is truly incredible about this boast (the one about bipartisanship, the issue of whether he has really solved any problems is for another column) is that it is a bald-faced lie, and yet no one in the pathetic press corps has ever even bothered to question him about the obvious lack of veracity in his claim.

In the last two years, there has not been even one major policy initiative that this Governor has signed into law that could even be remotely considered 'bipartisan.' Only his workers compensation reform package from his first year in office could come close to meeting even the loosest definition of his absurd assertion. The allegedly Republican Governor merely signed bills passed entirely by the Democratic majority, some of which, like the minimum wage hike that he had vetoed a less liberal version of in the past, represented dramatic flip-flops by 'Benedict' Arnold. Of course, by my definition of 'bipartisan,' the Governor has absolutely met the standard by simply choosing to surrender to the socialists in Sacramento and deciding to declare victory.

Largely because of the fact that most of the news media loves it when a Republican acts like a liberal and because members of his own party are afraid to call him on it because of his celebrity status, the Governor has not only gotten away with this lie, he has actually benefited greatly directly because of it. He is glorified on the cover of numerous national magazines and hailed as a role model for 21st Century leadership. But the stark reality behind this misperception is that this kind of politics is really nothing more than pandering and unprincipled cowardice masquerading as populist-fueled courage.

The dirty little secret of politics is that the vast majority of people who reside in the hallowed ground of the 'middle' are abjectly ignorant of what is really going on and are nearly totally apathetic towards their own lack of even a basic understanding of the issues. One of the real reasons that our political system is broken is that we have turned those to whom we should listen the least, into those to whom our politicians pander the most, while somehow getting nothing but praise for doing so.

It is particularly sad that Arnold Schwarzenegger has become the poster child for this phenomenon since he has claimed Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater to be among his strongest political influences. It was of course Goldwater who infamously told the 1964 Republican Convention, 'I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!' Today, if the Governor could just find a way to harness the energy from the three of them spinning in their graves, he might finally have a truly 'bipartisan' solution to the 'problem' of Global Warming with which he seems so obsessed.

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