Happy It’s Supposed To Be Tax Day, everyone!
By a strange quirk in scheduling, your income taxes won’t be due until Monday, but what I’m wondering is: where are the Tea Partiers? This is, after all, the Glorious Second Anniversary of the formation of what some called the “Taxed Enough Already” movement (“TEA” — get it?), and yet I’ve heard of no plans for huge Tea Party rallies across America. The last time the Tea Partiers tried to turn out their numbers in force, a few weeks ago during the budget fights, they only managed a few hundred people (and even that’s being generous) at the U.S. Capitol. From every shot I’ve seen of their rally, it seemed like there were more press in attendance than actual protesters. So perhaps the media is a bit shy about getting burned twice, which may be why I’m unaware of any plans this year for large demonstrations.
Which leads one to wonder: Has the Tea Party movement (to provide a horrendous metaphor mixup) jumped the shark? Time will tell, of course, but there are so many other newsworthy items crowding the past week that we’ve simply got to ask the question briefly, and then move on.
Something the media largely missed in the midst of multiple budgetary battles this week was the fact that this is what bipartisanship looks like. The media, at least the “serious” ones, residing either inside the Beltway or in lower Manhattan, have long made much sport out of decrying “partisanship” — at least, when Democrats act like Democrats, at any rate. Politicians are supposed to “work together” in some Utopian dreamland, to “get serious things done.” It sounds great in an editorial, and all of that.
But then, when it actually happens, the media doesn’t even deign to notice it, because of the double game they love to play. Partisanship raises the emotion level. It gets people angry at each other. Conflict! And conflict is so much more entertaining to put on television than bipartisanship in any form. This allows the media to spout pious drivel (“Can’t all the politicians just get along?”) while at the same time they book the most partisan hacks they can, knowing they can be relied upon to scream at each other and (as a result) make it easier to sell lots of ad space.
But, with the divided government we now have, this is the only way anything is going to get done in the next two years. The 2011 budget compromise had plenty of things in it for both sides of the partisan divide to hate. In the House, Nancy Pelosi and Michele Bachmann both voted against it — a rare occasion (to put it mildly) where these two were on the same side. Speaker John Boehner couldn’t make good on his vow that he’d get 218 votes from the Republican side alone, and a whole bunch of Democrats had to vote for the bill to pass it (the Tea Party freshmen were divided — some voted for it, some voted against).
The interesting thing to me, though, was the Senate. In most contentious legislative battles in Washington, the Senate vote is the important one (because it is usually harder to win, due to the filibuster). But this week, all attention was on the House. The Senate vote wasn’t even close — 81 to 19. Three Democrats voted with 16 Republicans against, but everyone else voted to pass the bill.
As I said, bipartisanship. I’m not saying it’s a good thing or a bad thing, here, I’m just pointing out that it exists — which is more than the mainstream media has done this week.
Speaking of other thing the mainstream media has been ignoring this week, here is the full text of President Obama’s speech on the budget this week.
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